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Hundreds of companies make the life-changing decision of expanding their businesses overseas every year. The UAE, for instance, sees restaurants, retail stores, and numerous new company formations in Dubai Free Zones spearheaded or owned by foreign entrepreneurs annually.

Going global is certainly a goal worth working hard for since the returns and prestige that businesses will receive are incomparable. There are also other benefits that come with expanding or opening a business abroad.

Unfortunately, not all companies will find success with international expansion. There are numerous challenges that businesses will have to face and overcome in order to carve a name and be profitable in their venture within a different country.

Finding Success Abroad

Whether you are starting a new business or expanding your company overseas, following some simple yet useful tips will help you have an easier time with the whole process. These tips can also prevent you from making mistakes that can cause you costly and frustrating delays.

1.     Conduct sufficient market research

If you have plans of opening or expanding your business overseas, the first step you have to take is to ensure there is a market for your products or services in that country. In order to establish the above, you will need to study the market you want to enter.

By conducting sufficient research or recruiting experts for the job, you will get a solid and realistic idea if it is worth opening a company or branch in a particular company.

You can also use the findings as a form of assurance that your venture will have higher chances of succeeding or, at the very least, limit the likelihood that your business will fail.

2.     Understand the requirements of opening or expanding your business in your target area

Once you ascertain that there is a market for your business, you will need to familiarize yourself with the laws in place for opening or expanding your business across borders.

If you are a solo foreign entrepreneur, you will most likely need to have a business visa to operate. Should you require assistance In acquiring a visa, you can seek professional help from a migration agent in the form of business setup consultants.

Not only will they be able to assist with the more obvious requirements but also more complicated tasks including special approvals and attestations.

3.     Develop a strong business plan for your new market

Although you may have an existing business plan which has been successful thus far in the operating country, you will need to adapt it for your target foreign market.

Your business plan for your overseas venture should consider the following:

  • Potential market or customers
  • Company set-up (partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc.)
  • Additional expenses (shipping, travel, office set-up, etc.)
  • Import and export strategies
  • Sales and marketing models
  • Financial sources and expected incomes

4.     Understand the culture

Setting a company up in a different country should entail business interactions with the locals. You may already be an expert in impressing investors, potential partners and customers in your home country, but it is most likely you will have a hard time doing so in a foreign land as a result of cultural differences.

As such, before travelling or attending a business meeting online, conduct research about the country you’re seeking to open your business in. Take the time to familiarise yourself with important customs or traditions in addition to the general culture.

Knowing certain culture traits will show that you respect your potential partners’ or customers’ culture and are truly interested in a close professional relationship with them.

5.     Know when to get help

Lastly, there is nothing easy about starting or expanding your business locally. When you want to tap into the international market, anticipate challenges. Keep in mind though that you don’t have to face these obstacles alone; there are experts who can help you out.

Various consultancy firms and service providers offer their assistance to foreign investors who need help with obtaining an entry visa, business license, and other permits to legally operate a business. If you can’t understand the local language, you can hire a translator to help you out as well.

Should you require additional financial support, consult with various financial  institutions in the country. They may offer loans to foreign investors, however ensure that you have a solid business plan to present to them – showing your intent to better their community.

Tapping into a foreign market can be challenging. But going about the right processes will ease the speed bumps that you may encounter. Put the hard work in with patience, and help from the right experts.