Turn your small local business international

Taking your business overseas may sound like something only huge corporations can afford to do. However, thanks to the web and easy global communication, turning a business into an international organisation is now much easier. Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service, here are five ways to make your international business successful.

Make friends in foreign places

Taking your business abroad requires developing an understanding of how the market works in that country. It could help to form cross-promotion strategies with business abroad in which you market their product in your country, in exchange for them doing the same for your product in their country. You may even need someone to oversee your business abroad. Either way, you should do some networking and get to know people in a country before bring your business there.

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Understand the currency differences

Going international means dealing in different currencies. If you’re invoicing clients abroad, you’ll need to convert the amount due into their currency. However, when doing your tax assessment, you’ll need to convert this to you own currency. This can require a little extra work. E-commerce tools will generally do conversions for you automatically. Be wary of fluctuating currency rates as this could affect the amount that you’re making. Some businesses operate in Bitcoin to get around these fluctuating currency rates, although this involves only making business with people that also use Bitcoin.

Will you be exporting goods?

How do I start exporting? For those needing to deliver products or simply send contracts abroad, understanding shipping is essential. Companies that already deliver goods in their home country may use a courier service. When going international, you then need to start considering delivery via ship and airplane. This can add significantly to the cost of delivery, so it’s essential you’re covering this shipping price within the sale price of your product. When it comes to general postage, consider going digital instead. There are now apps for signing contracts digitally, which could save having to physically mail them out.

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Get used to working flexible hours

Different countries will have different time zones. To communicate with someone across the globe, you may have to stray away from the usual nine to five office hours, otherwise you could be phoning them up whilst they’re still asleep.

Save on flight costs by Skyping instead

Jetting off to exotic locations on business trips might sound fun, but unless you’re making a huge income it’s unlikely you’ll be able to live this lifestyle. For meetings, use video-communication services like Skype. It’s free and it’s instant – whilst it may not have the glamour of getting on a plane it’s more convenient in every way. You can present information such as graphs and pictures over Skype and you can even do guided tours if you’re communicating on a phone or tablet. On top of this, you can have group conversations with multiple people.

*This is a contributed post.

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