Although it is the American dream to be your own boss and have your own business, sometimes part of that dream requires you to accomplish it in another country. Maybe you want to run a scuba business in Bermuda, or do hiking tours in the Swiss Alps, or maybe you recognize that it just may be cheaper to start a business in another country. Whatever the reason, starting a business abroad is an exciting adventure that you need to think through before you decide to jump into.
Do your due diligence
Whether domestically or abroad there are specific steps you need to take before creating your own company. As passionate as you may be, and as ready as you may feel you are, the first step in being successful in business is to be responsible and do your due diligence. Ehow shares basic instructions when starting a business overseas.
1. Study your target market. Not every country likes to buy in bulk or has the same purchasing patterns as US consumers.
2. Network with legitimate local/foreign business leaders.
3. Evaluate your competition and don’t be afraid to talk to or survey the locals.
4. Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
5. Be aware of local routines when establishing your own. For example, some countries shut shops down in the afternoon for longer lunches and siestas.
Resources and Help
Just because you are starting a business in another country, doesn’t mean there aren’t resources here at home that can help you. The US Small Business Administration offers resources and help for individuals doing business in other countries. Some of the things they can help with:
-International travel resources and advisories.
-International Business FAQs like:
-Finding the offices of Consular Affairs or Verification and Authentication.
-Dealing with the Foreign Commercial Service.
-Maintaining proper visa status.
-Guidelines for foreign business travel.
Utilizing these government resources can help you with networking, and knowing the rules and regulations while you’re getting to know the area abroad.
Taking the First Steps
Ex-pat Amanda Knauer talks about how a temporary visit turned into a desire to live and run a business in Buenos Aires. As she thought about what she was passionate about and worked to get her business started, she realized that even though she was fluent in Spanish, she still needed to “. . . learn the local language inflections as well as a new set of local laws”. The reminder here is that no matter how much you think you know you have to remember you’re a foreigner and you still have things to learn about. For instance, managing your finances when abroad and learning about local banking and crediting policies will be crucial to your business. This is where networking and doing some research will be important before you begin so you don’t run out of money, or run into trouble with the law or local logistics.
Funding Your Business
Because foreign banks and credit policies will differ from the US, finding various avenues for funding your business will be a smart, proactive move to protect your cash flow through the ups and downs of a start-up. With so many US creditors offering low or even 0% introductory rates, going online and comparing credit cards that you can use for financing help can be a simple solution. Think through your financial goals and limitations and consider if this can be helpful for you. According to Business News Daily, a few advantages of using credit cards for your start-up are:
1. The ability to retain maximum equity.
2. 0% offers.
3. Lack of collateral.
Starting your own business in another country can be a dream come true. Just make sure to be prepared and educated for the adventure.
Photo Courtesy of Christine Rondeau
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