Have you been thinking of starting a business abroad? Do you know what it takes to run a business in a foreign country? And would you be willing to get an insider guide on some important things you need to know about running a business in a country you are not a citizen?
If yes, I want you to pay rapt attention to what Marcel de Jong has to share with us today.
It’s often considered very difficult to start your own business. Let’s be honest, if it was easy – pretty much everyone would do it.
Starting a business in your home country is often hard enough, how much more setting up a shop in a foreign country. It might be even harder depending on the information available to you..
However, I want you to see it as a challenge because nothing is impossible and many others have done it before.
I have successfully built a furniture manufacturing shop overseas, which wasn’t easy but ultimately became one of my biggest accomplishments. So today, I’m going to be sharing with you 7 things I, Marcel de Jong learned when I started my own business abroad and how you too can do it.
Your Business Abroad Will Face Local laws and regulations
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In every country business laws and regulations are different and unique.
In some countries, you might be able to register, file all required documents and have your business set up on paper within 1 day. In contradiction, in some countries, it might take weeks or even several months to go through this procedure.
You have to be aware of the local laws and regulations. Next, to the duration of the process, you want to be familiar with the incurred costs of any required procedures.
Businesses Built Abroad Face Local Politics
Regardless of any country, you have to be aware of the latest political developments and news.
Obviously, a stable political environment is always better and a safer opportunity when entering.
Being an entrepreneur, you want to avoid unexpected events, taxation or sudden change of rules for cross-border business. For example, in Indonesia it’s impossible to own a piece of land or a business under your own name. This can be very tricky as you basically have two options left:
- Find a trustworthy local partner and register under his / her name.
- Marriage allows you to register your business under your partner’s name.
Both options are not an ideal environment for starting entrepreneurs. There’s always a possibility this causes issues in the future.
Be careful with certain rules and regulations as such and explore different options to compare what environment would be best for you as an entrepreneur.
Know the Culture of the Country You Want to Build Your Business in
Every nation has its own culture.
Its own market and business demands are different anywhere you go. In Europe, healthy lifestyle and fitness may offer a lot of opportunities right now. This certainly doesn’t mean the Asian market shows high demand for this industry.
You need to be aware of cultural differences that could be of influence to your business. Therefore you must always research the market thoroughly to determine whether there’s a market for your product or service in the country you’re entering. If you fail this test in that country, forget it.
Different demands and unique market infrastructure are not the only cultural differences. Language, business ethics, and networking are only a few examples that will present challenges for entrepreneurs.
The entire business community as a whole is completely different in comparison to your home country. It’s highly recommended to at least visit your chosen destination a couple of times to get a better understanding of the local business community and build a network with the local community.
Don’t Neglect International Health Insurance
When moving abroad, alone or with your family, you have to explore the different options for health care coverage.
Traditional health care providers will most likely not cover any medical expenses while living abroad. Therefore, make sure you to pick the right international health insurance plan for yourself and/or for your family.
Apart from individual healthcare, you probably want to have some kind of insurance coverage for your business too. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Build a Local Network If You Desire to Have a Fast-Growing Business Abroad
You will most likely have to register yourself at the Chamber of Commerce or a similar institution in order to conduct business. Before doing so, building a local network and getting in touch with local business owners or other entrepreneurs can be highly valuable.
You can get in touch with your trusted contacts for any questions or advise. People usually say, making mistakes is the best way to learn. However, avoiding mistakes when starting your business is even better.
Don’t Try to Play Smart, You Need Legal Guidance
When you have decided on a country to move to, make sure to get in touch with a lawyer.
You ideally want to acquire an expat lawyer who has a ton of experience in helping foreigners to set up their business in a specific country. Their knowledge and awareness of local laws, regulations and business environment will be a great asset to guide you through the process.
Give Yourself Time to Start, Grow and Expand
Rushing into a business or an idea is almost never a good idea. It can really end up hurting you.
Allow yourself a fair amount of time to research the local environment, economy and find trusted partners. Establish a small network and gather information. Registering your business will take time, also your own visa application might take some time too. So be willing to let time settle it where and when necessary – don’t cut corners.
Every country has its advantages and disadvantages for entrepreneurs. Research your chosen destination carefully. Don’t be scared by my experience in starting a business abroad. But rather be inspired and be aware of the above-mentioned factors as you climb the road to success in building a reputation business in a foreign country.
This is a guest post from Marcel de Jong: Marcel is the lead content writer for Now Health. He’s a digital nomad, and entrepreneur living in South East Asia for the past 10 years.