Managing An Overseas Business
Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor, a marketing firm, and author of BrandSimple advises business owners to think globally early into their businesses. According to him, the sooner one begins to do business abroad, the earlier the business will be able to track its metrics and decide what practices work or not.
Of importance to business owners, is how to manage their business overseas to ensure they are as successful as they have been in their mother country. To achieve this, entrepreneurs must apply certain practices.
Study The Market
A business’s success is pegged on the target market, making it necessary for businesses to critically study markets they would want to venture into. Adamson proceeds to say that insight on current market players, including what both winners and losers offer is of essence to an entrepreneur. Additionally, in-depth knowledge of the country’s demographics will help strategize on how to best promote the brand. To get such information, start by visiting the Department of Commerce website, which has various countries’ press releases and fact sheets.
Check In Often
To maintain successful global presence and keep tabs with employees, an entrepreneur should establish constant communication with his company. While emails and phone calls are good options, they are all considerably impersonal, consequently generating poor results as compared to personal communication methods like online video conferencing. This is according to Eric Markowitz, a senior writer at International Business Times.
The significance of constant communication is reiterated by Jonathan Copulsky, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Chicago. He says that there is still no substitute to face-to-face contact when managing an overseas team.
Learn The Local Customs
Great brands have great rapports with their respective local community. In his book, Business Ethics: Critical Perspectives on Businesses and Management , Alan Malachowski talks about the importance of understanding the local culture and its value systems. For example, the meaning of business honesty varies from culture to culture. In the U.S. the notion of ‘caveat emptor’ (buyer beware) is considered wrong while it is considered good and honest business in other cultures.
Learning the dress code, salutation and proper hospitality practices will also greatly boost your chances of landing business deals with local partners. Mercedes Alfaro, founder and president of First Impression Management, a reputation management company, advises entrepreneurs to be ready to eat whatever is served during such meetings.
Understand The Local Laws
Obviously, your business will be subjected to new and unfamiliar laws overseas. It is imperative to invest in a savvy business lawyer with significant legal exposure. Brad Peterson, a business lawyer at Mayer Brown, for instance, advises entrepreneurs seeking to establish their businesses in the United States to get solid contracts that they can enforce in the country. He also adds that people doing business in non-English speaking countries should ensure that they can communicate effectively in the local language or find reliable translators.
Despite the current global geographical connectivity and business globalization, entrepreneurs still need to learn how to manage their business in different locations. It is prudent to ensure that before venturing into any new market, ample research should be done in all areas that will possibly affect business performance and productivity.