What It Takes to Start a Business Abroad

Starting a busy isn’t simple in one’s own country, let alone abroad. The average startup is mired by logistical puzzles and cash flow concerns, and those hurdles only get more complicated opening up a business in another country. To get it right, you not only have to be a savvy businessperson, but you have to be adaptable as well.

It helps if you’ve fallen in love with the country in which you’re planning to start a business. Whether it’s Canada, China, Australia or Morocco – whether they speak your language and share your basic customs or not – you have to have a deep and abiding respect for the country if you plan on doing business there. It will help you make the most of the experience, and help you connect with customers/clients.

With a level of respect and understanding as your baseline, there are a few critical things you can do to ensure success in your new environment.

Work to Keep Costs Reasonable

As you would if you were opening a business at home, forge connections with suppliers and fellow businesses to get good prices and keep down operating costs.

If you’re in Canada, for instance, and are starting a construction business, open lines of communication with a dealership specializing in leasing commercial equipment to get the best price. If you’re opening a bar in Thailand, as another example, connect with a number of local liquor suppliers to price compare. Keeping costs reasonable may take a little extra effort when you don’t yet know anyone, but that extra work will pay off.

Familiarize Yourself With the Language

You want to make it in a foreign country, then you better be able to connect with its buyers. There’s simply no way you are going to effectively open up a business in, say, Mexico, without at least attempting a basic grasp of Spanish.

Even if your chosen country speaks English, you should still familiarize yourself with the idiosyncrasies and idioms of the national patois. For instance, those in Canada might speak a little different than Americans, and both have a much different way of communicating than Brits across the pond. Understanding these differences will help with branding and marketing in your business’ new home.

Tailor Your Product/Service to Local Tastes

Incorporate market research into your business plan, however informal it ends up being. This might involve – on the more intensive end – developing customer surveys or scouring public and commercial records for market data. Or, it might just mean informally polling your local friends on what they want, how they want it, and what they’d pay for it.

Find a Local Mentor

To help you through it all, it’s good to have guidance. But whatever business guidance you had back home is not quite going to be enough. To help you in all the above points – the language, business connections and market research – you should have a local mentor. How do you get one? Be open in the business community, network with locals and be forthright about both your ambitions and your cultural blind spots.

It may be difficult, but it’s doable. With the right connections, and an earnest respect for your chosen country, your business abroad can flourish.

Haris Ahmed Chicago – How to Adopt a Successful Business Attitude

Many years ago I met an inspirational business woman when I was trying to set up my very first business selling hot dogs on the corner of my block in Removille, Chicago. After a quick chat, I began to tell the lady about my business struggles and she gave me some of the best advice that I have ever received, so good in fact that I made sure that she wasn’t charged and I paid her bill myself.

Sadly my hot dog enterprise failed but the woman’s advice stayed with me about how to adopt a successful business attitude. In fact I used this advice to find success later in life when I found success with my buddy Haris Ahmed Chicago-resident like myself and inspirational man all round. I thought then that I would share with you the advice that I was given so that you too could find the successful business attitude that is inside you, if you want success, here is how to go get it.

Sacrifice Everything

If you want a successful business then you are going to have to work at it and work hard. This is going to mean that you will have to sacrifice a great deal in order to find the success that you are looking for. This is something that can be tough to do, especially when you see your friends heading off for nights out and vacation which you cannot go on because you are working your fingers to the bone. With that being said, once you find the success that business can bring, you will soon be the one laughing.

Be Inspired By Competition

When it comes to competition, you must never see this as a negative that can damage you, but rather an added inspiration and a test of how good you are. The reason why most businesses fail when there is competition around is because they can become obsessed with the competition and try to imitate what they are doing. The best way is to simply stay true to who you are and make sure that any competition that comes your way, drives you on to even more success.

Be Persistent As Hell

And finally, the greatest piece of advice that this woman gave me was that I had to be persistent in business and do all that I could to refuse to take no for an answer. This is not only something that stayed with me, but something that even today I always strive to live up to. If you have a product that you believe in and you are trying to pitch it to a business, get in their face until they say yes. If you have a distribution deal pending and you are trying to work out contractual details, be like a dog with a bone until they say yes. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve in business, don’t ever let someone say no, and if they do, make sure that they regret it when they see just how successful you are.

Use Automated Document Control Programs to Prepare for Audit

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If you work in a regulated environment, you will constantly face the complex problem of having to manage huge amounts of data, while at the same time being compliant during inspections. With regulatory pressure being increasingly high, it is important to have audit trail software in place at all times. This ensures that you can always have all your paperwork in order whenever an audit occurs.

One of the big problems caused by having a poor audit score is that there is poor synchronization between underlying processes, documents, and change management. For instance, if you are dealing with more than one supplier and/or location, a document change does not necessarily also change the process. As a result, it is all too easy to find yourself non-compliant, which in turn means you get a negative audit score. When you properly manage your documents, however, you prove that you also follow the best practices that are accepted in your industry.

Features of an Excellent Audit Trail Software Package

A good document control system has a number of core features:

  1. It enables you to control your documents in a safe and secure environment. Because almost all documentation is now electronic, the life cycle of a document can be fully automated while at the same time ensuring that critical information can be accessed securely. It should have a number of automated features, such as easy search options and electronic signatures, while at the same time ensuring only those with the right credentials can access the information.
  2. It should be available on the cloud, so that it can be accessed at all times from anywhere. This is vital because so many businesses now operate on an international level, and because so much of the workforce is now mobile as well. Good audit trail software packages are 100% online, being stored on the cloud. This means that all documents are always available in real-time, regardless of where or when they are accessed, and where from.
  3. It should fully integrate with training management processes. This ensures change management is made far easier as well, as it will show where in the organization there may be a need for additional support or training. Workforce training auditsare as important as other forms of audits, as they demonstrate that you invest in your people and make sure they are the best they can be. At the same time, this will help you reduce expenditure, since you will only develop training for which there is a requirement.

When you integrate your audit trail software with the core processes of your business, you will be ready for any audit. At the same time, you will make your business more efficient, resulting in greater profits, happier customers, and happier members of staff as well. This will put you on an upward continuous spiral of becoming more profitable, more relevant, and more respected across the industry. Clearly, audit trail software is an absolute must.