Innovation over the last decade has broken down geographic borders and brought the world closer together.
At the same time, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for businesses to be more agile and flexible; to rethink traditional, single-location-based operations; and to adopt remote working arrangements as the norm. As a result, companies have an opportunity to collaborate with partners big and small from locations across the globe. And as customers increasingly shop and interact online, those businesses that take steps to broaden their reach may find themselves in a stronger position.
There are countless third-party eCommerce platforms available to small and medium-sized businesses, which they can use to sell and promote their products in new markets without having to develop new supply and sales chains.
Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce are some examples of easy-to-customise frameworks that small and mid-sized businesses are using to develop a selling experience that’s simple, seamless, and completely digital. And at the top of the tree, Amazon offers selling plans that can be tailored to the needs of single-person operations as well as Fortune 500 companies — allowing both to reach an audience of millions.
Tailored shopfronts, rapid go-to-market times, and instant customer insights are all possible with the right platform. And the ability to easily create custom websites on the fly with platforms like Wix or Squarespace means that service providers can also deliver bespoke experiences.
In service of this borderless way of working is a roster of supplemental service providers that have brought traditional business processes into the 21st Century. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx are now familiar presences in every office. And flexible workplace policies, collaborative file-sharing platforms like Dropbox or WeTransfer, and countless other solutions are at businesses’ fingertips, allowing them to operate in a similar way to traditional multinationals, but without breaking the bank.
Prior to COVID-19, expansion into non-domestic markets was cited as a priority by just 13% of the respondents to Chubb and Accenture’s survey of small and mid-sized businesses, even though 78% agreed that their growth would be affected by changes to international trade.
Today, new technologies and an increased appetite for remote relationships can give businesses the perfect platform to unlock new opportunities. But this doesn’t come without risk.
Businesses need to make sure they consider the specific needs of their organisation and find a provider that ticks all the right boxes in terms of functionality, reliability, and security, while also having the proven track record to back it up. Additional training to make sure staff know how to use these platforms is also essential, to keep operations just as smooth as they’d be in a physical office.
Finally, if things do break down somewhere along the supply chain, an insurer with global reach can give businesses the support and protection they need as they pursue new opportunities.