Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Micro-Multinational Talent Acquisition - Part 2

One of the criteria that makes a small business a micr0-multinational is the fact that the company has employees in multiple countries.  One obvious reason for Heaven Fresh to have employees in several countries is that the company is selling products in many countries. Although we do not market products in Pakistan yet, we do have employees there.  In our experience, there is no better way to bootstrap a startup company than to have talented employees in emerging countries.  By doing so, companies based in countries with higher labor cost can achieve the desired output at the fraction of the cost of hiring  local employees.  For example, the following daily business functions of the various Heaven Fresh offices are performed by its employees in Pakistan:

  • Daily order processing
  • Labels and packing slips printing
  • Bookkeeping
  • E-mail customer servicing
  • E-bay listings and processing
  • Developing & Maintaining web sites
  • Graphic Designing

 I believe that for a young startup company, hiring talented employees in developing countries can help accelerate the company's growth by leaps and bounds.  However, working with employees who are thousands of miles away has its own challenges, especially for a small business without proper software and communication tools. The time difference plus the cultural and language differences do not make it easy either. It's a process where a company must determine the proper split of responsibilities, have the infrastructure in place to coordinate the tasks,  manage communication, understand the cultural differences and most of all develop a strict work discipline among this geographically scattered team.

 Outsourcing of various job functions to countries like India, Russia, China, Philippine etc. has been a big part of fortune 500 companies for last 15 years. However, small companies are just starting to catch up on this trend thus increasing the total count of micro-multinationals. One of the reasons for slow movement of small businesses in this arena is the lack of proper software tools and communication channels for the coordination of various tasks among team members.  A vast majority of the micro-multinationals today are high-tech companies whose employees/partners have extensive technical background and are able to put various pieces of software together to enable them to work remotely in a coherent way.  Unfortunately, most of the small businesses do not have the luxury of technical know-how or have the financial muscle to buy expensive software platform to be able to hire employees half way around the globe.

I believe that the number of micro-multinationals with employees in various countries will sky rocket in coming years thus making it a de facto standard for any small business to be competitive.

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