Companies of all sizes can now connect with customers from other countries thanks to the internet. Of course, there are a few extra things you need to consider when taking on international customers. Below are just some of the essentials to consider when doing business abroad.
Meeting legal requirements
To do business in other countries, you may need to meet certain legal requirements set by that country. There may be licences or identification numbers that you have to apply for such as a legal entity identifier. In the case of products, you may even have to consider whether certain materials, chemicals or ingredients are still legal to use. It could be worth seeking legal advice to help you understand exactly what you need.
Budgeting for extra fees
Doing business abroad may result in some extra fees. For example, with products you need to consider shipping fees. There are also foreign exchange fees to consider. Make sure that you’re not caught out by these costs and that you’re still able to make a return – raising your prices may be necessary in some cases.
Identifying the demand
There’s no point trying to sell your product in a country where there isn’t a demand for that product. Make sure that you’re not wasting time promoting your product or service in other countries if there’s not a market for it. If there is a clear demand, make sure to scope out local competitors. Consider whether you need to alter your overseas brand to stand out.
Understanding currency rates
Different countries will deal in different currencies each with fluctuating values. When setting prices for foreign customers, be wary of the currency exchange rate changing. You may need to change your prices to reflect any drop or increase in value so that you’re not suddenly losing money or charging too much. Some e-commerce platforms may allow you to automatically convert pricing. Accepting cryptocurrency may be an option.
Breaking the language barrier
If customers are not fluent in your language, make sure that you’re able to translate information for them. It may be worth creating foreign versions of your website and hiring foreign-language-speaking copywriters to write the content. If you have to talk over the phone or present to customers, consider whether you need to hire an interpreter or foreign-speaking representative.
Navigating time zone differences
Some countries may have completely different time zones in place. Take this into account if you have to communicate with a client in another country. In some cases, it may be worth hiring a representative in another country to help communicate with foreign clients.
Respecting the culture
You may find that other countries have different cultural expectations. It’s important to respect other cultures when marketing your product and when meeting customer needs. You can do this by taking time to research the culture. Make sure that no imagery used to promote your product is offensive and that you understand their attitude to punctuality (some countries are strict when it comes to times, while others are very relaxed).