Report: Leaders Are Cautiously Optimistic About Global Growth

Factum Global’s survey finds enthusiasm for global expansion, slightly tempered by economic and geopolitical headwinds.

A new survey of corporate and nonprofit executives finds strong, if softer, enthusiasm for global expansion opportunities.

The Factum Global Business Survey, released last month by the consultancy Factum Global, found that its overall “sentiment score” a metric that factors in leaders’ attitudes around multiple business factors, declined 8 percent compared to the same time last year. The drop isn’t precipitous, however, and leaders generally expressed enthusiasm for global growth: 77 percent of respondents said they “have plans to continue or increase international activities in the next six months.” 

Still, the decline speaks to some uncertainty around global tensions and a still-recovering post-pandemic economy. Factum Global founder and CEO Francisco Gomez said the report highlighted the resilience of global efforts despite those headwinds. 

“While there is a lot of acknowledgement about global uncertainties and technological disruption, I think most leaders see adaptability and innovation as the key for success,” he said. “They still recognize that the opportunities that are coming from international expansion outweigh those risks.”

Associations need to be asking themselves about the risk of what happens if you do nothing.

Factum Global founder and CEO Francisco Gomez

The report shows that the highest anxiety among leaders deals with risk tolerance—75 percent of respondents say it’s not too risky to do business internationally, an 8 percent drop from last year. To associations that may be skittish about launching or expanding global efforts, the report stresses the importance of developing and maintaining those ties amid the complexity. As one anonymous respondent in the report put it: “Not having international counterparts would likely be more risky in the fast-changing environment.”

Gomez echoed that sentiment. “Associations need to be asking themselves about the risk of what happens if you do nothing,” he said. “There are wars and geopolitical issues, yes, but what are you going to do about it? I think the risks of inaction are higher than ever.” 

Taking action, however, isn’t the same thing as rushing. The report found that the majority of respondents are positive or neutral about their organization’s global performance, and respondents stressed the importance of a clear strategy behind their international efforts. “A lot of organizations, unfortunately, are doing international activities without a strategy in place,” Gomez said. “Knowing how an activity affects your strategy from the beginning will enable you to mitigate those risks and invest your resources in the right places, instead of spending money that perhaps is not going to lead to a return.”

In addition, respondents were generally bullish on technological transformation, with many agreeing with the statement that tech breakthroughs “will positively impact my organization’s ability to keep up with the current accelerated pace of digital transformation.” Gomez said that associations, with their strong focus on ethics and standards, are well equipped to guide their organizations through these shifts while expanding globally.

“Ethics is very ingrained in associations—it’s natural for them to ask how these advancements will impact their ability to do business in a responsible way,” he said. “So they’re putting in place robust risk management frameworks, and you’re seeing that expanding. They’re embracing the opportunities from innovation, but at the same time being highly aware of the potential risks and biases.”

The report is based on a survey of 150 business executives in for-profit and nonprofit industries, conducted between March and May.

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