Seek to Grow Your Business Globally?

5 03 2008

Like many association executives…

You see evidence of a growing presence of non-US customer product consumption, attendance at your meetings, or authors of content that you have come to rely upon to supply the IP for new products and services.

Your members, customers, partners and leadership from different regions say your association must be more “present and engaged here” if you want to be more successful.

Meanwhile, your environmental scanning indicates that demographics and business trends show:

  • A dramatic shift (see graph and video below) in the movement of non-USA young professionals who no longer come to the USA to study or find employment and now choose to become part of the amazing changes underway in their own countries like – China, Turkey, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Algeria, Russia, India and South Africa.
  • Post 9/11 US immigration policy continues to limit the rest of the world’s best and brightest from coming the the USA.
  • To succeed in globalization one must build business relationships in these regions to demonstrate local presence and a willingness to contribute “locally” rather than simply selling what you have from thousands of miles away (See the “The Second World Empires & Influence in the New Global Order” a new book by Parag Khanna).
  • Global outsourcing continues to spread to white collar professionals from call centers to the more professional positions like engineering thanks to Business Process Outsourcing strategies.
  • 24/7 project management requires inter operable standards & practices from body of knowledge to practices so “one work” is done no matter where or by whom.
  • An Asian skills “gap” in the ability to apply knowledge in the business world despite coming from the best schools forces millions who graduate into intensive 14 week corporate training programs costing businesses millions with a high wash out rate.
  • Customer service expectation now has “gone global” as global consumers expect the same quality experience whether in New York, London, Dubai, Mumbai or Singapore.
  • The Bottom billion (the world’s poor) are now being targeted with innovative business, product design, pricing, and distribution models to turn them into viable paying consumers ….just not at the prices the rest of us pay.

The question is how do you go about building a sustainable business?

What would it look like?

How do we get our Board to support it?

So I am starting a new blog called Grow to help answer these questions.

After 16 years of success with US associations, I have learned that building and sustaining growth in today’s international markets requires a global strategy with regional planning and a local infrastructure for execution.

For some it might be leading with products and services while for others it’s all about membership. But regardless of your approach, if you can’t build community you won’t succeed in attracting and sustaining interest among customers, members, partners, funders, or endorsers in any market.

MCI covers 23 cities and 14 countries with a team of 600+ people who traverse a product practice in international association management, PCO, meetings, and Ovation DMC across Europe to Arabia to Asia and Latin America. We’ll share what we have learned and encourage you to contribute your own thoughts and ideas as we explore the world of international association management with you.

The agenda covers what MCI considers to be the core drivers of establishing and sustaining a global business and are featured in “sections” on the horizontal navigation above that are visible on any area of this site.

In the coming months you can look forward to reading actual, practical approaches and solutions to real world challenges that you can use to plan your own projects. Here are some examples:

  • Market & Business Plan – sound market analysis with a business plan should become the foundation for a global growth strategy
  • Product Management – sell them what they want not what you have… by adapting product to local need
  • Membership – community is cultivated by enfranchising local/regional members to help build member value that is meaningful to those in the region
  • Member Services – regional and local infrastructure is critical to provide the right competencies and local thinking to execute repeatedly while mitigating risk
  • Advocacy – whether it’s regulatory issues, philanthropic outreach, or social responsibility see how others are promoting issues and building support
  • Channels – part of your sustainable business model must include Partners, Sponsors, Funders, and Sales Feeders
  • MarCom – it isn’t just translating your material but knowing that to communicate and position yourself to maximize opportunities you need to adapt yourself to local markets
  • Meetings – from large Congresses to small meeting… find out how to develop strategy, promotion campaigns, and secure the destination resources you need to provide quality meeting experiences anywhere

You will also find third party research and links to other web resources to help you build better international products and services.

I look forward to exchanging views and sharing research, experience and expertise for this exciting new frontier of global opportunity.