Launching an enterprise is no easy thing and if you are considering starting one abroad, it can become even more complicated. Thankfully, nowadays the U.S. dollar has once again become strong so much so that it’s crushing some other currencies. Thus, a lot of entrepreneurs consider it’s the best time to capitalize on the current economic environment and travel overseas to start their company.
Still, before packing your bags and checking in at the airport you should probably read this. To the surprise of many people that decided to dive head first, they found that launching a company abroad is quite a difficult and challenging if not a daunting task to say the least.
Before deciding to leave the U.S. to go abroad and start a company, you should probably consider some of the following tips for starting a company overseas.
1. First and foremost, it is mandatory that you localize not only your ideas, but also have a clear vision of what the company is going to be like and set some expectations that are as close to the truth as possible. Being able to understand and actually be a part of any culture other than your own is something that every entrepreneur should be able to accomplish. In order to do this you could start searching for a potential investor or even a mentor who should provide useful insight into the culture and the consumer market. This person should help you find the right partners, contacts and even put you in contact when dealing with government authorities.
As we touched upon in our article related to doing business with Chinese business people, conducting business with the Chinese government is nothing short of a Kafkaesque nightmare. While the levels of bureaucracy entrepreneurs will encounter when trying to launch a business overseas are diminishing, the risk they take is considered by many as being too high so as to actually take the leap.
Multiculturalism is a key element that must be part of the business environment, so you need to make sure that you are able to manage working with businessmen and governmental organizations from other countries. Therefore, you should take into consideration some cross-cultural business advice that will facilitate your work. Before actually jumping to business, make sure you do your research.
And the best, least expensive and easiest way to find a mentor or a business partner abroad is done by browsing through LinkedIn and asking your colleagues to connect you with their acquaintances in other countries, if that is possible. Also, another great way of finding a mentor or a partner is by taking part in Meetup groups that aim to reach out to local business networks that specialize in expats that live in the country you want to launch a business.
2. Secondly, go ahead and learn the language of the country in which you plan on starting a business. While this seems like a no-brainer, often times the time it takes to learn a language can be extremely difficult. In some respect, learning a new language is something like starting a new company. In my opinion, poor language skills are better than no skills at all. For example, you could be taking classes to learn that new language or even try learning it through countless apps or you could ask someone at work who speaks that language fluently and work with them in private so that you elevate your language skills.
3. The best way to blend in and understand the culture and your potential clients is by living like and with the locals. Make a point out of meeting your clients or take part in cultural experiences as often as possible. You need to remember that the market, client base and their preferences, their behavior and their needs are unknown to you. Thus, you need to take in as much as humanly possible.
4. Do your research on your current and past competitors. Before you actually make the plunge and tap into an unfamiliar market, you need to do some extensive market research. Still, why stop at only looking at current companies that are currently part of the market. Go ahead and search for companies that have tried to enter the market and failed. See why that occurred and try not to make the same mistakes they’ve made. This is one of the safest and best ways to learn aspects that may prove crucial to the success of your enterprise on the market.
5. Create a new network of contacts. Now that you’re moving abroad, the existing network you have in the U.S. becomes less and less useful to you. Thus, building a new one is in order. Bear in mind that expats in a small community are fewer and far between. This means that it is easier for you to connect with new people all the time.
When you are overseas and you are giving it your all to create a new business, you should do everything within your powers to make it happen. For example, you could ask your team to politely email other entrepreneurs and key players in the area. Although you may think that they might not be interested, they could as well surprise you, thus resulting in important meetings and establishing new and important network connections. The latter category could potentially go out of their way to assist you in getting your enterprise off the ground and going. And if that weren’t enough, some of them are willing to help you build solid and long-lasting relationships that may prove extremely important in the future.
If you are a person driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, starting a business abroad is for you. While taking the leap is a sensation unlike any other, you shouldn’t go in blindly. Moreover, show a great deal of patience, persistence and embrace the experience. Sooner rather than later, it will pay off. Taking the leap will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience.