Local entrepreneur Robert L. Wallace is on a voyage that will take him by boat to about 35 countries and 100 ports to complete research for his new book, “Global Entrepreneurship.” Wallace says this approach allows him to visit locations around the world and to “feel, touch, see, smell, and experience” the entrepreneurial reality and energy of the global community through the eyes of a world traveler.
“A few years ago, I began conducting research on how American entrepreneurs could start doing business globally. I was particularly interested in learning how small businesses and grassroots entrepreneurs could be successful at expanding their entrepreneurial opportunities internationally,” Wallace said. “I was not interested in looking at large, multinational corporations because they have been successful at building this international network.”
Not content to conduct this research from a purely academic and research perspective, Wallace said he decided to take a novel approach.
With the assistance of his wife and staff, he decided to take a sabbatical from his role as founder of BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc. and CEO of Bithenergy, Inc. The five-month journey, which is expected to conclude next month, is unique because of the method of travel he chose, according to Wallace.
“Instead of jumping around the world on a jetliner, hopping from one country to another, I instead decided to sign up for a world cruise on Viking Cruises,” he said, noting that this approach provided him the vehicle for covering a great distance in a relatively short period of time with the least stress.
Raised in Cherry Hill, Wallace overcame poverty to become a speaker, consultant, author and entrepreneur. He is considered as one of the most influential Maryland in business and he is the author of several books, including: “Soul Food,” “Black Wealth,” and “Black Entrepreneurship.”
“It is my belief that when we bring together entrepreneurs from different societies and different backgrounds at the grassroots level, we will begin to see a rapid expansion of ideas and innovation that have the potential and likelihood to change the world,” Wallace said.
Having spent the last 40 years studying and documenting the success and failures of American entrepreneurs, Wallace says he has isolated a series of common mistakes that are made by both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs.
“[Aspiring entrepreneurs] underestimate the amount of capital it will ultimately take to fund their idea or project and, consequently, they are confronted with structural deficiencies in their financial business model that are difficult to resolve,” he said. “This group of entrepreneurs, too often lack clarity in their business objectives and mission. This fuzziness in their business objectives results in precious resources being squandered, putting the enterprise at risk from the very beginning.”
Seasoned entrepreneurs are often guilty of not spending enough time developing an acceptable exit strategy for their business and frequently develop a “no one can do it better than me” attitude which results in them trying to do everything themselves when they could be using this energy to better develop their organization.
“I have been blessed to have been able to experience such a wonderful global voyage as has been experienced through this World Cruise,” he said.
“The experiences I have enjoyed and the wonderful people I have met has been invaluable. While I do believe that anyone who is able to take such a trip should take it, the reality is that most people will not have the time or the money to invest in such an adventure.
“My suggestion for any entrepreneur who is looking to expand her markets and relationships internationally first define what countries, regions, and markets that they have a desire to do business in and then go to that country and spend some quality time there before making any significant investments there.”