To a growing number of entrepreneurs, the chance to build a business abroad may be the chance of a lifetime. Leaving one’s nest to go global constitutes learning in a new business setting—and, in addition, engaging a beautiful new culture and way of life. An opportunity like this may appeal to startup owners in particular, as it aligns with a go-getter approach to future expansion.
Contrary to what some believe, jump-starting a business in a foreign land may also be a practical decision as well as a daring one. Tapping the international market may prolong the sales life of certain products and services, counter the effect of over-saturation in the home market, and position a new business for a level of growth it wouldn’t have achieved if it had stayed local. But of course, no chance like this comes easy, and some prep work needs to be done in order to make the local-to-global transition a smooth one.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to uproot and set up your own business abroad, what are some things to know beforehand? Here’s a short list of tips that can act as a blueprint for your preparations.
All the necessary paperwork should be in order. Once you’ve made the decision to leave, iron out all your personal paperwork. Do renew your passport, apply for the correct type of visa, and keep hard and soft copies of all your valid IDs. In addition, you might want to enlist international health care insurance in order to enjoy the quality of health care you had as a local entrepreneur. For this, you can look to a company like Now Health International for an appropriate insurance plan. Completing the paper trail for affairs like these should ensure smooth sailing from your home country to your new home base.
2. Set up a Home Headquarters Abroad
Your home, transport, and living situation should be ironed out. Before you start on your new job, it would help to have a clear picture of what your living conditions will look like. Where will your new address be? If you are leaving with family in tow, will your new residence fit everyone? Where is the nearest transport terminal, and what modes of transportation will you use to get to your new headquarters? The firmer your plans are, the easier it will be to immerse yourself in your new work.
3. Network Before Setting Down Roots
You should be building your business network even before leaving. Gathering reputable business contacts is a task that can be done well before your departure.
Make a directory of potential partners, suppliers, staff recruiters, logistics providers, and the like so that operations can begin as soon as possible. You may also want to find a community of fellow expats so that you can maintain a social life, as well as glean valuable tips on doing business abroad.
4. Keep it Legal
You should be oriented with the laws and ordinances of your new home base. Establishing a new business in another country means engaging that country’s legal and institutional channels. If need be, you can ask for professional counsel on how to get a business license, how to pay international taxes, and how to get through corporate customs among others.
5. Market Research
You should put your market research to good use. After settling down, you can now concentrate on building momentum for the business—and that means embarking on localized initiatives.
How can your business prove its relevance to this new market? How familiar will this country’s locals be with the products or services that you’re offering? Who is your direct competition, and how can you get on even footing with them? Once you and your team answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the growth you were looking for in this fresh market.
In truth, setting up a business in a foreign land will be difficult. There will be many changes to the routine you kept at home, and you’ll be juggling the challenges of the business itself with your initial culture shock, homesickness, or loneliness. But you’ll find, as others did before you, that this new life can also be very exciting.
As they say, “the world is your oyster”—this couldn’t be truer for today’s generation of forward-thinking entrepreneurs!