Reaching a Global Perspective

by K. Bill Dost

K. Bill Dost is president of D&D Leasing, a global equipment leasing and finance provider to small businesses and entrepreneurial companies. He is a Toronto Chapter board member in the Entrepreneurs Organization, an international group based in Alexandria, VA; a board member of the Finance and Lease Association; and he is also active in the European Leasing Foundation and other industry trade groups serving brokers and asset finance companies.

D&D Leasing President K. Bill Dost discusses the insight, creativity, greater resources in talent and broader market opportunities available when a company reaches a global perspective.

Small business or micro-ticket financing executives are watching margins, monitoring competitors, studying the potential impact of new regulations and minding risk exposures, but the most important view is a global one — the one that Peter Diamandis spoke about at the ELFA convention last year when referencing his book “Abundance”. Having a bigger perspective gives one a lead on new trends as they emerge in one country and then move around the globe faster and faster every year. The worst that can happen is we get ahead of the curve — not too bad if you ask me.

My passion centers on changing the lives of a million entrepreneurs. That’s our corporate mission at D&D Leasing. I’m particularly interested in innovations that expand the quality of life for more people who are impoverished. Let’s lend money to create something that makes a difference, even if (especially if) no one else will fund it. Following innovation closely and moving beyond borders, if not physically than virtually, is rewarding in financial terms as well.

See Fast Company’s latest list of top innovative companies, and note the ones you may never have heard of before — innovators other than Google. The common denominator among the companies on this list is that they all have global perspectives, global talent and global implications for society.

So what value does a global perspective bring to a company? How about insight, creativity, greater resources in talent and broader market opportunities? A few years ago, we saw an increase in trucking finance in Canada, then noted an upward trend in the U.S., and because we were on top of this trend as it emerged in Canada, we developed a market focus in the UK ahead of the competition. It’s just one example of the benefit of global perspective.

Another has to do with business relationships. Understanding our customers and what they want is really the bottom line, and when I look at our customers, they are increasingly global. I think we understand them better because we are, too.

If we examine margin compressions we can note that the pressure is coming from letting our businesses become commoditized. In fact, a recent survey conducted in Europe by a consultancy and trade publication indicated that 29% of surveyed lessors predict margins will decrease over the next six months, and more than half anticipate no change in margins. Only 17% see them increasing.

What I am doing is looking at this and asking myself two very key questions:

Number 1: Where is the next Bill Gates or a dozen others like him with new business concepts? And what will they be financing in the near future?
Number 2: What can I provide that is really valuable to my clients that they need in addition to financial services?

I welcome your comments or insight on this subject or others related to small business and entrepreneurial financing.

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