Thursday, November 3, 2011

5 Tips For Expanding Your Small Business Abroad

Panama Business 2Image by thinkpanama via FlickrThe goal of all small businesses is to grow. From a simple idea, your small business begins, you work many weeks and years to make it a success. You reach a point where you have the knowledge and resources to expand. Many businesses expand in their city or state but why not consider expanding overseas.

It's not going to be easy taking your small business global. It will take a lot of patience, money and research. When you do get your business going problems can arise, so it's better to be prepared ahead of time. Here are 5 tips to help you head off any problems:

1. Language.
Communicating with your overseas associates verbally or on paper offers its own set of problems. Either you must be fluent in the language of the country you are dealing with or have someone in that country that will be your representative. It's critical, if you don't speak the language, to have a trusted relationship with an individual or competent middle man who will represent you. Also when dealing with financial data, documents or legal contracts it would be wise to set up a financial translation service beforehand.

2. Local Experts.
Don't think that your home market is the same abroad. You should have a competent advisor who could be a lawyer or a representative of a bank. They will know their way around your foreign economy. If they aren't able to help they will have the contacts to help in a situation.

3. Check with Overseas Commerce Branches of Government.
In the United States there is the U.S. Department of Commerce. All countries have an equivalent branch of government. Their job is to connect business men, foreign or domestic, with information to help businesses function in the economy. The department can give the small business man information on overseas agents, duty fees, and taxes.

4. Understand Your Market.
Doing business in another country means investigating the markets. Just because your product or service is profitable in your home country doesn't mean it will be successful abroad. Just as in your own country you would not just jump into a market without doing exhaustive market research. So much more you would do the same where the economy and culture are different.

5. Respecting the Culture and Values of other Countries.
Language is not the only barrier to doing business abroad. Barriers, to being successful doing business abroad, can arise when not having a basic respect for the values and customs of a country. Speaking the language is important but know the culture and traditions in doing business will only help you be more successful.

The global business world is expanding more and more everyday. It's not easy to expand your business abroad and many businesses don't for that reason. But with proper planning and some expert help, it can be done.

1 comment:

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