Today, the majority of businesses are doing work on a global scale.
Even if your offices are in the UK, it is likely that your products are available online; therefore, clients from around the world can purchase them.
In fact, Copy Blogger writes that “according to J.P. Morgan — reporting for the Department of Commerce — only 27% of online shoppers speak English.”
Furthermore, you may hire virtual employees from other countries, and forming relationships with international investors.
This global economy makes it a necessity for leaders to conduct international business effectively.
Simple mistakes can offend other cultures, or failure to follow laws can put a company in jeopardy.
In this article, we will provide tips on doing business internationally.
When conducting business in other countries, it is important to read up on customs and traditions.
Being able to properly greet a potential business partner according to their customs will show that individual that you respect them and their culture.
Learning the proper way to thank an investor will signify your investment into that professional relationship.
It is advantageous to research business practices in each specific country before selling your services or products there.
This would have benefited Groupon, who had to stop operating in China in 2011 because they failed to understand business negotiations there.
Demanding a 50/50 profit split with merchants alarmed business owners, who were used to giving away only 10 percent of their profit to deal websites.
Similarly, The Home Depot failed in China in 2006 because they were not aware that most people in that country purchase properties for investing instead of using it as a primary residence, and cheap labour eliminated the need for homeowners to complete DIY projects.
Learn The Market
Before entering a new international market, research what businesses are already operating there, and how successful they are.
By evaluating the country’s demographics, and making sure there is a need for your product or service there, you will get a better picture of how your business may fair there.
Foreign-market familiarity is essential to understanding the business practices of the host versus the home country.
Be Careful With Social Media
Social media is responsible for many embarrassing situations for companies.
Since it takes about a second to share an image or write a post, businesses have unknowingly offended different cultures, causing a drop in sales.
It’s important to remember that words, slang terms and signs can have various meanings around the world.
When creating social media or marketing campaigns, consult with a professional to avoid offending a certain group of people.
For example, Umbro introduced new trainers called Zyklon in 2002, not knowing that the gas used by Nazis to kill Jews had the same name.
They had to pull the product to avoid offending the Jewish population.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 8 August, 2016
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