Recently, Stridec was invited to attend the launch of “Go Global”, a Google-led initiative that aims to help Singapore SMEs in their quest to go international. This new programme will equip Singapore-based SMEs with the tools and training needed to quite literally “go global”, using the digital space as a launching pad.
According to Joanna Flint, Country Director of Google Singapore, about 60% of people around the world either researched about a product or service, or made a purchase online last year. As such, the web is an ideal platform for businesses looking to export their goods and services.
The Singapore government recognises and encourages this, as the “Go Global” initiative is backed by key government agencies, such as IE Singapore and Spring Singapore, with relevant grants and other assistance schemes made available to SMEs that are ready to take the next leap forward with their business.
This is great news for all business owners who have been wanting to get on the e-commerce bandwagon but until now have little or no idea of how and where to start. If you are exposed to this wealth of information for the first time, it can be rather exhilarating but at the same time a little overwhelming. For your benefit, we have filtered away the dry and technical and give you the main points to get you started.
Here are the key takeaways from this initiative that you should take note of:
1. Analyse, analyse, analyse
Being a Google-led initiative, It should be no surprise that one of the most important things that was talked about was the importance of data collection and the intelligence that can be acquired from it through proper analysis.
Without the discipline to collate data and make sense of it, your business is practically flying in the blind, and in the digital age, that is equivalent to committing business suicide.
Fortunately, there are very powerful (and free!) tools such as Google Analytics and Google Trends that can help you extract important information about your target markets, your website audience and the relevance of your website to potential customers, among a whole range of metrics that you can look into.
2. Learn from those who have done it
SMEs who have found success online and now span their businesses across multiple regions and cities were showcased at the “Go Global” launch, with their owners coming on stage to relate their stories and how they have grown over the years to reach where they are today.
All of them have something in common: and that is that they embraced the digital space very early on, and committed resources - in terms of both time and money - to integrate the various digital disciplines, such as online selling, social media marketing, data analytics and so on, into their existing operations so that the mentality and culture of going global was ingrained into everyone in the organisation from the beginning.
Their successes - with online sales contributing between 15% and 40% to the total revenue - are testaments to the efforts that these SMEs have been put in to carve a name for themselves on the global stage.
You should be encouraged to know that all these success stories are homegrown and started small, either in a non-descript retail outlet or even from home. Learn what they have gone through, the mistakes they made along the way, and apply such knowledge into your business so that you can also achieve similar success.
3. E-commerce is the future of business
The writing has been on the wall for many years now, but never so pronounced and obviously until recently. The advent of the web has tore down geographical barriers and transformed the way consumers and businesses buy products and services.
The world is coming to our doorstep, whether we like it or not, as more and more Singaporeans (6 out of every 10) buy online from overseas sites such as Amazon.com, JCPenny.com and the likes. There isn’t a distinction between the domestic and international markets anymore: we now operate in a single global market connected via internet technologies.
Coupled with the increasing costs of rent and manpower among other fixed overheads that come with a business’ physical operations, SMEs can no longer think of online commerce as a peripheral channel that is good to have; it is now critical to their very survival.
In today’s business, internationalisation is one of the key areas companies has to consider to grow and stay competitive. The digital space is the ideal platform for SMEs to reach out to the world directly and it is encouraging that industry leaders such as Google is leading the charge and taking a proactive approach to create a community to help Singapore SMEs grow.
If you want to find more about how the digital space and e-commerce can help your business go global, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
To find out more about Google's "Go Global" initiative, visit: goglobal.withgoogle.com.