International business means more costs, including travel, customs, phone calls and office space if you plan to offer an oversees office. For most companies, the biggest difference in costs between having an international or domestic business is shipping. Don’t forget to include the hidden costs involved with shipping overseas, such as hiring a freight forwarder and purchasing overseas shipping insurance. Further, overseas buyers might ask for long periods of credit extension, leaving you with cash flow issues unless you prepare for them. Develop a list of all the costs your international business venture will incur, and measure them against the potential gains.
We recommends revising your business plan to include your overseas goals, while suggesting networking with other industry contacts who have gone global. Discuss the decision both with those in your business and with consultants and your industry peers. Look at other similar companies who have gone overseas and evaluate their success. Think about what makes their company different from yours.
Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit. Many of the communication problems result in confusion and can cause good plans to fail. Since language and cultural barriers can be detrimental to some kind of businesses, good communication is vital for the success in international trade.
You should not take your whole business overseas at one time. Instead, you should run a test case offering one product or service overseas. If it works well, then you might slowly start to expand.
Solving problems in the United States is relatively easy. If the problem can’t be solved with a phone call or e-mail, you simply hop on a plane and fly a few hours to meet the partner or customer in person. However, doing international business creates a whole different problem. Develop a strategy for how you will deal with problems when it is not cost-effective to handle them in person.
Customs and Boarder Operations
Whether you will be traveling, or an employee or product will be going overseas, knowing how customs and boarder operations work is integral. Understand how to pack your product for shipment overseas and learn how to make passing through customs easier for you and your employees.