Just because it’s become a cliche doesn’t mean it’s not true: the Internet has completely changed the very face of business.
Before, you had to be a massive company before you could even start thinking about expanding operations overseas. It wasn’t an arena in which the small business entrepreneur could hope to compete.
These days, small businesses are popping up with a truly global reach right from the get go.
It seems like that prediction has already come to pass.
In the UK, for example, a recent Fedex study found that 40% of micro-multinationals opened offices in new markets within the last five years. Three in 10 also increased overseas employee hiring.
The Micro-Multinational DNA
Being a micro-multinational is hard-coded into WORKetc’s DNA. Our management, sales, support, development, and marketing teams have been spread across four continents right from the start. We made a decision right at the beginning that WORKetc was a “Global First” startup.
For a small team with no big corporate financial backing, that’s a setup that would have been unthinkable just a few short decades ago. But we’ve made it work for us. In just a few short years we’ve grown to over 6,000 people from 29 countries who rely on the WORKetc platform every day to get their jobs done.
And we’re not alone. Many of our customers share the same Global First sentiment. Melbourne-based Eagle Vision Property, for example, has a dedicated team of render artists all around the world working in different time zones.
“We’re now essentially a micro-multinational company operating non-stop,” Eagle Vision founder Stan Zaslavsky told us in an interview. “This is where our real advantage lies. We’re doing things simultaneously, and we’re effectively working on a project 24 hours a day.”
The Age of Combinatorial Innovation
We live in what Varian calls an age of combinatorial innovation. A guy in Texas could come up with an idea for a product, have someone in Finland develop a 3D prototype, get it manufactured in bulk in China, and sell it online through a website developed by someone in India.
Being a micro-multinational goes beyond the established idea of telecommuting. When a company allows telecommuting, there usually still exists a physical office that acts as the company’s central hub. Employees still need to come in a few days a week just to stay in the loop.
In a true micro-multinational, nobody is out of the loop thanks to judicious and smart use of available technology. It’s a bit of a paradox, really. As physically separate as a micro-multinational team is, collaboration, efficiency, and productivity are usually on par with — and sometimes even exceeding — more traditional companies.
Cloud apps like WORKetc business management software let micro-multinationals keep all company data in a central repository. Every team member, whether they’re in Boise, Bangkok, Brisbane, or Brussels are always instantly up to date.
And when you’re a company with people in multiple time zones, replies to customer requests and tickets can be handled that much faster.
Take our very own QuickStart Onboarding Program, for example. Our product specialist Sarah in New York can start to onboard a customer during her workday. That customer’s data is then shared with Justine in Manila, who finishes the data migration by the end of his day.
By the time Sarah and her customer continue the QuickStart program the next day, the latter’s data is already in WORKetc — ready and waiting to be used before the start of the New York workday. The result? A happy, satisfied customer.
And let’s not forget the financial advantages. Having some parts of your operations performed overseas help you reduce costs. A micro-multinational can then allocate these saved funds to the most integral parts of the business.
Hiring Your Micro-Multinational Team
Almost any small business, no matter the industry, can be a micro-multinational. The trick is in finding people who fit the micro-multinational mindset.
We’ve actually tackled this exact topic on the WORKetc blog a few years ago, and what we said back then still applies today. Here’s a summary of what you need to do to find the best fit for your micro-multinational:
Now that we’ve covered what makes a small business a micro-multinational, next we’re going to look at business management hacks that’ll make running one a lot easier — starting with how to manage it using WORKetc.