THE FORM CODE

Developing Your Business Overseas

Airbus A380-841 Lufthansa D-AIMC First Landing in Barcelona AirportDuring my business career I had the good fortune to travel and do business overseas.

In fact in my early years I spent time in Asia, mainly Japan and Singapore.  Later I looked after parts of Europe, Israel and South Africa and travelled to and from different locations for meetings with suppliers, customers and distributors.

I was inspired by parts of my family that were already doing business with overseas markets and had travelled and wanted to do the same, so I grabbed every opportunity.

You Learn A Lot From Doing Busines Overseas

Its an amazing eye opener to see the world and do business with all sorts of people and I found the hospitality and cooperation to be mainly very good, except when their was political conflict or personal agendas.

Despite what the guide books tell you, when it comes to business on an international scale, most regions are used to westernised ways and are very relaxed with it.  In fact still today one of my businesses gets involved in importing and exporting, sourcing products from across Asia and Europe and the protocol of business is very similar no matter where I go.

However if you travel away from the cities, deeper into the country and its surrounding areas, things become more culturally independent.

Where no obvious market awareness exists for your product or service in a new region or territory and you don’t have the resources to establish an office or sales team it make sense to appoint a reseller or distributor that knows the region, local business market, its customer base and may well have an established business that you can leverage instantly.

Resellers Can Help Expand A Business Overseas Without Excessive Setup Costs

This is great as there are no permanent overheads for staff or infrastructure, just commissions and travel expenses if and when you need to travel to that region.

However, due to the distance and language barrier (most regions and people in business speak pretty good english) you must have a good communications link as it will be essential to developing the relationship, getting deals done, training and support.

This could come in the form of telephone or video conferencing, email, mobile etc.

Ways of getting into a new geographical market from scratch to find potential resellers or distributors include contacting the local british embassy or the export division of the dti.

If you can, start with those countries you speak the same language, getting started is a lot easier, so for the UK the first obvious move is the US and Australia, unless of course you have language skills that allow you to enter other regions confidently, or you get help with that.

Once you’re in a region its possible to get assistance from a translator to do some local marketing and advertising in trade journals or even use the search engines to run an advertising campaign for associated keywords.

Its shouldnt be all business overseas so make sure you see a little of the region, try the food and soak up the atmosphere. Laughing and drinking is a very international trait indeed, although there are exceptions of course.

Image attribution: flickr.com/photos/14035760@N03/5045083188/

4 Responses to Developing Your Business Overseas

  1. Learn about the culture and the people and make an effort with the language, it will work wonders for building relationships.

  2. Hi Matthew, thanks for commenting. I agree, its amazing to see how people react even when you only have a basic grasp of the language, just a few words show you’ve taken an interest and are not afraid to give it a try, but you shouldn’t let the lack of being able to speak a local language or dialect stop you from going into a new territory as not everybody can or has learnt that language and English is fortunately the international business language and suppliers / partners are out to please you as much as you they, so never let it be a barrier as we all have much to study and learn in today’s complex world.

  3. Hi Matthew, thanks for commenting. I agree, its amazing to see how people react even when you only have a basic grasp of the language, just a few words show you’ve taken an interest and are not afraid to give it a try, but you shouldn’t let the lack of being able to speak a local language or dialect stop you from going into a new territory as not everybody can or has learnt that language and English is fortunately the international business language and suppliers / partners are out to please you as much as you they, so never let it be a barrier as we all have much to study and learn in today’s complex world.

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