How to start a business offshore

| October 18, 2015

How to start a business offshore

Starting a business is a tough task, especially if you are thinking of doing it in another country. However, with the dollar going strong, an overseas venture can be a great investment move. But before you go ahead, there are a few things to check off.

1. Localize

Localizing your ideas and vision is an extremely important part of doing any kind of business. If you are planning to do it abroad, it becomes all the more important. Do your research on the political and economic environment. Having a local partner or a mentor will help you gain deeper, more intimate insight into the local culture and people. This will help you make the right connections, navigate the taboos and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

LinkedIn is a good place to start making offshore acquaintances. You might find someone based offshore who is interested in showing you the ropes or maybe even have a stake in your business.

2. Immerse yourself in the local culture

When you are starting a business in a foreign country, you may meet with some suspicion from the local market, at least in the beginning. That is why it is so important to not only learn about the local culture beforehand, but to also personally get involved with it.

Spend time with the locals and immerse yourself in the culture. Make yourself known and earn the locals respect by showing them respect first.

Learning the language would also be to your advantage. It will give you a better understanding of the people, their values and habits, but also places you in a better position when negotiating or networking with locals. Learning another tongue is definitely not easy, but there are plenty of apps available today that will help you get a basic command over the language.

3. Studying the competition

Researching the competition is something that is incredibly important before you venture into a new business. When you’re in a foreign market, go beyond existing competitors and research past competitors as well.  Look into their stories or success or failure to give you not just insight into the current market status quo, but also the background story of the industry.

4. Networking locally

Networking is essential. You may already have a network in the US, but when you move offshore to do business, you need to start from scratch.

The expat community is a good place start. These communities are usually not very large, and form tight circles based on central organizations or geographic regions. Again, social networks are a great place to start, find out about local groups or events to join, get involved and make some friends.

Finding entrepreneurs in your country of interest is also a good idea. Again, LinkedIn really helps. Finding those who are entrepreneurs (new or experienced) in the same industry will add lots of value to your network.