We thought it would be fun to post a map of the world in the office and put a pin every place where we had done business or met a customer. We ran out of pins.
As cool as that is, we know that it's not how many places you visit, it's what you do when you get there and the experiences and knowledge you take with you when you return home.
It feels good that we have helped people all over the world find ways to make connections and do more business around the world. Sure, that can mean the mechanics of writing tailored content or arranging for the translation of words from one language to another. But these days it is more important to have a deeper understanding of the obstacles that can get in the way of communicating across cultures and international borders.
When and where direct communication interferes with understanding.
Determining which markets are likely to be a better fit based upon your culture.
Understanding what the word "no" means (maybe not what you think).
How the color of your logo can hurt business overseas.
Why the word "future" sometimes means "tomorrow" and sometimes means "decades."
Why no one is visiting your exhibition booth at international conferences.
Why some companies do not like to borrow money from banks in their home country, and don't want to talk about it.
There are a lot more, and we do not have all the answers. But we know where and how to get the them. And most importantly, we know the right questions to ask.