Yo-ho-ho! I am Harrybbbb and the author of the above title. I hold a virtual book reading each day and very much enjoy the opportunity to tell it like it is in the world of SMB technology consulting. So enjoy today’s passage on wordwide markets.
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host a spring conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!
There are a couple of interesting points to mention in the International segment. First of all, you might be engaging in internationalism right in your own neighborhood. For example, some SMB consultants I know in San Diego not only serve a diverse client base that speaks multiple languages, but they are located right at the US/Mexico international border, opening up additional SMB consulting opportunities. I’ve found myself helping some SMB clients in Vancouver, BC, Canada due to my living in the Seattle area and the close proximity to this marketplace.
BEST PRACTICE: Be sure to take the following point seriously. Consider going to night school at the local college to learn a foreign language. In the US, it’s worth your time to learn Spanish, given the macro demographic trend whereby the Hispanic population will dominate the US population composition within a generation. You might shy away from less popular languages in order to get the biggest bang for your SMB consulting practice dollar!
A second interesting point is how the SMB arena seems to have a stronger foothold in overseas markets compared to the US. It’s the worst kept secret in Redmond, Washington, home of Microsoft, that SBS sells dramatically better overseas than in the US. In fact, Australia has sold as many copies of SBS as the US, even though the US is 15 times larger in population and even larger when measured by gross domestic product (GDP).
This can be attributed to several factors. The SBS message overseas has been better-received than in the US. Overseas markets are, in general, comprised of smaller firms while the US has a stronger enterprise, Fortune 500
orientation. If you go to a US city, the technology consulting opportunity might be more skewed toward enterprise (say a corporate headquarters or the branch office of a large, US company) than SMB, while overseas, the opportunity is just the opposite. You get the picture and it’s something you should consider if you have the flexibility to relocate when you plan to launch your SMB consulting practice. For example, a US military member might just as soon start an SMB consultant practice upon his or her honorable discharge at an overseas location (e.g., Germany) instead of returning to the US.
Overseas markets learned about SBS later in its life, which meant they did not suffer through the difficult SBS 4.x era, when the product was immature and still finding its feet. Because of this late introduction to SBS, SMB consultants located overseas who did not have to experience the program’s growing pains are generally happy with it.
The bottom line is that knowing your market(s) is a smart business practice for anyone.