By Todd Smithee

Nearly everyone has read, or at least heard of, The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. The basic premise of the book is that due to technology, much work can be done anywhere in the world. Legal research is now done in India; technical support is sourced out of the Philippines and Romania; and just about everything under the sun is now manufactured in China.

These are scary times, but also times of great opportunity. Just because someone can come play in your sandbox does not mean that you cannot move into theirs. Instead of looking at the downside of a flat world, try looking at things this way: The World is Small & You Are Big. If you have been in business for any length of time you have valuable skills that have a market. If people are willing to pay for your service in, say, Florida or the southeastern US, there are surely people willing to buy your services throughout the US and Canada. Most likely, you can sell services to countries around the globe.

Conrin has benefited greatly through this thinking. We have implemented CRM and B2B lead-generation programs for companies in our home state of Michigan, across the US, and for multinational corporations. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that our offices are located in the rural community of Lowell, MI. I also forgot to add that for many of these implementations we never visited the clients”™ offices.

How to get “Big”

Five simple things that one needs to do to get “Big”:

  1. Decide which of your products and services can be sold and delivered regardless of the physical location of the client. Most likely, all of your services will not be sellable everywhere. All you need is one, though.
  2. Invest in your website. You need to look big to “be big.” Enough said.
  3. Market aggressively. Invest in pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) for highly targeted marketing. Pick some test areas and target them.
  4. Learn to use technology. There will be times when you will have to travel to meet a potential client. That said, you can extensively qualify your clients via conference calls and web meetings. This will allow you to be selective when investing time and resources in physical travel.
  5. Look for Rain Brokers. A rain broker is someone who is in a position to refer multiple prospects to you. Conrin has been brought into many profitable projects by partners with contacts in many parts of the world and country. These people provide you with tremendous sales leverage and should be nurtured carefully over time. As business becomes more global in nature, you never know who your neighbor might know.

The bottom line is this. You can fret over what is happening in the global economy or you can learn the game and use it to your advantage. It is time we start getting aggressive again and make some good things happen.