RUSSELL DALGLEISH says thinking internationally will open doors to growth
Members of the Scottish diaspora in North America gather this week to commemorate the strong cultural and business links which connect Scotland with our cousins across the Atlantic. In my experience those getting involved have one thing in common – they possess a Global Mindset. That is, they perceive their potential market as international, or at least not geographically restricted.
It doesn’t matter if the business trades internationally, for a global mindset to make you a better leader, opening your mind to different cultures, different approaches to business and new ideas will help you.
The development of a global mindset has transformed my thinking over the last ten years, released limitations on what I thought was possible and ultimately made me a better leader. I’ve had a lot of fun along the way as well.
A new understanding of what is possible
Typically, as leaders we learn through formal training, personal experience and through peer learning, ie. the development of new skills and ideas from those in our network. Therefore, as our network expands, particularly internationally, we can access a myriad of new approaches to addressing the daily challenges those in leadership positions face.
If you want a great example of this join me on Friday when I interview GlobalScot Eric McAfee, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist as he shares his insight into how to grow and build corporations today. Eric has founded seven public companies with a combined value of $4 Billion.
Build valuable partnerships
The world of business is based on the development of trusted networks and partnerships. So, if you successfully nurture relationships with individuals and companies across the globe you will inevitably secure access to a broader selection of opportunities. In my own case this has led to partner introduced opportunities in South America, Israel, and the USA in the last 12 months.
Developing international relationships is different from those we build locally as trust must be developed in a different way and cultural differences require to be considered and understood. My advice here of course is to begin with fellow Scots based in your target market.
Open new opportunities both at home and overseas
A critical component to any business success is ensuring that the pipeline of new business opportunities is regularly replenished. I want to work, not with any customer, but with the best, ie. professional, good reference, strong brand. So why restrict myself to only working with clients in one geographical location which just happens to be close to where my business is based? Isn’t that exactly what most of us do?
To break from this, we need to re-educate ourselves to consider new markets. Over the last 12 months technology has empowered us to use platforms such as LinkedIn to build new connections, nourish leads and build opportunity wherever in the world these can be found, simply because there is no longer the need to physically travel and meet face-to-face. There are numerous examples of this with one of the best being Jamie McGowan of Essence of Harris and Karen Somerville of Angel’s Share Glass.
Even if you don’t trade internationally and have no intention of ever exporting, we need to consider the effects of global issues on our business. Pandemics, Climate Change, International Trade Agreements and even ships crashing in the Nile can affect our businesses. Thus, it’s important that for any business I work with that we consider these challenges and ensure we plan to mitigate any risk they may bring to our business while also considering opportunities that may arise.
I would suggest that it is a risk “not” to think globally today as supply chains are transformed and markets that we thought of as reliable are now highly risky.
If this has convinced you that developing a more global mindset could help you then I suggest that there is only one way to do this and that is to “jump in”. Start opening dialogues with those based outside the country who work in your sector or share similar characteristics to you.
Take the opportunity to participate in a virtual trade delegation a recent example of which was delivered by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to New York.
Sign up for a few events and use this as an opportunity to learn what opportunities and challenges others face in different parts of the world and identify perhaps where you can add value.
From the 6 to 16 April we will be running events on this very subject in partnership with Daily Business. All events are free-to-attend and recorded so you can participate live or at your leisure www.tartanday.scot.
Russell Dalgleish is the co-founder and chairman of Scottish Business Network and writes a weekly column for Daily Business