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Online Resource Helps with World Conquest Aims to Help Entrepreneurs

by Jim Bray

Is your small business just dying to go global?

If so, there's a new online resource that could help achieve your dreams of world domination.

It's called, a free Web site for globally-minded businesses who could use a hand up. The brainchild of Laurel Delaney, speaker, educator, entrepreneur and author of "Start and Run a Profitable Exporting Business," the site's an offshoot of her Chicago-based marketing, consulting and Web content providing company Global TradeSource Limited. offers a pretty interesting variety of information and reference materials, as well as some interactive content aimed at "emerging entrepreneurs, small businesses and corporate risk takers."

And isn't it nice to have some extra help in an economy that threatens the survival of all but the fittest?

So is this merely yet another little Web site aimed at a niche market? Perhaps, but that doesn't mean it's of no worth.

Delaney, quoting a Commerce Department annual survey, says that more than a quarter million American companies are already in the export business, shipping nearly $600 billion worth of stuff offshore a year. In an increasingly global economy, these figures will undoubtedly increase. claims to make it simple for aspiring exporters to navigate the global market and, while I might quibble with the word "simple," it never hurts to have some brains to pick, even online ones.

I know from personal experience. While I haven't tried the export business, I was involved in a startup import business in the early days of personal computers and we ended up shelving our plans because my partner and I couldn't make head nor tail of the ins and outs of trying to deal with strangers in strange lands, people we didn't know and whose customs and business methods were unknown to us.

Heck, we had a hard time just figuring out what foreign language addresses meant and whether our target companies were above board or fly by night!

So I can well imagine the hassles of trying to bring a product to market when you don't know the territory and probably don't even speak the language.'s web site offers sections dealing with a variety of topics of interest, including a "global IQ test" that picks your brain to help you figure out if you have the right stuff to sally forth into a cold and uncaring world, armed only with your better mousetrap.

You can also sign up for a monthly newsletter, and the site also has a "best of" series that includes links to what management deems to be the best global, small business, businesswomen and small business in academe. I didn't notice a mention of a "best businessMAN," alas, so there is a bit of a slant to the site but they don't beat you over the head with it and the information is still relevant to the half of huMANity who are undoubtedly the root cause of all the world's problems.

There are also links to some nifty tools you may find quite handy in your crusade. For example, you can access a global currency converter, a metric converter and telephone dialing guide, weather info and more. also links to sites you can use to help translate your stuff into other languages. These are handy tools, but having done some English to French work using at least one of the sites offered here I must pass on the caveat that they are definitely not perfect - but they're a good place to start. Be careful with the results you get, though; it's better to get your copy a quick once over by a professional translator than risk offending potential customers with flawed language, no matter how innocent it may seem.

You can also get insight into global trends and markets, as well as join a Global Forum where you can network with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

One of the best things about is that it's free to users, at least for the immediate future. The money has to come from somewhere, however, and Delaney says she's talking with potential corporate sponsors like Oracle Small Business, Intuit, American Express Small Business, Fortune Small Business,, and Wells Fargo.

A resource like this isn't going to make you an international success, of course, but it can't hurt.

And that could make it worthwhile.

Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.


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January 31, 2006