Coming Up In The World: Starting A Business Abroad
Moving overseas to start or expand a business is a big decision. You may have already had plans to go abroad, or you may have found a lucrative hole in the market. Either way, it pays to do your homework before getting involved in a foreign business venture. Laws, customs and marketing methods may all be different to that of your home country. Here are some of the biggest things to consider
Learning the lingo
Even if you’re starting a bar in the most English-speaking part of Benidorm, having some grasp of the foreign language may be important for dealing with legalities, finances, suppliers and other important aspects of that country. For those that already speak the official language, you may still need to brush up on various slang and customs specific to the area. This will allow you to more easily fit in. Poor knowledge of the language is better than none so try taking a few lessons or self-teaching yourself before you make the move.
Know how the currency works
Understanding the currency and the average cost of things is important. On top of this, you will need to understand how that country’s financial system works. The amount you pay in taxes and how you pay them will vary from country to country. If you’re expanding, you may have various bank accounts in different countries, in which case you should ensure that you’re paying the right amount of tax for each source of income otherwise you may find yourself under accusation of HRMC tax fraud.
Various insurance schemes may also differ all over the world. These may be essential if you’re hiring workers. Make sure that you know all the compulsory payments so that you don’t find your breaking foreign laws.
Localise your idea
Getting to know the culture is important. There may be certain holidays you have to respect and certain customs you need to embrace. Keeping to the country’s code will encourage the locals to get involved with your business. Connecting with foreign business owners on LinkedIn and joining Meetup groups could help you to learn some of the customs and get an idea of how business operates in that country.
You may be expanding your business abroad, in which case you may stick with suppliers in your home country. However, many other people in your original network such as handymen, accountants and marketing companies will no longer be of use when moving abroad, meaning that you’ll have to find new ones.
Getting involved in local community groups and getting help from other local businesses will help you to outsource reliable new people for these jobs. All the tricks that you may used back home (business cards, attending business fairs, leafleting etc.) may be equally useful abroad. Networking will certainly be a lot tougher abroad – especially if you don’t know the language as well – but it will be essential in order for you to operate a successful business. Start doing this before you make the move and you won’t feel as if you’re diving blindly into it when you arrive.
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