Business Basics: Working abroad

working abroadA few tips for working, or starting a business, in another country.

  1. Be Flexible

    Flexibility is the most important way to survive and thrive.  Whether you are working for another company or starting your own. You must learn to relax and go with the flow. If not you might as well get used to being angry, frustrated and stressed out.
    Remember you have to get used to the changes not just mentally and emotionally, but also culturally and gastronomically. If you are rigid and used to doing things your own way, you will struggle and most likely fail.  This is because each country and region has their own way of doing things, and they are not going to change no matter how much you grumble and complain.

  2. Don’t try to ‘Wing It’ when working abroad.

    You may be able to make things up as you go along in your own country, but it doesn’t work that well in a foreign land. Remember all successful business have recognized a need and have filled it.
    So if you want to start a business, or work in another culture, you must have a clear plan of what you want to do, and how you are going to get there.  Do your homework, get to know local customs, and understand the way things are done, before you start.

  3. Understand the laws of the land.

    Make sure to spend enough time researching the laws about your specific field (laws vary according to what you want to do), and contacting the right agencies to complete the proper paperwork.
    Being stopped at immigration and not allowed into a country is bad enough, but being let in and then waiting for months because you didn’t fill out the right paperwork can be miserable (and I speak from experience).

  4. Choose friends wisely, and partners carefully.

    Be careful who you partner with and who you chose as friends. Each country has a certain way of doing things, and there are always companies, governmental offices, and people who will take advantage of foreigners.
    This is why it helps to hire a local guide, interpreter, or business consultant to help you navigate the process. You can often save thousands of dollars and years of frustration just by hiring the right people

  5. working abroadEstablish Financial intelligence, especially when working abroad

    Money takes on a new meaning in a foreign land.  Exchange rates, double taxation, banking regulations, unscrupulous merchants, transaction fees and many market forces affect your ability to make and keep your money abroad.
    Make sure you understand the currencies value, cost of living expenses, and exchange rate against your home country. Next, set up an appropriate financial budget that covers both the seen and unseen. Typically a 10 – 15% overhead cost is enough (depending on what you do).   However, in a foreign country, I recommend padding your budget and having at least 20% of your money liquid (easily accessible), in case of emergencies.

  6. Join local clubs or networking organizations:

    Set aside time to join trade and network groups who have the same vision or purpose as you. Of course, these people may also be your competitors, so don’t reveal too much of your business plans, especially if it is unique to your company.

  7. Get out and explore

    Don’t spend all your time huddled in your office or walking the factory. Go out and enjoy yourself. Spend time getting to know people, join a gym or activity group, learn something new, tour the countryside, invite your family over, experience local customs.
    Working abroad may be the best experience of your life. Remember your next breath is never guaranteed and your life is not just about reaching a business goal or making more money. Life is a journey not a destination, so learn to enjoy the journey along the way.