As of January 1, 2106 Birchtree Global celebrates its 18th year in business. I was in the Hard Rock Café in Shanghai, part of a delegation of manufacturing executives on a state visit to China, when I made the decision to create Birchtree Global. What would make Birchtree Global different would be providing the integrated legal, financial, tax, and HR infrastructures services to establish clients in new markets. An integrated approach was needed, I reasoned, because without knowledge of how all these issues fit together, very poor outcomes resulted. I’d worked in global business long enough to see the effects of decision-making built around maximizing only tax strategy and not considering the labor market constraints, or not selecting the appropriate legal structures, or failing to educate the rest of the company management and employees in the new global business reality. I wanted to fill this void with a business service company that helped clients establish a competitive business in new markets.
I spent the next year working hard, saving money, and taking extra teaching jobs to stash money in the bank for the “grand opening.” I agree with Gene Simmons of Kiss in his recent book “Me, Inc.” that you can find a lot more time and money to start a business if you organize yourself and maximize your available resources….and give up TV…and eat Ramen noodles-a lot. On January 1, 1999 Birchtree Global was born.
How does Birchtree Global look compared to United States businesses? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after 18 years, about 25% of all small businesses are still in business. Small businesses with less than 500 employees make up approximately 28.2 million businesses with 75% of those businesses being non-employers. By contrast there are more than 17,700 firms employing more than 500 people. However, 63% of net-new private-sector jobs are provided by small employers and a whopping 98% of all firms exporting goods. Small firms accounted for 14.3 million of the 22.9 million new jobs between 1993 and 2013. Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60 percent of the net new jobs. Small firms in the 20-499 employee category led job creation.*
Our success is due to our terrific clients which have given our us a chance to add value to their businesses. We’ve worked with great colleagues who have added much to our business-Rick Gimbert’s global tax strategies, Jim McGuirk’s C-Suite expertise, and John O’Loughlin’s CHRO perspectives. These are three of the most outstanding individuals with whom I’ve had the pleasure to know. Steve, Aoife, Ludi, Gilberto, Nadia, Sam, Ken, Stephen, Tom, and an army of Bucknell University Interns over the last 18 years have made tremendous contributions to our client’s operational success. They are all simply the best people with whom you can work.
In 2016 we start the New Year welcoming several new clients and becoming more familiar with our new Learning Management System (LMS). Our new LMS will allow us to aggregate resources for our clients making it easier for them to access cutting-edge global information. The new LMS also makes it easier for them to learn more about our partner firms and their services.
I’m personally looking forward to finalizing my doctorate in business administration. The day “the doctor is in” will be a company holiday and Dom Perignon will be the featured guest(s)! I now know why so many of the doctoral dissertations I’ve read begin by thanking a divine being. Developing “Success characteristics of foreign direct investment in Cuba” for the last three years has been revealing and very interesting given the thaw in Cuban/American relations. I’ve greatly enjoyed meeting global business and government leaders around the world particularly Cuban Minister Arietta, Cuban UN Ambassador Rodriguez, CEO David McMillian, CEO Tom Popper, and Dr. Richard Feinberg. They have inspired me. When completed I will share this research through publication and through our LMS data base programming. Hint, the results are not what you might think!
Our latest, award winning, research, “Linking Theory” has just been published and is available online through the EBSCO-Host and PRO-Quest data bases. This research adds to the way our team reviews global startups and has helped us create a methodology to diagnose and correct financial under performance for clients.
We will continue to base our client recommendations, as we have since the beginning, on fact-based, strategic analysis to drive increased financial performance. We have new tools and research capabilities which gives us an unparalleled foundation for thought leadership. Offering products and advice that is both scalable and flexible gives clients a customized suite of services that enables their financial performance with world-class resources.
We are all excited and happy to welcome the New Year and look forward to contributing to our communities and causes. The Explorers Club Young Explorers Program, The SPCA, and Rotary International, are some of the organizations we support.
Today the Hard Rock Cafe in Shanghai is no longer in business, but Birchtree Global is flourishing. It seems to me as an amateur archaeologist and paleontologist that the race doesn’t go to the biggest, strongest, or loudest, it goes to the most adaptable. So for 2016 we wish all our clients, friends, and colleagues, much success in adapting to the challenges and opportunities that will come in 2016. May you all live long and prosper!
**U.S. Census Bureau, SUSB, CPS; International Trade Administration; Bureau of Labor Statistics, BED; Advocacy-funded research, Small Business GDP: Update 2002-2010, www.sba.gov/advocacy/7540/42371.
Photo from: Ricardo Sorzi, 2003