Sometimes a proprietor, a group of partners, or a corporation has so much success in its own country that it seems profitable to them to tackle the international business community. And there are excellent reasons to do so: At the present time, at least 96 percent of the world’s consumers live in countries other than the United States, and likewise, two thirds of its "buying power" lies out there. But the task can seem so overwhelming— and it certainly requires extensive knowledge of culture, economics, and politics, among other things. There are of course certain aspects of international business that you need to consider and learn.
The very first thing to be taken care of is governments’ economic policies. Your government website can offer information on trade leads and the international market. You will find information regarding market research, trade events, trade problems, international finance and logistics, licensing practices, etc. The more you know in the beginning the better off you will be.
You may also find information on training and counseling to teach you how to create an export business plan, conduct market research, how to find buyers, and investigating the financing of small business exports, foreign investment, or projects. There are webinars and online video conferences devoted to assembling facts and setting goals for one’s business.
It is also important to find out everything one can about the tax policies of the other country. How high are they? Are there corporate taxes? What goods are subject to tariffs? (If you are in a common market country, then you will not have to ask this question.)
Breaking the Language Barrier:
The fact that other countries have official languages other than English is a common barrier to business. It is true that in almost all of the world’s wealthy countries— which, after all, is where one will usually want to set up shop— most of the people can be expected to know English, and the language is used in business throughout the world; but not everyone in every country can speak it equally well. Among most Japanese, for instance, English is poorly understood. In consequence, you would do well to study German, Japanese, and other languages imperative to communicating with your target consumer base. There are many language guides available devoted specifically to business. For example, the Japanese Export Trade Organization regularly administers a Business Japanese Proficiency Test, which is held both inside and outside Japan. In the United States, there is a test center at the Japan- America Institute of Management Science in Honolulu; a fee must be paid for entrance.
Finding a Partner:
Unless you are planning on traveling often or sending one of your valued employees overseas, you may want to find a local business contact in the country you are expanding to. Take your time and answer the questions; How do you know you can trust this person? How much does this person really know about his proposed area of expertise? Be sure to check the person’s references.
It is of tremendous value to take into account cultural differences between one’s own nation and the nation into which one wishes to expand business. People in different cultures have different value systems and also different modes of behavior. The Argentines, for instance, are very much given to "small talk," while the Germans, on the other hand, pay a great deal of attention to reliability. Learn about local foods, mannerisms, religions, and holidays. You may be a guest in their country but you are a representative of yours.
With a lot of research, hard work, and planning you can make your international transition a smooth and profitable one. Keep in mind your customer base in foreign territory are not like you. Cater to their market and needs and be sure to understand their trading laws and procedures and you can avoid a lot of time consuming red tape and delays. As with any growth you have to learn to crawl before you can walk, and don’t just jump up and run.
About the guest author: A UK resident, Tony Laughton is a personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Tony suggests checking online for your bodybuilding supplements, where you will find more detailed information and savings on items such as PhD diet whey.
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