The Rise Of The Global Small Business

Small businesses are starting to behave differently - soon, the world will be their oyster.

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Small businesses are starting to behave differently - soon, the world will be their oyster.


The Rise Of The Global Small Business

Small businesses are starting to behave differently - soon, the world will be their oyster.

Share this article

Not too long from now, almost every business will be a multinational. Tiny little businesses will behave big. There will be millions of ‘Global Small Businesses’.

The Global Small Business (GSB) isn’t like a big global business, and neither is it like a traditional small business. As the name suggests, this is a business that typically has less than 15 people on the core team but isn’t limited by geography. It can reach into cities all over the world and can easily be making millions in sales despite a relatively small headcount.

GSBs might be service providers, offer intangible products like software and information, or sell physical products that can be sent whizzing all over the globe to customers in faraway cities.

GSBs will have incredibly well-developed brands compared with traditional small businesses, making them look much bigger than they are. Their brand identity will be consistent across social media platforms, their systems will be cutting edge, they will be driven by a powerful culture that all team members connect with and they will access funding directly from their marketplace when they have a big idea they want to scale.

Supported by technology and specialist services, GSBs will be comfortable dealing with legal issues and complex accounting. They might license their valuable intellectual property to a network of local partners, they will accept several currencies (including new cryptocurrencies) and will utilise company structures and global banking facilities that only massive companies had access to in the early 2000s.

They will be built around a ‘micro-niche’. Rather than being a business for ‘health and wellness’, they will be for ‘vegetarian marathon runners’ or ‘triathlon mums’.

A GSB can function in the tiniest of niches and go miles deep with its loyal followers.

GSBs will be great with digital media. They will interact with the world through video on the web, written articles, audio podcasts, software downloads, streaming live events, slideshows, blogs, tweets and communities. They will get their stories and ideas onto the smartphone screens of people all over the world.

A GSB will revolve around the special talents of a few ‘Key Persons of Influence’. The business will outsource almost every function that is not clearly creating value and unique to the business.

Inside the team you will probably find communications experts, technical talent, project managers and product designers. These people may be geographically separated but everyone on the team will share the vision, values and passion of the business.

These GSB teams will communicate on dedicated messaging platforms, market themselves using social media, manage their operations in the cloud and be based wherever it makes sense from a tax and intellectual property protection standpoint.

The GSBs will have their top talent working from home offices and meeting in virtual environments or rented boardrooms on a weekly or monthly basis. Owing to multiple time zones, the edges of work and play will blur. Performance will be more important than hours clocked – ‘we measure results not hours’ is the new mantra for managing employees of GSBs.

GSBs will become an attractive alternative to white collar employment. Professionals like lawyers, accountants, consultants and managers will define a micro-niche and then leave traditional employment in favour of their own GSB start-up, or join a GSB that stirs up their underlying passion.

Lifestyle and flexibility will be a huge advantage for a GSB.

Taxation will be a key challenge for GSBs. Governments are slow to change, and define themselves by physical geographical borders. Correctly structured, the owners of GSBs will pay less tax compared with their employee counterparts. Many GSB owners will travel constantly or split their time, living between two or three locations and legally avoiding income tax altogether.

Regardless of your ethical stance on taxation, until governments adapt to this global mindset they will struggle to collect taxes from small businesses of the future in the same way that they struggle to tax multinationals like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Starbucks.

Having a GSB will create an enviable lifestyle. A GSB isn’t like having a traditional, local small business that prevents the owner from travelling and limits the money they can make to the local economy.

A GSB, on the contrary, expands as you travel and is only limited by the size of the micro-niche and the creativity of the team. Many GSBs will earn millions in revenue and have only a few staff (some of whom will be based in low labour-cost countries like the Philippines, India or Thailand and will be paid highly by a GSB compared with local jobs).

For this reason, many GSB owners will earn seven-figure salaries with comparative ease.

The GSB is an exciting new category of business to look out for in the decade ahead, as the barriers to entry drop for doing business across borders.

Your next side-project might be for a GSB. You might even be setting up one for yourself in the not-too-distant future.

There’s a good chance, if you’re reading a book like this, that I may bump into you a few years from now and you will be fully embracing the Entrepreneur Revolution, enjoying the benefits of your GSB.

You’ll have the power to log into your business from your smartphone anywhere in the world. You will be able to see sales figures, workflow and financials instantly.

You will have customers all over the world. You will probably spend a lot of your time travelling around on an endless working holiday.

Your business won’t sleep – you’ll be open 24/7. All of this is made possible by the times we are in. The foundations have been laid for people like yourself to unfold your passion into a highly flexible and fun business that delivers a ton of value to the world.

This is an edited extract from the newly published second edition of Entrepreneur Revolution: How to Develop Your Entrepreneurial Mindset and Start a Business That Works, by Daniel Priestley (published by Capstone, June 2018)

About the author

Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur who's built and sold businesses in Australia, Singapore and the UK. He's the co-founder of Entrevo, the Key Person of Influence Accelerator program/training for entrepreneurs and leaders. Daniel is also the co-founder of Dent Global – the organization which provides the training and services around the Entrevo program.

With offices in London, Sydney, Singapore and Tampa, the Entrevo program is endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management. Over 500 entrepreneurs and leaders each year participate globally to develop their businesses with the support of high net worth mentors. Daniel is also now a KPMG ambassador and was named as one of the top 25 entrepreneurs in London influencing the business scene (Smith & Williamson Power 100).

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The Rise Of The Global Small Business

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