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Whether you’re looking to start a new chapter of your entrepreneurial career or to expand an already established venture internationally, business immigration never comes without its share of challenges.

The keys to startup success abroad

From not understanding the local culture to misjudging the specific business environment, there are numerous ways even the best laid plans for foreign expansion can turn sour.

Still, the collective experience of entrepreneurs all around the world allows us to identify some of the key issues migrating entrepreneurs are facing and formulate practical tips that can help you overcome them.

Of course, moving to a new market will require extensive research into its specifics, but some solid pieces of advice are universally applicable.

Here’s a list of the most common dos and don’ts of international startup business.

5. Preparation

This piece of advice seems fairly obvious, but there are varying degrees of preparation. Pouring over data and rummaging through every corner of the internet for information is a solid start, but it can’t compensate for actual experience and familiarity with the local business environment.

If your finances allow it, consider seeking out and employing the services of a reliable local consultant who can clue you into all the intricacies and the inner workings of a business ecosystem.

They can not only provide you with solid information, but also connect you with reliable professionals who will be involved with your operations on the ground, whether as your employees or as intermediaries (lawyers, accountants, translators, etc.), and thus prevent you from making any common mistakes.

Your business must be prepared for all foreseeable challenges right from the get go.

4. First-hand experience

While it is true that today’s technology allows us to run and manage a business without being physically present, meeting your team face-to-face and directly experiencing your chosen business environment is still extremely important – doubly so if you’re starting up in foreign surroundings.

Visit your country of business as often as possible, nurture local relationships, and make your each visit as impactful as possible.

3. Additional benefits

From tax benefits to access to talent or the entrepreneurial infrastructure, different countries have varying degrees of a support system for startups and business in general.

When choosing your next business destination, seek out those with the right mix of incentives for your startup.

For instance, there are many countries offering golden visa (second passport) plans in exchange for some type of investment.

This type of investment citizenship usually comes with a variety of perks, such as tax relief, free travel, and partnership with government institutions, which just may be the things your business can benefit from.

2. Local support

Networking is a huge part of business success regardless of where you operate, but it might be crucial in international ventures.

Do your best to identify and draw trusted and established local business partners in the fields necessary or complimentary top your work, because their resources and market position can help you get off to a running start.

If applicable, also consider acquiring local partners, since that provides you with access to a pre-existing infrastructure, as well as an experienced local workforce.

1. Culture specifics

No two markets are quite alike. Differences between markets are sometimes subtle and sometimes extreme, yet understanding the specifics of a local market is essential to your success.

Be it etiquette norms, diverging legal regulations, language barriers or buying habits, foreign markets conceal numerous “landmines” that may become the bane of your business.

Investing the time in understanding all the specific aspects of operating in a foreign market will minimize the chances of making silly mistakes that could have easily been prevented.

The margin of error grows narrower in a foreign environment, and your ultimate success or failure will often hinge not on getting everything right, but on not getting anything wrong.

The scope of planning involved in starting a business abroad may seem overwhelming at first, but every angle you cover will bring you a step closer to a prosperous venture.


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