Think Globally to Expand Your Business
Fifth Annual Global Supplier Diversity Conference speakers emphasize global growth
Senior executives from Microsoft, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, UPS, Santander US, IBM United States and many others engaged 70 select founders in an immersive day of insights during the Monica Motivates Fifth Annual Global Supplier Diversity Conference (GSDC) recently at the Porsche North American Headquarters in Atlanta. Additional entrepreneurs participated virtually, gaining the same thought-provoking content.
The speakers were so energized by their interactions with diverse business owners that the advice, additional conversations and resource recommendations flowed freely all day. There is growing support to help underrepresented founders succeed and a big part of our mission at Monica Motivates is to connect you to it.
Go global for growth
A key theme among numerous GSDC speakers was the need to think internationally to grow your business. “The United States makes up only 5% of the world economy, so 95% of the economic growth and opportunities to drive new revenue will come from the world economy outside our borders,” said EVP and Chief Diversity Officer for UPS, Charlene Thomas. “Your business has to pivot,” she said. “So much of the opportunity out there is international.” Thomas launched her career with UPS in 1989 and recently announced her retirement after more than three decades of service and increasing leadership.
I’m so proud to announce that Monica Motivates, LLC., is also embracing global expansion. Our senior team is in the United Kingdom this month to connect with future customers and business partners. This effort reflects our understanding that expanding economic inclusion is a global challenge that goes well beyond our U.S. borders. From multinational companies that need support to strengthen their internal talent pipeline, to increasing access to capital for underrepresented founders, to helping diverse suppliers win contracts with major corporations, the issues, challenges and opportunities are global.
With severe economic challenges facing the UK and other regions around the world, we believe now is the time to ensure underrepresented people are not left out of recovery efforts or new growth opportunities as they emerge. We know that moments of upheaval and challenge can create an even greater threat to underrepresented people, but such times can also serve as a catalyst to widen access for new perspectives and talents. Our mission is to ensure that diverse business owners and corporate professionals are positioned to be part of the solution moving forward.
Develop a multicultural perspective
A critical component to expanding your business globally is understanding that the American way of doing business is not the only way. GSDC speaker and President and Founder of her own brand which she took global ten years ago, Taliah Waajid emphasized the need to understand cultural and economic differences when doing business in other countries.
“You need to be very aware of the economic climate in every country where you want to do business and understand how the local economy impacts how your solutions can be applied to specific problems in that setting,” Waajid said. When she first connected with potential customers in Brazil, for example, Waajid witnessed a clash between the direct, let’s-get-right-down-to-business approach she was accustomed to in the U.S. and the importance her Brazil colleagues placed on getting to know her personally first.
These differences are broadly reflected in the concepts of “high context” and “low context” cultures. The U.S. is a low-context culture that relies heavily on communicating by stating explicitly in clear and concrete terms what is expected or desired. In high-context cultures, such as Brazil, communication relies more on taking cues from the context or environment, such as body language, social status and tone of voice. It can be seen as rude and inappropriate to immediately engage in direct conversation about business in a high-context culture.
Waajid’s advice for global expansion:
- Leverage existing partnerships to make international connections.
- Identify organizations that can support your efforts globally.
- Prepare your business to scale and expand strategically.
Tap into support
In addition, organizations such as the UPS Women Exporters Program share our mission to help female business owners gain equal economic opportunity around the world. Their program links participants with a UPS consultant to help female business owners expand and optimize their global reach. “Support definitely exists to help founders and small business owners to be highly successful,” Thomas said.
That can include connections to groups like the Monica Motivates community and the Global Supplier Diversity Conference, as well as organizations like the Small Business Administration.
Check back here soon for 2022 GSDC highlights and actionable insights from our impressive roster of speakers.