How to be Global in a World That Can’t Stop Thinking About Silicon Valley
If there’s one place that can’t get out of the headlines, it is Silicon Valley. The birthplace of many technology giants like eBay, Apple, and Adobe, and a new startup seemingly every day, it is hard to ignore as a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity. But Silicon Valley is not the only place to found a startup, and California is not the only market excited about new businesses. Operating globally can seem hard when seemingly every big breakthrough comes out of California, but it is arguably more important than ever.
No one doubts Silicon Valley’s dominance when it comes to startup culture. According to a study by the Startup Genome, the area has almost three times the amount of new businesses as large cities like New York and London. Twenty-two percent more startups in the valley succeed than their counterparts in New York, and they also get better funding in the initial stages of development. But according to the Startup Genome’s 2017 report, the USA is losing its edge to startup hubs in Asia and Europe. Singapore for example, now dominates the space for “Most Talent,” being the first city to take away Silicon Valley’s many titles. European cities like London, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Paris all have seats in the top 20 cities best for startups.
But the question is, how do you take your business global? A decade ago, this would be answered with a textbook full of examples on how to make deals internationally, negotiate with suppliers, and how to expand to a single new country. But the Internet changed all that. Now you can take your business global in an instant and reach an incredibly diverse market.
Going global is easier than ever. Startups can plan from day one to support multiple worldwide regions, utilizing easily accessible translation services. Machine translated sites are a click away for most, and outsourcing translation to another country adds yet another layer to the globalization of your business. Governments across the world have learned what a good startup culture can do for their economy, domestic or foreign. India, for example, has been praised by its entrepreneurs for creating policy favorable to new and small businesses. Venture capitalists are no longer concerned about whether a business is domestically based, according to Harvard Business School professor William R. Kerr.
Right now, the biggest barrier to being a global business is the mindset of the organizational leaders. The largest international brands are setup to think internationally, with mission statements that reflect that mentality. Nike proudly says that their mission is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” while Google’s states their goal “is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” These international mindsets from the get-go mean that every company decision is made with the global market in mind.
What’s stopping you from going global? Whether it’s a lack of translation, products tailored for an international market, insufficient market research, or an additional cost to expanding, it is more than worth investigating as a next step for your business. And if you have yet to launch your product, a larger market is incentive to fit globalization into your plans. Silicon Valley might still be huge in startup culture, but an international mindset can set your business above those that can’t think outside the USA.