Every day, the world seems to get smaller. Technology is connecting even the most remote corners of the globe, providing access to markets that were previously inaccessible and creating new business opportunities. At first, participation in the global marketplace was limited to large, Fortune 500 companies. But, that is quickly changing.
Countries in emerging markets, like those in China, India, and South America, are welcoming the small and medium business (SMB). They appreciate the ability of SMBs to drive competition through innovation and entrepreneurship with their agile business models. However, SMBs have been slow to seriously explore and expand into emerging markets due to their limited financial resources and lack of readiness to do business globally. But that too is changing.
Through a joint initiative of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), SMBs with revenues less than $250 million can get loans that generally cover up to 60 percent of total project costs for new ventures, and up to 75 percent for expansions, including project development and up-front financing costs, capital expenditure requirements and working capital. Also, at the recent G20 summit, the leaders announced a G-20 SME Finance Challenge to award financial support and recognition to top SMBs, knowing they are the driver of jobs and economic growth from the bottom up.
What this all points to is that IT managers in SMBs need to be prepared to start connecting and supporting remote sites around the world. One of the most efficient means of connecting people and ideas is through conferencing—both audio and video. Allowing team members to communicate and collaborate in real-time is one of the keys to successfully operating in disparate markets around the world.
IT managers will need to understand what creates a quality conferencing experience, especially with differing native languages and accents. They will need to make good choices in designing a system that accounts for specific needs, like dealing with room noise, multiple participants in multiple locations, or optimizing the type of available connection—analog or digital. These IT managers need not go it alone. There are many AV professionals with years of experience who can help design a system that will accommodate the different conditions found in emerging markets.
Not only are SMBs welcome in emerging markets, but they’re being encouraged to participate. It’s important that they take advantage of the help available, whether financial or expertise. The global marketplace is open for business.