Taking your business abroad? Don’t forget these important things


The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 40 million Americans relocate each year and, although there’s no similar count of business moves, it’s something that will cross the mind of every aspirational entrepreneur.

According to Share K. Ward, an economic development consultant, businesses cite five main reasons for moving – labor and workforce issues, the desire to target new markets, the need to upgrade facilities or equipment, the desire to lower costs or increase cash flow, and considerations about quality of life.

But how do you actually go about taking your business abroad? And what are the essential things you can’t afford to forget about?

Business plan

Before kick-starting the process of moving your business abroad, you should have a comprehensive business plan that covers everything from moving costs to hiring requirements.

You should also include an executive summary that explains the overview of the business and your main aims of relocating. If any aspect of your plan isn’t calculated or assessed properly, the whole move could collapse due to a lack of foresight or funding.

Local rules and regulations

Do you know the rules and regulations that govern the country you are moving to? What are the tax laws and how do you report employee wages to federal, state and local agencies? Do your research and find out as much as you can before you go.

Failing to comply with local business rules and regulations could lead to serious fines or even prosecution. There may even be restrictions that prevent your company from setting up in certain countries.

Market research

Regardless of your reasons for relocating, you’ll need to know whether the business has the potential to succeed in a new country. This is why market research is so important.

Are there even people who want your product or service? And, if so, would they be willing to pay more than back home and thus increase your profit margin? These are the kind of questions you should be asking.

Language and culture

There’s a strong chance the language barrier will have a significant impact on the day-to-day running of your business. Using an interpreter could slow things down – but it might be essential in order to help avoid mistakes caused by miscommunication.

Another potential obstacle is culture. What might be a normal gesture in the Western World could cause offence in the Eastern Hemisphere. If you can’t visit your desired destination beforehand, source an expert to tell you everything you need to know – and be inquisitive. Ask taxi drivers, waiters, hotel staff and shop workers for their insight into the culture of their location.

Sales and marketing

Just because there’s a gap in the market for your product or service in another country doesn’t mean to say customers will part with their money straight away. Sales and marketing activities take a lot of time and effort, which should be accounted for.

Once again, it makes sense to employ an expert who understands how to translate the organization’s marketing message and secure sales in your chosen country. It will pay dividends in the long run.

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