FedEx's Fred Smith to Small Businesses: Think Globally
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The president, CEO, and chairman of FedEx had a simple message to small business owners attending America's Small Business Summit 2012: Your growth, and possibly even survival, will depend on accessing new customers in international markets.
"We've reached a tipping point. Opportunities in emerging markets outnumber those in developed countries," FedEx chief Fred Smith said, adding that international revenues in his own company will soon exceed company revenues generated in the United States. According to Smith, the global population will jump to 9 billion by 2050 from 6 billion in 2000, and the U.S. population will account for only 100 million of those additional people. In other words, the growth rate of potential customers is much greater abroad.
Countries such as China, Brazil, and India have growing middle classes and are transitioning from producing nations to consuming nations, according to Smith. "Small businesses that move up from operating only in their local economy to the national and international economy will be more likely to succeed," Smith said.
Smith said that advances in broadband technology and the global supply chain have made it easier than ever for small businesses to engage in global trade, which was valued at $18.3 trillion in 2010. "You can communicate, sell, and source anything, anywhere without leaving your home town," he said. "Anything you need is one or two clicks away."