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7 Tips for Expanding Your Business Overseas

Global expansion is usually one of the top goals of entrepreneurs. By taking your business overseas, you can tap new markets, leverage more resources, boost your competitiveness, increase profit and brand awareness a hundredfold.

With these in mind, considering an international expansion and starting a business in Dubai or in other key global cities can easily excite any business owner.

However, the whole process, from start to finish, can be complex, tough, and even expensive. Because of this, many entrepreneurs quickly dismiss their plans and move expanding internationally lower down their list of priority business goals.

Working on Your Global Expansion Plans

If you are really interested in expanding internationally, you shouldn’t let your fears and lack of information derail your plans.

You will have a higher chance of achieving this goal and meeting fewer obstacles along the way if you keep these tips in mind:

1.     Make sure you are ready for global expansion

The first thing you have to do before making plans for this venture is to make sure you are 100% ready for international expansion.

Some important signs that will ensure you are on the right track are:

  • Your business is doing well locally and you can leave it under the care and management of your employees.
  • You keep getting inquiries about your products or services from interested customers from other countries.
  • You experience serious seasonal sales fluctuations annually. Opening a branch or company overseas will help counterbalance the dips in demand locally.
  • Your competitors are already going global.
  • You are aiming for increased revenue growth and profitability for your business.

If these signs are true for you and you have other good reasons for starting a venture overseas, you would do well to think more about your global expansion plans.

2.     Choose your country of operation

You can narrow down your list of countries to open your company in by finding out where the most international inquiries come from.

Next, study these countries’ economic stability, tax schemes, and the average cost of business setup and operation. Be on the lookout for states or cities that will allow you to operate tax-free or at lower rates. Determine which one will work best for your business and company setup budget.

Be as thorough as you can in your research. The Internet will help you get all the information you need. Make a list of the positives and negatives of each country since this will help you greatly in selecting your next country of operation.

Often, choosing the country from which majority of your overseas inquiries come from would work to your advantage since you are sure there are already interested and ready buyers for your products or services.

3.     Have a thorough understanding of the relevant local laws and regulations in your target country

Once you have chosen your country of operation, spend time knowing and understanding the labor laws and other important regulations that apply to you and your business when you start setting up shop.

In doing so, you will avoid a lot of time-consuming and costly issues and challenges that may arise when you actually start your operations. By simply being aware of these things, you also get an idea of the types of business and legal documents you will need prepared for your international shift.

At the very least, get to know the rules and policies on getting the essential permits and licenses, hiring local employees, bringing in foreign workers, and requirements on salaries and benefits. Familiarize yourself with environmental laws that may have an impact on your business operations as well.

4.     Conduct market research

Next, get to know and understand your target market. This means conducting a market research (or have another company do this for you) and understanding the results thoroughly.

The purpose of a market research is to let you know if your product or service will sell in your target market. You need to be sure that there will be a sustained demand for your product or service, even if you will need to offer them at higher prices.

In addition, it is important that you have some knowledge regarding the size of your target market and the time it will take for you to capture your intended sales targets.

When the results show that the market conditions are in your favor, you can start making more concrete plans.

5.     Create a new business plan and strategy specifically designed for your target market

Operating a business in a new country means having a different business plan and strategy customized to your target market.

Your business plan should aim to drive local success and, at the same time, stay true to your company’s objectives, and mission and vision.

At this stage, decide on the final business model and structure as well. Determine if opening a new or different company, a retail branch or office will be the best route to take.

6.     Set your budget

Starting a business overseas definitely won’t come cheap. You will have to travel to and from your target country often even before you officially open your business. This means spending a lot on airfare and accommodation.

In addition, you have to remember you will need to pay for a lot of things during

the first stages of the company setup: commercial space (perhaps an annual lease) office furniture, supplies, and renovation, if necessary. Keep in mind the initial payments for office rental will require a substantial amount of investment.

To avoid overspending, come up with a realistic budget for this venture. It should cover the most important expenses and make allowances for the minor ones.

When calculating your budget, consider the fluctuating exchange rates and different business taxes as well.

7.     Get help from a trusted local business setup consultant

You don’t have to go through the whole process of setting up your business in a different country alone.

Reputable providers of professional company formation services offer a full of range services designed to make business setup faster, less stressful, and efficient.

Regardless of the type and size of your business, with their help, you will find success in establishing your company in your target country.

These companies will help you with getting the necessary business permits, registering, and protecting your trademarks. They can also provide other professional services including tax residency certification application, accounting and bookkeeping, auditing, bank account setup, and payroll management.

Lastly, they will help with your entry visa, residency, or work permit application as well.

With some additional work and getting help from the right business consultants, your dreams of conquering the global market can become a reality.

About the author:

Raj Herry is the Founder and Chairman of Flying Colour Business Setup Services. His extensive experience comes from more than 15 years in the field of company incorporation for Dubai Mainland, all Free Zones across the UAE and offshore companies worldwide. He also owns several business centres offering furnished and ready-to-move offices in Dubai.