I can’t tell you how many time we get calls from small or large businesses wanting to launch their products/services globally. Sometimes I play the devils advocate and ask direct questions they don’t like or haven’t thought of themselves. Sometimes I go as far as telling them, they are not ready to sell their services internationally. As a matter of fact I just turned down a large food chain out of Italy who wants to penetrate the California market. Why would anyone turn business away you ask? Simple, they are not ready. Their attitude, marketing, including on-page SEO is just not ready. Let me be clear, creating a website and online presence is not enough. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, cultural diversity, language and how you do business in Italy, is different from the way you would do business in Germany, Holland or even the United States.
For many companies, the goal of doing business internationally is a major point of interest. The development of communication with clients abroad often promises a wonderful opportunity to expand a company’s profile in the business world. When Steve Jobs built Apple Inc., for example, he thought of the benefits computers could bring to individuals everywhere and followed suit by framing his products as helping devices. Jobs’ actions can serve as great examples to businesses who want to do good by spreading the word on their services. And with interconnectivity of the global community of companies now a major part of doing business across the world, the time has never been better for a company to expand their view to new horizons. Here are just a few ways to make international business success a reality.
1. Learn Methods of Negotiation
One of the trickiest aspects of doing business abroad is learning how business is done in another country. This is especially true regarding negotiations with foreign clients, which can take on complicated steps as the difference in management styles comes to a head in meetings. By learning the lay of the land in your business dealings and when to go forward in a business deal, you’ll be in a better position to succeed, and your clients will appreciate your great manners and effort.
2. Find Out Where You Want to Go
Doing business abroad also means knowing where your service or product is most needed in the world. In a way, international business is something like a math equation in which you have the answer but need to make its parts complete each other: If you can find a country that needs an element of business from your country, and vice-versa, you’ll always have thankful clients and business in return. If your business involves producing English language textbooks, for example, knowing that Malaysia has a university system that is heavily influenced by British institutions like Oxford and Cambridge will help you know where you’ll be able to do the most good and find the most clients. Fortunes were made many times over in the days of air delivery when it was found that frozen tuna could be supplied via Japan to American restaurants starting to make sushi, for example. When two different forms of business can balance one another out, success is always just around the corner.
3. Know Your Strengths
A major factor of international business is the overcoming of the language barrier: If you’re dealing with a country whose firsthand language is not English, you’ll probably quickly find that learning a new language will be extraordinarily helpful as deals are struck. It is a highly respected quality among businesses to show your respect and consideration for clients by being able to communicate clearly with them, and you may just find that your good reputation in a country earns you business contacts many times over.
4. Build On Your Strengths
If languages aren’t your strong suit, try hiring on a manager with international experience in the regions you’d like to expand to, or a manager with such training. Many business schools such as the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona produce graduates trained in international business procedures each year, and new graduates are often enthusiastic to help build a new employer’s base in a foreign country. By making a business venture a win-win for a new graduate or a seasoned veteran, you may find yourself with an employee that foreign businesses love to deal with.
5. Constant Learning
Perhaps the most important quality for a business seeking to work at an international level to have is that of maintaining an element of curiosity and constant learning about countries where business is desired. If you can show a willingness to learn about the cultures you’ll be making deals with, you’ll soon find yourself in a business that earns respect and admiration wherever it goes. Think of yourself as an ambassador for your company: Just as good manners often make business leaders a pleasure to deal with, demonstrations of good will and respect will often lead to greater success and more meaningful business relationships as new partnerships are created.
If you or your company is looking to expand in the next few years, the forging of new bonds internationally just may be the road to success that you’re looking for. With the right plan and willingness to understand others, the possibilities for business expansion are endless. For many people, this is just the reason they went into the challenging field of business to begin with. Indeed, you just may find the most satisfying part of business is the chance to learn from and meet new people from a wide variety of different backgrounds and life experience. Many business leaders wouldn’t have it any other way.