If you do business across the borders of your home country, you’re an international business. This means different things for different businesses, though.
You may manufacture your products within your home country and sell them abroad. Or you may get your goods manufactured in another country but sell them in your home country.
Or you may not sell any goods, but rather services.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, you can consider yourself an international business. And perhaps you’ve discovered that this comes along with its own set of challenges?
You may find some easier than others to include in your international operations. One report found that many Latin American countries like Brazil are among the hardest to break into because of the bureaucracy involved. Meanwhile, Denmark, Hong Kong and Ireland are among the simplest!
What are the challenges?
The most obvious one, of course, is that there may be a language barrier. If this is in issue, you may find it hard to provide customer support across borders, not to mention hiring employees. When dealing with contracts, you may find that the other country’s laws dictate that these must be in a local language.
It’s even more common to find a culture barrier, as these can vary widely even between countries where English is the majority language. An understanding of these differences is vital if you are to succeed internationally.
Then there’s the financial side of things. Navigating the tax laws and financial systems of multiple countries can be tricky.
Strategies to overcome these challenges
There are things you can do to make it easier to face the unique financial issues affecting international business. For example, why not appoint a reliable Head of Finance for each country you operate in? This person can regularly check exchange rate fluctuations for you, among other things.
If you have international offices, each one should have an annual business financial audit. You may prefer to have separate companies carry out these audits, and that’s alright.
When dealing with a language barrier, it can help a lot to hire talent from the countries you are dealing with. You can greatly improve your credibility as a business if people from your countries of operation can read it in their language. This means it’s important you hire top-quality content writers to produce multi-lingual web content.
You’ll probably rank higher on Google if you use the languages your international audience is using. Rankings can benefit even more if you clearly signal this to Google, creating different URLs for each language version.
Fostering a diverse work culture can help ensure that wires don’t get crossed when doing international business, too. Always choose open-minded individuals with sound cultural knowledge to liaise with international offices and clients.
The key is hiring the right financial and legal experts, plenty of local talent and a universally open-minded work culture. With everything in place, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a rewarding experience!