"Social networks will fuel borderless commerce. Online and offline social networks will help remove soft trade barriers, such as language and cultural differences. These networks will introduce small businesses to new markets and facilitate cross-border trade."
In addition to social networking, the report predicts substantial increases in the number of U.S. small businesses trading globally due to new cross-border business opportunities and reductions in export costs. Half of all small businesses will be doing business abroad by 2018, the report says. And in an article on the report, US News quotes UPS saying that a third of small businesses are already working internationally.
Matthew Bandyk at US News cites the rise of PayPal as a key factor: "The creation of PayPal means that small businessesï¿¼which generally can't hire large legal teamsï¿¼can be assured they will get paid when they do international business online."
According to the report, it all adds up to world where making a sale in Austria is no more difficult than closing a deal in Atlanta:
"As the costs associated with doing business globally continue to decrease, small businesses will make no distinction between domestic and international commerce."
And that should help smaller companies better weather local and national business cycles:
"Globalization will increase small business diversity and amplify its economic value. Small business diversity will help increase market growth in the U.S. and abroad and will unlock new opportunities for all small business owners."
And Bandyk says that small businesses actually have some competitive advantages in the global marketplace:
"As people get richer, they demand more and more specialized products that are not mass produced. So, as incomes in China and India rise, consumers there will be willing to pay a premium for authentic niche goods that small businesses can provide."
If indeed the US is headed for a recession, now would be a good time to do everything possible to break into other markets around the world.