Many business owners have a dream of running a multinational corporation that includes a plethora of locations around the world.
The fact is that in some industries it is absolutely necessary to go into international markets to go head to head with their competitors.
The fact that a company is going international with multiple locations does not assure the company will succeed. There are times when executives fail to estimate all of the variables that come with running a successful business in a foreign land.
Even the most cutting edge of companies have failed in foreign markets so considering the below factors before deciding to expand are absolutely essential to success.
Have Partners You Can Trust
Many times another location of a company will spring up in the country of where a high-ranking executive is located. This allows this partner to keep an eye on day to day activity. The fact that this partner has done business in this country before gives them an advantage over those that have just done business in the U.S. The fact that this partner has something to lose financially if the business doesn’t run efficiently will help aid in their motivation.
How to pick the person best to run the location:
- Managers or high ranking employees that have moved positions or locations before successfully should move to the top. Some managers might be successful in their current location but would struggle in others. Those who have shown flexibility and success in a multitude of situations is a great candidate.
- Those who have lived in or are from the country where your new location is opening. The learning curve of how to deal with employees and with other businesses will be slight if any with this person.
- Spend a bit of time with a few candidates at the foreign office. This should be done by the business owner anyway to get a feel of all of their offices. This could help illuminate who is producing at a high level while building a great rapport with the employees.
Bring the Staff Willing to Relocate
Bringing current staff to help relocate and get things off the ground has its advantages. The learning curve for the systems and processes that are needed on a daily basis will be reduced to nothing. Finding qualified staff willing to relocate might be costly but the immediate product in a new office can be contagious so this is also something to consider.
How to choose this staff:
- Single people or those without children are prime candidates for these jobs.
- Those who have experience speaking in the foreign language of these jobs should be great with this relocation.
- Those who are ready for a promotion but it might not happen in their current location.
- Depending on the location you might have to fight off people who want this job so don’t worry there will be people willing to go.
Judge the Talent in the Area
Like any company domestically a business must check out the talent available in the area before deciding on a new office location. One way to make sure that there will be talent in the industry is to open an office in the international hub of your industry. For finance, that would be London for many different countries. The negative aspect of being in an industry hub is that salaries can get quite competitive and be driven up because of the demand. Pick an area that has a pool of talent that is also reasonable as far as cost goes.
Language and Customs
The largest hurdle to overcome when expanding internationally is that of the language barrier. There are plenty of programs and even tutors that can help a person learn a new language. The issue is that in a study done 41 percent of people said that an issue when they spoke Spanish was that of confidence. This confidence might come from the immersion that many employees who have relocated are experiencing.
Staff that is multilingual should be considered first for the move but those willing to learn shouldn’t be left out. Customs such as holidays and even management styles obviously vary country to country. Motivating employees might be vastly different in a new country so researching how to motivate employees of this culture is a must. Some cultures are much more serious and harsh with their words to get the point across. This will take a bit of trial and error but a great manager will get a hang of it.
See That Standards Are Met
Foreign lands will bring in a plethora of different licensing and certifications that allow a company to operate there. Heavy fines can be imposed even if the business wasn’t aware that they needed a certain license to begin business. This can put an absolute stoppage of work until these sometimes time-consuming processes to be licensed are met. Consulting a person who has experience opening a business in that country is necessary.
This will allow the business to stay on track with paperwork and other licensing they might have to go through. Other standards that are to be met are those of safety and habitable working conditions. The most important thing to do here is to meet the standards of your home country even if they exceed the standards of the country the business is opening in. This can be a PR nightmare waiting especially if there is some kind of accident. Bring everything up to the highest code to reduce liability and chances of a PR fiasco.
Related Article: Going Global: Building an International Footprint as a SMB
This just scrapes the surface of the things that have to be considered when expanding internationally. Research for months or even years before deciding on this as it could make or break a company.