The following topic will be addressed in this post:
If there were a market for it, would you consider entering an international market for a product/service which you offered in your own enterprise? Why or why not?
International commerce. Would you engage in it? Good question. Many businesspeople dream about becoming international moguls, expanding across the deep blue seas. With current technology, international sales are just a few mouse clicks away.
On the other hand, with current technology, counterfeiting and reverse engineering are simple, too. Unfortunately, our government agencies have not been as aggressive as possible when enforcing intellectual property claims internationally. This situation is not the fault of the agency personnel per se, but for the last century our top legislative and executive leaders in both political parties have prioritized other topics at the expense of our innovators’ intellectual property. In his book The Betrayal of American Prosperity, Clyde Prestowitz masterfully discusses this process.
I will review Mr. Presowitz’s book in a subsequent post.
The upshot is absent a strong business structure backing you, and by strong I mean ample financial and legal resources, international commerce can be dicey. If you go international in developing economy countries, you really must prepare yourself for reality. That reality may include a brief existence as a business with a competitive edge based on intellectual property.
In my business, I might not be so worried. While there is some element of intellectual property to a compost “recipe,” the final product mainly depends upon the available inputs. Also, composting does not have a strong international trade because the weight makes transportation costs prohibitively expensive. The other facet of my venture is helping people begin their own businesses. Again, this process does not require exclusive intellectual property. In fact, I encourage competition in this area. The more people we have engaging in entrepreneurship the better.
Therefore, I would not fear international commerce in my venture, but I would caution others to think very carefully about their business strategies.
Prestowitz, C. (2010) The betrayal of American prosperity. Free Press: New York.