6 Ways to Set Up a Business Abroad

Whether you have a business model that’s a proven success or you want to start a business in your favorite foreign country, problems are numerous. Figuring out how to start a business from a legal standpoint is often the hardest portion of the business venture. However, by following a few simple tips, you’ll be ready to take your business from an idea to a successful money-making adventure.

Write a Business Plan

Business planning
photo credit: Photosteve101 / Flickr

Even if you already have a business plan, you need to tweak it based on your country of interest. All countries have different incorporation laws, and if you don’t do your research, you’ll end up losing either money or your entire business. Analyze the competition. Find what the local people crave. Once you do this, you’ll find the ins and outs of a successful business plan.

Secured Financing

Any business is susceptible to a lack of financing upon its initial start. Therefore, it’s important to begin your business with funding from a third-party source, whether it’s a loan or earned capital. You also need to know what to do in case of an emergency. International money transfers are important for the worst situations, whether it’s a natural disaster or just a lack of business. If you don’t have the capital to sustain the business, failure is imminent. Rather than go the way of the dodo, make sure you have the proper outlets to keep your business afloat.

Legal Issues

First and foremost, you need to know what the requirements are to start a business or have legal immigrant status in a country. Some countries have much more strict guidelines than others. Many countries looking for foreign investors give resident status to people that contribute a certain dollar amount to the country. On the high-end, Westernized countries such as New Zealand give you residency by a substantial contribution of NZ$1.5 million over four years. However, other third world countries require much less of an investment. Make sure you pick the country that makes you money and provides a symbiotic relationship.

A business couple starting up a business abroad


This aspect is short, but sweet. If you don’t speak the native language, consider learning it immediately. Although many people abroad speak English, not all do. There are many community colleges and universities that let you take courses without enrolling for a degree. Take full advantage whenever possible. If you deem yourself incapable of learning it, meet liaisons in the country that you fully trust. They make or break the business ideas. Make friends and network as much as possible. Frequent visits to your country of interest are well worth the expenditure. Plus, you may be able to write them off as a business trip.

Political Unrest

One of the most important aspects is making certain that the country is politically stable. Too many times, investors lost millions when the country underwent a coup, as the new government “reappropriated” the funds, essentially taking any money that foreign and domestic persons had in a particular financial institution. Watch the news and check the Department of State to ensure that your country has adequate political stability.


Remember that no matter where you are, the United States government wants to tap into your earnings. As a United States citizen, you are from the only country in the world where your politicians tax you on every dime. However, it doesn’t end there. Foreign countries, in order to lessen inflation and maintain a status of equality for their own citizens, level various taxes and tariffs. Study the tax laws before you begin, or have a foreign or domestic tax professional consult you on tax law. Tax laws aren’t solely based on revenue. There are also other taxes such as import/export, sales tax, and general standard tax. You’ll end up at the wrong end of the deal if you don’t do your research.

No matter where you choose to do your business, research goes a long way. Great business people always do their finest in this aspect. Once you have the idea, your own goals are attainable, just as domestic projects. Your love of another country either hinders you or increases your profitability. You’ll be the judge.