You’re Not In Kansas Anymore: Here’s What You Need to Know if You’re Doing Business Abroad

“The word ‘crisis’ comes from Greek, and means a change of direction, or a new opportunity. That’s the semantic meaning.”

We love this little nugget from the Catalonian architect Xavier Rodriguez. If you’re daydreaming about taking your business abroad – this guy’s already miles ahead of you.

And he’s a pretty amazing example to follow.

But taking your business overseas is going to be about more than just satisfying that nagging wanderlust itching in your skull.

You’re going to want to know the lay of the land. The new rules of the game. All the local secrets – how do you find the best talent? And what kind of potential SNAFUs are you going to have to watch out for?

So here are some tips to check out – before you pack your wheelie and book a one-way flight out!

Swot up on the local culture

So you spent two weeks there when you were on your gap-year? Wow. Amazing. Big deal.

If your only experience of your overseas destination is some rosy-tinted memory of a holiday you once had there – or worse – some romantic travel documentary montage from TV – then you really need to step back and do some homework.

From local languages, to customs and business culture – every country has its own unique spin on things.

Did you know that casually turning down a glass of water in Asia or the Middle East – or stuffing someone’s business card in your pocket in China or Japan – could be business suicide? Check out this useful list on Forbes for more weird little gems.

Check out the currency

As every good Hustler knows – the name of the game is money. And when you’re heading out in the wider world – you’re going to have to factor in a whole extra dimension into your plans: currency.

Two things you need to consider.

One: what currency should you deal with? Don’t assume that local currency is the

default business option. When you’re buying and selling commodities – a lot of countries prefer dealing with good old Benjamins – that’s US dollars for you. In other cases, going local might be the better option. You’ll need to do your research on what local businesses prefer – before you jump to any conclusions.

Second thing to consider: currency values are constantly changing. Prices vary every single day – so you’re going to need to get smart to protect your bottom line. Read up on these useful tips on protecting your money, from the CEO of the tech growth company, TopLine.

Who to hire

Finding the right development talent is the same challenge wherever you are in the world. But getting your new team together is essential to any successful game plan if you’re looking at cracking the overseas market.

Here are some great pointers on nailing that difficult overseas hiring process. Our favourite tip? Make sure potential candidates meet your existing core values and culture.

So if you’re all about the hustle, energy and innovation – you’re going to want a local team that can meet you on this.

It’s also worth keeping it simple while you get to know your new development team – this’ll give you the time and space to troubleshoot and stabilise, before you start to push things further.

So are you ready to hit the big bad world with your business flair? Already got plans to head overseas – or are you tempted to take the plunge? We want to know what you think!

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