When you’re ready to take your small business to an international level, you’ll quickly discover that there are some serious obstacles in your way. One of the first decisions to face you is deciding which type of international expansion is best for your business.
For example, will you operate with multiple locations around the world? Will you limit your physical location to your local area and ship your products globally or provide services internationally? Do you have the means of accepting money from an international clientele? Let’s assume you’re opening up multiple locations around the world.
One: You’ll Need a Significant Source of Income
One of the biggest barriers for small business owners who want to take their company global is coming up with the startup capital. The money needed to break into just one international market is enough to make even very, very confident entrepreneurs lose heart. Before throwing your home, automobiles, and offspring into your business, make sure you are absolutely sure your return on investment is secure.
Two: Bank Accounts Are Not Available to You
It takes much more money to open a bank account for international transactions than you’re likely to have available. A bank based in the United States probably won’t help you set up the type of account you need. Unfortunately, it is as difficult or more difficult to open a bank in another country. You must appear in person to open the account, and you’ll have to show up from time to time.
Plan to share your passport, utility bills, tax returns, notarized statements, and any other paperwork the bank official wants you to provide. Even after working through a prolonged paperwork process, you’ll still probably get denied. Fortunately, there are solutions to help you send funds to Colombia without worrying about the bank account or exchange rate.
Three: International Taxes Are Not Handled in One Location
Your top-dollar US tax firm can’t do the taxes for your office in Germany or your office in Colombia. You’ll need tax professionals in each country, and then you’ll have to do your best to figure out how those results translate to your management in the United States.
Four: Language Problems Go Way Beyond Obvious Differences
Even if you sprechen Deutsch, you’ll have to watch out for expressions that mean one thing in the United States and another in Germany. High school German students love to laugh about the much-debated “Ich bin ein Berliner” faux pas Kennedy made. (His German was actually correct, but it is a good example of how a single word or the context of a sentence can seriously affect the meaning of the communication.) It isn’t as funny when business professionals slip up. Even if you are working in English-speaking countries, there are plenty of opportunities to get into trouble over words and phrases.
Five: Finding Reliable Workers in Other Countries
Once you understand enough of the language to realize how much you don’t understand, you’ll turn your attention to finding local talent. The challenges associated with this include understanding the differences between cultures, so you can recognize someone who’ll represent you well in the country without sacrificing the goals you’ve set back home.
Ideally, you’ll find a local representative who is well-versed in the business laws, customs, and regulations in that country. An added bonus would be that the individual also understands how things run in the United States and is able to smooth out cultural misunderstandings that are sure to take place.
Hold Onto Your Hat; It’s Going To Be Rough
Is it possible to work out solutions to these obstacles? Of course, it is. Many other small business owners before you have made it into a global market. With a firm resolve to succeed and a host of solutions, such as an online money remittance service, you can sail your business into international waters. Just don’t be prepared for the waters to get rough.
What other obstacles have you faced in your attempt to break into other markets? What solutions can you share with small business owners who have similar goals?