In January, we surveyed 449 companies about going global, including past Inc. 500 honorees and members of our reader panel, the Inner Circle. Sixty-two percent of the companies we spoke to were already conducting business outside the United States. Not surprising considering that "more than 70 percent of the world's purchasing power is beyond our borders," says Israel Hernandez, Director-General of the U.S. Commercial Service. In fact, fifty-seven percent of the CEOs we polled said they were encouraged to do business outside the U.S. by a growing market for their products and services.
Of course it wasn't all foreign tax incentives and lower labor costs when they got there. What was the most difficult part? Thirty-seven percent said international logistics, 22 percent said hiring and managing staff abroad, and 19 percent said intellectual property theft.
In our global issue, senior writer Stephanie Clifford and I ask the experts how to navigate international waters when it comes to those issues and more. We found a way to make up revenue lost to knock-offs in China, why employers should think twice about firing a worker in Sierra Leone, and what to do if your customers insist on paying in local currency.
Has your business expanded overseas? What difficulties have you encountered? If you're unsure about making the leap, what concerns are holding you back?