Jane Imrie

Bdaily's Dr Roy Stanley on internationalisation: how the internet has transformed global business

On the final day of our internationalisation series, Bdaily chairman Dr Roy Stanley looks at how the internet has transformed the way businesses scale on an international level.

“The system of nature, of which people are a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.” (Schumacher). This is a saying appropriate for the current Black Swan Event (BSE) of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The phrase ‘born global’ has become popular when describing firms that through the reach of the internet find themselves operating at an international level.

“The internet may be instrumental in creating “born global” firms who bypass the normal and traditional ideas of the internationalisation process because of their agility and knowledge acquisition. This allows them to compete effectively in global markets

“The internet is providing entrepreneurial small and medium sized enterprises with new ways to conduct business and to exchange and communicate ideas and information. Technologies allow SMEs to increase their productivity and improve ways to develop their activities internationally.

“Through the internet, at a stroke, SMEs have access to invaluable resources for use internationally by having global reach via a website.

“The internet, which is itself a BSE, can impact the actions of SMEs in several areas; the ability to identify international competitors, gauge their performance, develop networks of contacts and consider potential partners in international markets.

“Research indicates that SMEs use the internet extensively for communication, marketing and product development ideas. SMEs tend to use the internet in a more limited way for online transactions, although this is a major opportunity for SMEs.

“SMEs are generally using the internet more strategically to achieve their internationalisation goals by developing their online presence more strategically.

“As consumers are becoming progressively more used to shopping online and having easy access to international brands, online trading represents an optional opportunity which for many firms will become mandatory.

“This development will oblige more conventional firms to adjust their business models. In adopting e-commerce as a way of internationalising firms must face the challenges of language, culture, legal and infrastructural issues, particularly in the light of the increasing importance of social media.

“When considering the internet’s role in a firm’s expansion, business leaders should consider:

“Does the firm have an online strategy?

“Is the firm’s IT structure fit for purpose?

“Does the firm have a social media strategy?

“Is the firm in line with its customers and suppliers regarding technology?

“Who are the target audience and how are they attracted?

“What are the measurable goals of the web strategy? Does the website reflect the business?”

For more information on internationalisation for SMEs, contact Dr Roy Stanley here.

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