As many as 95% of the world’s consumers are not in the United States. This makes a compelling argument to expand outside the country or move your business overseas. To thrive in the overseas market, you must appeal to a broad base of consumers. The growth of the middle class all over the world means a huge leap in disposable income and, potentially, customers.
If you are looking to move your business abroad, here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Keep a Local Attorney on Retainer
Laws and regulations vary all over the world. It is important that you seek the guidance and advice of an attorney who is local to the area and is familiar with corporate law. They can help advise your business practices and ensure that all contracts do not violate local laws. With the help of a local attorney, you can avoid costly lawsuits.
2. Do You Really Need an International Bank Account?
While establishing a banking presence in a foreign country can make certain things simpler, it can be a costly and time-consuming venture. It is not usually necessary if you are receiving payments in a local currency. An account with a local bank and the help of locally-based accountants can make international taxation compliance easier. Speak to an account manager who is well-versed in the laws in your chosen country.
3. Employ Locals
Hire local managers and associates who will understand the vagaries of local culture, especially with how it applies to the workplace. Allow them to learn your style of business and integrate the local culture into your business. If you are branching out into a non-English speaking community, this is especially helpful. If you cannot hire many local people, consider hiring a consultant to give you the low-down on adapting to the market and becoming culturally relevant.
4. Do Not Lose Sight of Domestic Goals
One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail soon after branching out overseas is that they spread themselves too thin. They do not pay attention to what is happening in their local market. Make sure that when you are developing an international business strategy, it enhances rather than detracts from your local (domestic) business goals. If your company faces uncertainty in the international market, you should always be able to fall back on your domestic consumers. Do not neglect them.
5. Know the Cultural Differences
For your business to be a success, you will need to research the local customs and traditions. Adapt your business practices to what is customary. It is important to learn all you can about the local community and adapt your business to best reflect it. For example, in many countries, they are more courteous and seem less of “go-getters.” However, this is important to educate yourself about. Learn cultural bases and how they can work for you.
Running a business abroad concerns more than transporting your services to another land. Big or small, a business taking on foreign customers must make the effort to be locally relevant.