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Expand Your Business Overseas with Less Risk

Posted On   date14/07/2014

Expand Your Business Overseas with Less Risk

Now that your business has taken off it may be time to consider branching out overseas. Global expansion can prove very beneficial for several companies, but it isn’t a task to be taken lightly. A lot of thoughtful and appropriate research needs to be done in order to minimize the potential risk with this type of growth, both in terms of success and financial safety.  There are opportunities, and there is fraud.

It will be important to have professionals available in those countries to assist you with legal issues, hiring employees, finances, and general business dealings. Having contacts with access to local records and who are familiar with the culture and language of the country will be a necessity to thrive overseas. As with any business venture there will be some risk involved, but what are some ways to reduce those risks?  This is when background check investigations and due diligence come in to play.

Choose the right people.

Regardless of the size of your overseas presence, you will likely need to hire individuals to manage business operations abroad. And depending on the size of your expansion, this could involve multiple countries. Having so much geographical distance between you will require that a lot of faith and trust be placed in those employees. Practice due diligence and carefully screen each potential new hire. Once you have good people in place whose judgment you trust, you can utilize them for future hires. Find ways to be as hands on and “present” as possible, don’t let employees lose sight of your primary role in the company.

Know the laws.

Every country has different laws regarding business and financial practices. This is another instance where having trusted contacts in a specific country is crucial to the success of your global expansion. They have knowledge that can guide you down the right path and provide confidence that you are doing things the right way; it will also allow you to focus on what matters most, being a profitable company. Labor laws will also vary among countries and you need to be aware of the differences and follow them accordingly. Illegal practices could result in tougher punishment from one location to another- don’t let ignorance land you in jail. Hire a local attorney if necessary to make sure your business is being run appropriately. Hold your employees to the same standard, but remember that you are ultimately responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. You may benefit from lower labor costs overseas, but do things right.

Understand the local consumer.

You can’t proceed into foreign consumer markets with the same exact product and marketing as you sell domestically. Companies need to conduct significant market research when creating an overseas sales structure. Know your overseas customer and offer them what they want and can effectively use. Maintain quality control and product safety standards, at a minimum, as dictated by the laws in each country. This will help reduce financial risk, and protect your reputation now and into the future.

Avoid Scams and Fraud.

Always be on the lookout for fraudulent activity or people trying to pull one over on you. This type of activity runs rampant overseas and foreign companies are prime targets. Some to look out for include export scams, phony investments or loans, and fake funds transfers. You may feel that you couldn’t be the victim of scam, most people don’t, but some of their techniques are very sophisticated and disguised well. Criminals make it their business to cheat you out of your money, and have honed their skills over the years. Unfortunately it is often too late to recover once you realize you have been the subject of dishonest activity. In that same vein, conduct your business honestly and fairly and avoid being perceived in a negative light.  Remember, if you do business with someone you haven’t verified and don’t know very well, they can commit fraud or illegal activity and drag you down with them.  The stake are high.

How has your business thrived overseas?

C. Wright
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