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Top 10 Tips for Starting an Overseas Business

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It’s no wonder that many fortune 500 companies have moved overseas when they’ve been able to escape paying $2.4 trillion in American taxes. Small and large companies alike have found a lot of success by moving their business abroad. Before you pack your bags, you have to understand that there are quite a few catches.

If you’re considering making the move, you need to learn how to succeed. If not planned properly, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble. This article is going to walk you through 10 tips to help your overseas business thrive.

1. Make a Local Friend

While this tip is helpful for all travelers, it’s especially important if you’re a small business owner.

Since you may not have as many resources as a company with an expendable income, you need as much help as possible.

The internet is an incredible tool, but it’s still not perfect. How many times have you gathered as much information online on one topic as possible only to find that your expectations didn’t meet reality? You should spend plenty of time researching online, but fact-checking with someone who actually lives there is a good habit to adopt.

They can inform you about local taxes, the political climate, people’s attitudes about your industry, and more. Since you have a lot of technical information to research to make your business a success, you may miss out on learning about other smaller bits of information that can make your transition easier.

For example, did you know that in Bulgaria people nod their head to say no and shake to say yes? Other countries may also believe that handshakes are inappropriate, which is a standard business practice in America. Having a confidant to help you navigate the ins and outs of this new setting can really make life breezy.

2. Understand the Culture

Some companies start businesses overseas but still operate in America. Others want to function like a local business with local customers. If you’re interested in the latter, you need to make sure your products or services are in demand.

For example, if you want to open a burger restaurant, you should avoid countries like India where a large portion of the population is vegetarian or vegan. Not to mention, cows are also viewed as sacred, so your business could create an outrage.

While this is a position that few people are actually put in, it’s worth looking into other businesses who are offering similar services as you. If there is a healthy amount of competition, but not so much that your business would get lost, then that means there is a high demand.

Business 101 dictates that high demand equals high profits, so you can feel secure that your move will be successful.

3. Familiarize Yourself with the Paperwork

There are a lot of legal hoops you need to jump through when owning a business abroad. Not only will you have to deal with a foreign country’s policies, but you’ll still have to manage American paperwork as well. This thought alone can discourage many owners from ever considering moving.

The good news is that not every country’s policies and taxes are created the same. If your main concern is having the least amount of paperwork, look into starting your company in a country with the most relaxed laws on foreign businesses.

Did you know that people who move to New Zealand can have their business running in one day for the cost of roughly $100? Other countries can take months and lots of money to open.

Ultimately, you have to establish your own business goals and weigh the importance of time before making your decision.

4. Build a Website

This step is critical for local and foreign businesses no matter how big or small. One of the top tips on how to run a business is to build an online presence. The modern world is all digital, and failing to conform to this platform means falling far behind.

Actively engaging with customers through social media and having a detailed website builds trust and satisfaction. If you’re moving to a country where English is not the predominant language, make sure your website has a tab to switch between English and the other language.

Don’t rely on an online translator, either. It’s definitely worth investing money to get your website accurately translated by a real person who knows how to make your company sound friendly and reliable.

Another important note is to make sure that your website looks just as good on a phone as it does on a computer. Many people use their phones to shop and research online, and lots of businesses fail to realize their websites aren’t compatible with mobile.

5. Lawyer Up

It’s always helpful to have a lawyer help you run your business no matter where it’s located.

They can walk you through any legal jargon so you can make the most informed decisions to grow your business.

Since your company may be located in a country that does not speak English, consulting a lawyer becomes much more important. For the most success, it’s best to find an American expat who speaks both languages and understands how life functions in this land.

6. Don’t Rush Your Overseas Business

When you have a solid business plan and you’re convinced you’ve found the perfect location to open your business, it’s difficult not to book the next flight to your new home. No matter how excited you are to start your business, you can’t rush this process.

There is always more to learn about your new country. You could spend months gathering information before you feel comfortable making an informed decision. Take the time to be cautious, because following an impulse is also a quick way to fail.

7. Research Successes and Failures in Current and Past Markets

You need to know how your country’s economy has fluctuated over the years. If possible, you need to collect data that pertains to your own trade. How have similar companies fared throughout the last decade?

It’s important to study success stories so you can implement similar business strategies, but you also need to read about the failures. You could make every right decision, but if you slip up once, that mistake has the potential to haunt you for the rest of your career. If you can learn from someone else’s mistakes, you have a lot more insight on how to avoid their pitfalls.

8. Enjoy Where You Live

This may sound like a no-brainer, but business owners may become so absorbed with the professional side of life that they don’t consider their own preferences. You may find the perfect country to run your business, but if their lifestyle is something that will make you miserable, then your business will get hurt.

It’s worth starting a business checklist and examining how many countries fulfill your expectations. Personal happiness is one item on your list that needs to be checked off.

9. Start Learning the Language

No one can expect you to speak like a native, but making the effort to learn even simple phrases can go a long way in the business world. You may be running the best business in town, but if you come across as insincere, you’ll lose potential revenue.

Learning the language shows that you are interested in building long-lasting relationships with employees, investors, and customers. Keep in mind that if your business is one of the few foreign-owned businesses around, you’ll generate a lot of interest. If people discover that you know how to properly greet them in their own language, they’ll be charmed.

Good business owners understand how to make money. Great business owners understand the human side of business, too. It may feel like a waste of time when you have so many other pressing issues to handle, but you’ll learn how much your efforts can pay off once you start engaging with people.

10. Always Work to Expand Your Network

After you’ve made your local friend, you shouldn’t stop looking to build more relationships. Your business could be of the highest quality, but at the end of the day, sometimes your success boils down to who you know.

Making connections in your new country can open so many doors that you didn’t even know were there. Whether it’s meeting new investors, customers, or business owners who are familiar with your industry, it always helps to increase your popularity.

If you can find mentors to help you navigate the business world in your country, they could save you a lot of headaches. Anyone who is looking to start a business in Latin America can make a great connection with Craig Dempsey, co-founder of Biz Latin Hub. If you want to know how his entrepreneurial success story can help your own journey then click here.

Ready to Revolutionize Your Business?

Now that you know the top tips for starting an overseas business, you can start taking the steps to making your career aspirations a reality. BusinessBlogs is your ultimate resource for gathering all the tools you need to make your business succeed. If you have any questions about how our information can help you grow your business,  click here for more articles.

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