So you have decided to go ahead and do business internationally. Congrats! You are about to discover a whole new world. But…before you begin your travels, it is important to prepare for the transition.
When you are used to getting orders only from within the country you are in, expanding your customer base internationally can seem overwhelming. How are you going to convince people to buy from you, a company based in Italy, when they can go to an Indian takeout restaurant down the road?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Let’s explore.
The Importance Of The Online Marketplace
The first thing you should do is research the various global online marketplaces that can serve your product. While you are there, create a seller account and start posting your goods. Remember to research the various currencies and pricing structures for each marketplace before you begin selling. You likely won’t be able to get every product you want to sell at the same price tag. So, do your best to negotiate with the vendors on price before you commit to buying large quantities. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in a situation where you can’t make a profit after you’ve invested all your time and effort into getting the product sold.
Find Your Niche
You have decided to go abroad to better your business and make it more efficient. But, before you leave, it is important to find your niche. What exactly do you offer that is special? Your product might be unique in some way, like handmade or bespoke goods, foodstuffs that are only available in limited quantities, or luxury items. Look for products that have niche appeal. Maybe you make the best dog food in the world, but if nobody is buying dog food from an Italian company in Indonesia, then there is no point in you setting up shop there. You will not be able to sell your product, and you will simply be taking up space that could be used for someone else. Find your niche, and you will be able to capitalize on the demand for your product.
Depending on the country you are entering, you may need to form partnerships with local businesses and organizations to get the sales you want. You can start by reaching out to the Italian consulate or embassy in the country you are entering for suggestions. They may be able to provide you with contacts who can help you with establishing partnerships in your new location. But, ultimately, you will have to do this yourself.
In some countries, like China, you will need to set up an office in the city you are entering to do business. You don’t want to waste your time setting up shop in a place where nobody wants to buy from you. So, it is important to do some research before you choose a location. There are plenty of foreign-owned businesses that have chosen to base themselves in China because the country offers many benefits to corporate businesses. But, if you are looking to do business there, make sure you are prepared to deal with the Chinese language and customs (if they are different than what you are used to). In some cases, you might need to bring your own translators with you if you don’t speak Chinese.
Make Sure You Have The Legal And Financial Requirements
If you decide to go abroad to do business, you will need to make sure that you meet the legal and financial requirements for doing so. You will have to register your business in the appropriate country, pay taxes (if you are subject to them), and maintain a legal entity that can be accessed in case you are sued for defamation, fraud, or any other legal actions. Your legal representative abroad MUST be able to provide you with legal assistance in case you are questioned by the police or any other authority figure about information related to your business. Meet with an experienced, local immigration lawyer to review your options before you set foot in your new location.
Start Learning The Language
Learning a new language is always difficult, and it is never easy to learn a language solely for the purpose of doing business. But you should not be afraid to try. Being able to speak the language of the country you are in will simply make your life a lot easier. Remember: not everybody will be able to speak English, so you will have to find people who can help you communicate. Luckily for you, there are numerous Italian-speaking people living in Rome. You can ask the locals to help you out and even attend Italian classes or sign up for an Italian course through a foreign university. With the right guidance, you will be able to navigate your way around and start operating your business in no time.
Get A Home Office
A home office is a must for any business, regardless of whether or not you decide to do business internationally. The purpose of your home office is to help you manage your business operations while you are traveling. In some instances, it can also serve as a makeshift library or a dining room. Regardless of the function, it will help you keep track of your daily activities and responsibilities. You can also use the space to work on your product or publish your findings regarding the country you are in. If you are self-employed, you can also use the space to work on your portfolio.
Since this is supposed to be a travel blog, let’s not forget about the entertainment value. Depending on your budget, you can buy a travel guide or two for the countries you will be visiting. These can be very helpful and even make the journey more fun. Alternatively, you can rent a video or music player to keep yourself entertained. Remember: you are traveling to a different country, with different customs and more than likely, different standards of entertainment. Engage in some exploration and have some fun. Who knows – you might even make a new friend along the way!
For those of you who are thinking of doing business abroad, hopefully, this article will provide you with some helpful tips on how to prepare for the transition. Remember: it is never easy to leave your comfort zone, but the rewards can be invaluable.