Web globalization and the small business

The falling dollar is forcing a lot of small business owners to focus their marketing efforts outside of the US.The New York Times weighs in with a good article on small business owners thinking globally.Here’s an excerpt:

The ebb and flow of global markets was part of the reason Handlery Hotels in California decided to pursue foreign travelers 30 years ago. The Web site for the hotel company, a family-owned business, is translated into seven languages, and Jon Handlery, senior vice president, makes regular marketing visits to travel agents overseas. The philosophy, according to Mr. Handlery, goes something like this: ´┐ŻOne year the pound might be strong so we increase marketing in the U.K. Another year it could be Japan. Things could shift globally year to year and we adjust accordingly.

I’m working on the 2008 Web Globalization Report Card right now. The report mostly focuses mostly on large US companies. The early data I’m seeing is that 2007 was another busy year for adding languages. For instance, Hotels.com added four languages, bringing it to 16 total, and Microsoft now supports 40 languages on its Web site (not including Microsoft Live, which we haven’t reviewed yet). What’s going to be interesting to see are what languages companies are supporting. While small businesses may just be getting their feet wet with FIGS (French, Italian, German Spanish) and Japanese and Chinese, many large companies are now venturing into Russian, Vietnamese, and Arabic.Also worth a quick read, Laurel Delaney features a Q&A with the author of a new report on global entrepreneurs. Here’s the link.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.