In a world of rapidly evolving technology, people have more access to information than ever before — and despite the current restrictions in place (thanks, COVID), they have immense opportunities to travel to all corners of the globe.
These days, countries, their people, systems and goods have become inextricably linked. But what exactly is globalisation, and what are some of the pros and cons for businesses looking to expand internationally?
A hyper-connected world
Globalisation refers to the way business operations and communication spread from their place of origin around the world.
Back in the 1800s, exotic fruits were a rarity in the UK and a luxury reserved for the rich. Now, thanks to established trade partnerships and the ability to ship perishable goods in refrigerated containers, you can buy bananas, papayas or pineapples from most local UK supermarkets. This example highlights the effect of globalisation and how it has commodified goods — purely because we’re better connected to more of the world than ever before.
Any business expanding internationally is engaging in one of globalisation’s key processes, allowing services, goods, information, people, languages, technology and ideas to cross borders and reach new locations.
In essence, the world is becoming smaller and smaller by the day as we become ever more connected.
An array of advantages
The most apparent advantage of globalisation for expanding businesses is the access it provides to new markets. You can find the locations that work the best for your business’ offering to reach the right customers and build your brand on a global scale.
With access to new markets comes exposure to fresh concepts and ideas. Each country has its own set of norms, thought patterns and cultural quirks that you might need to tailor your offering to — perhaps making you approach things in a way you wouldn’t have considered before.
Globalisation also allows people to share their local knowledge, practices and technologies to establish global partnerships, as well as to share local talent! Access to such a diverse talent pool is a primary advantage of globalisation for businesses. The ability to hire abroad means you’re able to employ people with an enormous variety of skills and perspectives, helping your business grow to be multidimensional and inclusive.
A handful of potential pitfalls
However, globalisation also poses several challenges for businesses — predominantly rooted in complex social and political issues that arise from international relations.
A hot topic when it comes to discussing the adverse effects of globalisation is climate change. The commodification of goods, growing demand for resources and mass shipping of products is having an irreversible impact on the planet and its rich ecosystems.
While access to all these resources bodes well for business, we’re stripping the earth faster than we’re able to replenish it. But consumers are prioritising companies that have a clear sustainability strategy in place, so it’s essential to bear this in mind when taking the next step in your global expansion journey.
Of course, one of the biggest obstacles for businesses operating in this globalised world is hiring staff. Expanding globally begins with your employees; the first step in navigating the impact of globalisation is to employ the right talent, onboard them correctly and manage them properly.
But running a business with employees in various locations around the world requires you to be compliant with each country’s individual rules and regulations. No mean feat when every country has entirely different tax and employment regulations.
So, why not enlist the expertise of a global employer of record to deal with the administrative challenges for you and help you navigate the minefield of international expansion?