Overseas business opportunities are easier to grasp nowadays, but how to set up a business abroad is still complicated business.  So complicated in fact, that the few businesses that do make it abroad take an average of 10 years to reach just 1 percent return on investment.  

Figuring out how to set up a business abroad can be tricky, but when done right your business expansion in a foreign country can reap you not just business benefits and opportunities overseas, but also provide you with insights to strengthen your business’s position domestically.

Want to find out how to set up a business abroad and seize the first-mover advantage? Not sure what to consider when expanding a business internationally? Read on to find out how.

5 tips for How to set up a business abroad

Tip 1: Research local business practices before committing

Figuring out how to set up a business abroad starts with understanding how the locals do business

Understanding how to set up a business abroad always starts by getting a clearer picture of on-the-ground realities, and one important aspect is local business practices. Many companies fail to expand overseas because they fail to find synergy between their business models and how business is done locally.

Navigating the full gamut of local business practices can be overwhelming, but you can start by asking yourself the following:

·         what laws govern the conduct of business and commerce in the country you plan to expand to?

·         What banking regulations are in place?

·         What sort of tax regime is there?

·         How much do you need to incorporate your business there?

·         How long does it take to incorporate your business there?

·         What are the labor policies in place?

·         How are deals negotiated there?

·         What sort of funding can you potentially expect to tap on?

Tip 2: While you’re at it, investigate a country’s cultural differences too

Culture affects how you should go about setting up a business abroad

If a country’s tax regime, banking policies and business regulations are the “hard” aspects of laying the groundwork for expanding your business internationally, understanding what makes people tick in your target country would be the “soft” aspect.

If anything, the “soft” aspect of cultural differences actually matters more.

So many companies have ventured overseas with the mistaken assumption that their strong domestic brand reputation was enough to keep them afloat. Starbucks couldn’t carve out market share for itself in Australia; Amazon’s prowess amounted to little in China , and fast food franchises like Burger King and McDonald’s have barely made any inroads in Vietnam.  

And it’s not just about finding out if people will be receptive to your product. It’s also about understanding social and cultural nuances in certain settings, business or otherwise. Opening your presents right away at a Christmas party in The States might be fine, but the same behaviour will invite frowns of disdain in East Asia; using your left hand to eat or shake hands might be acceptable back home, but it might give just cause to your Indian host to shoo you from their home.

Tip 3: Find a local partner and build a support network

A trustworthy partner is critical in making sure your overseas business plans work out

When considering how to start a business abroad, partnering with the wrong people can make your overseas expansion a financial nightmare.  Yet trying to wing it solo won’t get you very far either, as some overseas business owners can attest.  

When navigating the murky waters of doing business overseas, having a trustworthy local partner can be a godsend especially if language is an issue. While you focus on growing the business, your partner can help work out key details that you may have trouble with, like settling local contracts, filing finances under local guidelines and the like.

More than just seeking out a partner, you can better grasp overseas business opportunities by seeking out fellow compatriots working in the same country, or just mingling with like-minded locals to get a taste of how things actually are on the ground.

Tip 4: Create an international banking relationship

While figuring out how to start a business abroad, consider how transactions will be made too

Starting or expanding your business overseas can be a financially risky venture, and the last thing you want is having to deal with currency differences. This is particularly significant if your business deals with exporting or importing goods from or to various countries.

Currency volatility may eat away at your profits, and relying on your bank to transfer money to and fro will land you with potentially hefty service fees. Instead, use international payment providers like Paypal and Payoneer.

Not only are these services typically cheaper to use, you won’t have to wait as long for your transactions to be processed.

Tip 5: Get a local phone number

Getting a local phone number is a great first step to starting a business abroad

If working out how to start a business abroad seems overwhelming, start with the little things first. Getting a local phone number is a great way to get started.

It’s a simple move that can reap a lot of benefits:

·         Local numbers help boost your business’s presence when it gets included in local business listings and phone number catalogues.

·         Local numbers foster a sense of sharedness with your potential customers. Customers may perceive companies with local phone numbers as more accountable and personal than companies that run only toll-free numbers.

·         A local phone number can help separate calls of different natures, and can enable your customer service  / telesales personnel to be better prepared when the calls do come in.

·         A local phone number with an area code that customers also share may convey the impression that your business is somewhat familiar with the locale, and not an outsider in the community.

How to start a business abroad with a fake phone number

Getting a local phone number comes with a long list of benefits, and getting one is quick and easy with Phoner.

Phoner gives your business access to an unlimited range of phone numbers across many countries. You get to customize your number according to area code, and you can use multiple numbers without having to get a new phone or new SIM card.

That was our quick look at how to set up a business abroad. Get Phoner today and start or expand your business internationally now!