Doing business across borders was once the preserve of large multinationals with thousands of staff.
But thanks to the ubiquity of web access and the wonders of modern tech, small entrepreneurs can now set their sights on international markets.
So if you’ve developed a product or service that slots neatly into an overseas niche you could be set for success.
With that in mind, here are four helpful hacks for doing business abroad.
Research your market
Before launching headfirst into a new market it’s important to check that there’s a decent demand for your offering.
And sometimes tweaking an existing business allows it to meet customer pain points perfectly.
Michael Birdsall did just that by refocusing his existing home tuition business to provide online one-to-one English language tuition for Chinese students.
His twosigmas startup now matches 50,000 UK, US and Australian tutors with Chinese learners and has lodged a firm foothold in a very lucrative sector.
So finding the right fit for your services or targeting a slightly different customer base brings huge benefits when doing business abroad.
Learn about culture
Whether you’re communicating with international clients on the phone, via video conference or in person, it’s essential to be well versed in the appropriate cultural conventions.
Body language or conversation that’s charming or innocuous at home doesn’t always travel well.
And there are other nuances to consider — for example, Indian business etiquette might necessitate a ‘namaste’ greeting rather than a handshake and your hosts may not say ‘no’ even though they mean it.
Although many international clients may speak English, taking the time to learn a few common phrases of the local language conveys a sense of respect and might earn trust, too.
Cultural appreciation goes hand in hand with success around the globe.
It’s best to seek professional advice on the tax arrangements available in your operational territory.
If you’re exporting key members of staff abroad then establish whether a treaty exists that prevents them paying tax to two revenue services — double-taxation isn’t an attractive proposition.
And you can find out about the benefits of offshoring your business to increase profitability through online services like offshore consultants — you might be able to secure more attractive tax arrangements with a virtual office in a territory like Gibraltar.
Ensuring your corporate and employee tax provisions are accounted for is essential when operating internationally.
There’s a good likelihood that your own government provides a wealth of information on international business networking, so make the most of their free support.
The UK Department for International Trade constantly updates online information on events and opportunities in diverse business sectors across many lucrative territories.
Tapping into the collective intelligence of your government will stand you in good stead for sustained success.
These four helpful hacks for doing business abroad might make you the next international business magnate.
Do you run an international business? Share your advice in the comments section.