Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Sail the Seven Seas and Take Your Business Abroad

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Summary

Read our article, 'Sail the Seven Seas and Take Your Business Abroad' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
By Matthew Toren If your business is growing and your customers are happy with the products or services you provide, you may want to consider expanding to an international market. It sounds intimidating, but every entrepreneur loves a challenge, and who doesn’t want to have to take an occasional business trip to Europe or South America? Of course, taking your business abroad requires careful study, planning, and effective implementation.

Do Your Research

You must familiarize yourself with the demographics of your new marketplace. This can be a tricky process. While you may have your finger on the pulse of American culture, it can be harder to find and forecast trends in an environment in which you’re not familiar. If you’re selling products, consider the export and customs costs involved, as well as making sales in different currencies. Make sure you understand the legal implications of doing business in a foreign country and seek help to facilitate communication in a foreign language.

Get Help

Get help early and often. During your initial research, you’ll ideally want to spend some time in the country yourself. Hire a guide and pay attention. Do your best to absorb some of the local language and customs, and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. If you get a good guide, stick with him or her and maintain the relationship for future trips. He or she may be an extremely valuable resource and can help you understand your surroundings much better than you could do on your own. Your guide may also help you find a great sales rep. That being said…

Find a Great Sales Rep

This may be the most difficult but is also undoubtedly the most important step. Hiring employees is never easy, but finding the right sales rep can make a world of difference when competing in a global market. Ideally, you want somebody fluent in both languages, and who has grown up in the country in which you’re planning to launch. It’s crucial that your sales rep understands the local culture and customs. Your sales rep is going to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Having a broad knowledge of your product or service will come with time. If you find a sales rep that is extremely dedicated and understands your vision, reward him well and consider shifting him to more of a partnership role.

Enjoy Yourself

Don’t forget to take some time and enjoy yourself in a foreign land. Many people never get the opportunity to travel to a foreign country, let alone start a business in one. Go sightseeing, try some exotic foods, and learn a foreign language. As an overseas entrepreneur, you are an ambassador to your country, so make sure to return gestures of hospitality. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for deals. When you start to regularly travel back and forth between countries, you can really rack up the frequent flyer miles. If you want to give someone the greatest gift they will ever receive, buy them a plane ticket for their birthday. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.