In Chapter 15, I discussed the challenges of managing remote offices and employees and the advantages of keeping your team in one place for as long as possible. Now, I have to qualify that: it's just as important to be close to your customers as it is to be close to your colleagues. Once you develop an international presence, or even a major customer base in a particular location, you should start thinking about having a local presence. Just be sure to do it right.
Not every business needs to global. If you're a business-to-consumer (B2C) company, it may not get you anything: customers don't expect much in the way of personal contact with employees from Facebook, Twitter, or Evernote. You may need some level of in-language customer support but that can be done from anywhere.
It's very important if you're in a business-to-business (B2B) company. In fact, it's almost a truism of sales: Germans like to buy from Germans. The French like to buy from the French. Canadians like to buy from Canadians; French Canadians like to buy from French Canadians and Americans like to buy from Americans! Put your salespeople where the customers are. (One exception to this rule is that customers of freemium software products don't expect a significant amount of interaction with the companies they buy from.)
The simplest way to establish a global presence is through M&A, which I discuss in detail in ...