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World Affairs Council of Jacksonville Presents The Challenges of Going Global

February 18th, 2010 · Leave a Comment

Jacksonville globeThe World Affairs Council of Jacksonville convened this week with a presentation by Steven T. Halverson, President and CEO of The Haskell Company. The topic of the day was “The Challenges of Going Global.” Steve focused on his company and the nuances of understanding what a world economy means to a middle market U.S. company – asking the questions – “Why does it matter?” and “Why bother?”

Steve’s take is that he can’t image a great future without a robust international economy. The United States must think and act more globally and take advantage of global growth and wealth. In Florida for instance, international trade is good for business and jobs that are supported by the export business pay more. There are 42,000 companies in Florida involved in the export business and 97 percent of those companies are small- and medium-sized business (defined as employing 500 or fewer people).

His recommendations for the continued health of our economy, both in Florida and nationally, included:

  1. Global trade is good – it creates jobs in the United States
  2. Free trade works
  3. The United States cannot seal itself away from the rest of the world
  4. Immigration reform is a misguided conversation. There are 7 million undocumented workers in the U.S. – we can’t send them back. We must find a way to legally assimilate them into the country.
  5. A U.S./International tax system should not be passed
  6. We must invest more in higher education with an emphasis on technology
  7. We must invest in trade related transportation (such as ports)
  8. We need a science driven, not emotion driven, conversation on climate change

Cost Effective Business Development

For businesses considering the global arena – his advice included:

  • Global export is about strategy not geography. Prepare a strategic plan. Staying with it takes discipline. Failure comes from not following the strategy.
  • Know thyself. Understand your competencies. Understand what you are good at and have the humility to understand what you are not good at.
  • When making an investment to go global – double the amount of money that you plan to spend and triple the amount of time that you plan to spend.
  • Always assign your very best people. Enthusiasm is good but competency is more important.
  • Use your complete network of contacts
  • U.S. customers can be your best allies
  • Know the ambassador in the country where you are going.
  • Be cautious but don’t be afraid.
  • Last but not least – pay attention to time zones so that you can sleep at night!

What’s your take on our the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville meeting? Let us know below!

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