Ten years from now there will be millions of “Global Small Businesses” (GSBs). There will be so many that it will surely form a new category of business.
A GSB isn’t like a big global business and it’s not like a traditional small business either. As the name suggests, these are businesses that have less than 10 staff but aren’t limited by geography. They have reach into cities all over the world and could easily be making millions in sales despite a relatively small headcount.
Most commonly they will be service providers however many will also sell high value physical products that can be sent whizzing all over the globe to customers in far away cities. A lot of GSBs will also have valuable Intellectual Property that they license to their “local partners”.
GSBs will have incredibly well developed brands, making them look much bigger than they are. They will be built around a “micro-nich” and they rely heavily on a few Key People of Influence.
They will communicate on Skype, market themselves using social media, manage their operations in the cloud and be based wherever it makes sense from a tax and ip protection standpoint (I predict Singapore being a front runner).
The GSBs will have their top talent working from home and meeting in rented boardrooms on a weekly or monthly basis. Due to multiple time zones the edges of work and play will blur. Performance will be more important than hours clocked - “the only truth is the results” is the new mantra for managing employees of GSBs.
GSBs will become an attractive alternative to white collar employment. Professionals like lawyers, accountants, consultants and managers will define a “micro-niche” and then leave traditional employment in favor of their own GSB startup.
Lifestyle and flexibility will be a huge advantage for a GSB. Correctly structured, the owners of GSBs will pay little tax compared to their employee counterparts. Many GSB owners will split their time living in 2-3 locations to avoid income tax altogether.
Having an GSB will create an enviable lifestyle. A GSB isn’t like having a traditional, local small business that prevents the owner from traveling and limits the money they can make to the local economy.
A GSB on the contrary, expands as you travel and is only limited by the size of the micro-niche and the creativity of the team. Many GSBs will earn millions in revenue and have only a few staff (some of whom will be based in low-labour-cost countries like the Philippines). For this reason, many GSB owners will earn 7 figures comparatively easily.
Here’s 7 flow-on effects I predict to look out for:
- The leisure industry will boom – with millions more people able to earn six and seven figure incomes from anywhere in the world, the leisure industries will boom. Hotels, resorts, casinos, attractions and the like will see big demands.
- Global mail/call forwarding services – these are integral parts of running a GSB and will grow in demand.
- Global couriers – Shipping goods around the world is a vital component to GSDs.
- Members clubs – People need a place to meet and do business without the need for a full office setup in one location.
- Prosumer AV equipment – GSDs rely upon the ability to communicate with customers all over the world. This means regular videos on the web, photos and audio recordings.
- Tax clamp-downs – Get ready for the day when more and more western governments demand that you pay taxes on income earned everywhere in the world.
- Weakening middle class – In the next 10 years a lot of money will move towards the people who “get it” and they will find it easier than ever to avoid tax. The middle class will thin out and they will be shouldered with more and more debt and taxes. If unemployment goes up over 20% you might want to get out of town because they will clash with government until the government is forced to name a bad guy and go to war with it.
By 2020 Global Small Businesses will be in full swing. Now you know, what do you want to do about it?
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