The business environment is greatly influenced by global forces and trends that tend to define how organizations interact with customers and respond to competition. From advances in technology to religious fundamentalism, business culture has come to be defined by events dictated by these forces, leaving companies with little choice but adapt to their dynamics. Globalization has brought with it both uniformity and fierce competition. and businesses have to devise strategies that enhance compliance with prevailing market trends.
Focus on Sustainability and the Environment
In an effort to mitigate global warming, governments, manufacturing industries and small businesses worldwide are focusing on sustainability by encouraging environmentally friendly practices. Going green is a powerful global force that comes at a cost to small business. Every company product must have a stamp of approval proclaiming its production and disposal processes are green. The service industry must observe stringent environmental laws that add to administrative overheads. The net effect is a rise in production costs incurred by the manufacturing sector and the business community as a whole.
Advances in Technology
Advances in technology have led to the current global grid driven by one thing: information. Information technology is a strong force that continues to enhance communications in all sectors. Companies are wise to take advantage of various marketing platforms driven by the Internet, such as dedicated websites, social networks, smartphone apps and email. Small businesses are in a unique position to leverage the power of technology to expand their market base through affordable advertising on these media and reach a sizable number of potential customers.
One clear aspect of globalization has been the drive toward international commerce. Businesses are virtually interlinked, creating a powerful force in the form of a market without borders. As small business enterprises gain a global foothold, a contradiction emerges: on one end is market potential in various parts of the world; on the other, every financial catastrophe occurring in one part of the world reverberates globally. This is compounded by emerging markets that have seen an increase in manufacturing industries and buying power, and companies have to compete for raw materials and customers.
Cultural and Religious Ideologies
Differing ideologies can be a force that defines how businesses conduct their affairs. Ideologies seem to compete for people’s attention, time and resources. Whether political, cultural or religious, individuals hold strong convictions and are deeply committed to maintaining and defending them, sometimes by force and intimidation. Particularly for small businesses transacting outside the United States, ideologies often dictate how, when and where they conduct business; thus, they have to devise strategies for operating within this world setting. Some products or services may be decreed in some countries due to religious reasons, even if there is clear potential for the market.