The Challenges In Operating A Global Business

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There are many reasons why a business should consider operating globally. These include:

– A consumer demand in the global market.

– The possibility of added profits in line with the expansion.

– An increase in reputation.

The advantages are clear, but there are hurdles ahead. If you are considering taking your brand to a global level, consider the following challenges that await you should you take the leap.

Challenge #1: Documents getting lost in translation

Writing an instruction manual (or any other form of documentation) is difficult enough in your own language, but when operating internationally, you need to prepare each and every document in line with the culture and language involved. Because of the intricacies involved, you shouldn’t use one of the many internet translation tools to get this job done. The wrong wording could offend an international client, for example, so it’s safer and easier to hire an international translation company to do this for you.

Challenge #2: Dealing with the physical distance

If you are selling a particular product or service to an international client, you can communicate with them over the telephone or internet. However, there will be times when you may need to fly overseas for a face-to-face meeting, perhaps to build trust between the two of you. There is also the shipping to consider, with the need to logistically transport your product overseas. In both cases, you are looking at significant costs. One way to alleviate this is to expand your business into an overseas premises. Again, this will be costly in the short-term, but it may make better financial sense in the long-term provided you get the expected rise in profits with the expansion.

Challenge #3: Managing the changes in each culture

As alluded to within our first point, you need to be careful when working with a culture that is unfamiliar to you. This applies to the way you do business with your clients, and the way customers shop in another country. These changes in behaviour will directly influence the way you operate, so you need to carry out research to ensure you don’t make a cultural faux pas and break certain taboos within the country. Again, by having a base of operations abroad, you can hire people local to the country to work for you. Of course, you still need to have an understanding of that country’s employment laws – not every country works 9-5 for starters. You might also consider hiring an international consultant to alleviate this challenge within your expansion plans.

Challenge #4: Understanding rules and regulations

We have already alluded to this point earlier, but there are a number of things to take into consideration. This includes the aforementioned changes in employment laws that may not be in line with the way you operate within your own country. There are also the varying fees attached to exporting and importing goods that need to be adhered too. Then there are tax laws, distribution agreements, and all manner of other legal issues to get your head around. You could simply bury your head in the sand and ignore them, but you will run into serious trouble if you do.

Challenge #5: Changes in marketing

This again comes down to cultural differences, as you will need to adapt or completely change the way you market your product or service. Again, having an understanding of the target country is essential, as you don’t want to use wording or images that could be misinterpreted in your marketing efforts. To help you, have a look at what other businesses have done before you, look online at international media and print advertising for an idea of what works, and consider hiring a transcription service for your copywriting and digital marketing tasks.

Challenge #6: Coping with the demands of an expansion

There are demands both at home and abroad that will directly affect your business. There is the time factor – will you have enough hours in a day to manage the expansion, or will you be hiring new staff to take on new responsibilities? There is the cost factor – do you have enough funds to cover you for any potential losses while setting up a new base elsewhere? There is the location factor – there will be overriding demands in whichever location you set yourself up in, so you need to do your research before committing to a particular country. In short, are you prepared for what’s ahead of you?

Final thought

Having considered the above, you may decide to not operate globally after all. There are many challenges ahead, so it may be easier to take the safe route by sticking with what you know. Still, there are advantages to operating globally that may outweigh the difficulties with such a move, including the profits and reputation status we mentioned earlier. There is much to think about, so weigh up all the pros and cons before you take the leap abroad.

Go Japanese Or Go Home

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Japan is a popular destination for tourists. In fact, a small island in Japan has even been named the most popular travel destination in 2018. Needless to say, the island nation is becoming an attractive area, both regarding culture and landscape. The global public has fallen in love with the kawaii characters and the healthy sushi – even though most people continue to refer to all the Japanese cuisine in terms of sushi – and more and more tourists plan their holiday in the island where the sun rises first. But aside from being an exciting vacation destination, Japan is also a fantastic place to start building your business empire. With its mixture of reliability, innovativeness, cultural differences and growing markets, Japan has everything you need to grow your startup safely and durably. So what’s stopping you from going Japanese and making a success of it? Here are the key lessons you need to learn before approaching the Japanese market.

They love apps in Japan

Japan is by far one of the most modern countries in the world. As a result, it’s also the country where apps are the most popular, and especially gaming apps. In fact, despite its small size, Japan is the first country in terms of consumption of gaming app, enabling developers and app companies to profit significantly from monetizing their application to the Japanese market. Japanese users are more likely to use in-app purchases, creating an average revenue per download of $6.34, opposed to the cost per install of $1.86. So, if you’re considering the internationalization of your business, you need to give your app Japanese exposure to approach this profitable market. From a practical point of view, you should offer a Japanese version of all play apps, as it’s the best way to grow your revenues effectively. Lifestyle and networking apps are also big in Japan, as the market reacts positively to the western culture. For businesses, it’s a simple enough tech alternative to testing a new market without a high budget involvement.

You can trust Japanese engineering for your business

Japanese engineering is received positively all around the world. In fact, when it comes to everyday items, more and more users turn to Japanese manufacturers for replacement parts to fix their IT devices. Last year, Murata Manufacturing, a Japanese manufacturer, announced that their parts still support Apple’s technological leaps forwards with the iPhone X. Another common everyday item that benefits from the Japanese engineering quality is your car. Japanese cars have a reputation for being extremely reliable, more than American or even German cars. Automakers such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota, have long proven their worth, and even though you could apply for a Nissan extended warranty plan, you probably know that it’s likely you’ll never need it. The natural effort that Japanese manufacturers put in design and research pays off so that pieces last longer and don’t need to be often replaced. Working with a Japanese partner in any part of a manufacturing project is a profitable choice.  

An intensely innovative and playful country

Every year, CEATEC opens its door to the largest electronics show in Japan. And every year the nation that has invented the Walkman and the blue LED light continues to fascinate visitors with their innovative approach to electronics. Last year, CEATEC introduced a Bluetooth bitescan, designed to measure your chewing strokes. The purpose? Helping people to eat healthily by maximizing their chewing habits, and ultimately collecting data to improve the food and dental industries. Japan has also brought a new identifiable print to the market, the earprint, which is much more difficult to fake than a fingerprint. Finally, for those trying to lose weight, an infrared calorie counter can help you to know how much you’re really consuming in a meal. What would you give to share these innovations with your audience?

The joy of Japanese partnerships

Admittedly, if you already have a business outside of Japan, you may only be looking for a partner to expand your activities on the island of the rising sun. You might as well gain new insights into business management and performance management by developing a close connecting with a Japanese firm. Indeed, management in Japan doesn’t start in the office. Management is designed by people for people, and it has a clear purpose: To help you to make the most of your knowledge and expertise in your life. As Japanese has a deep understanding of the value of each individual, they, therefore, ensure that business management delivers individual value to each employee.

Who is the Japanese customer?

If you’re looking to understand the Japanese customer, it’s important to understand that while the market is different, most consumers are learning lessons from their European and American counterparts. Discounted prices and online retailers have now become a popular behavior in Japan too. In other words, you might want to remember the lessons learned on the Western market regarding best value for money items, as you will be using these to enter the Japanese market. The typical Japanese household spends more time at home than going out, and they choose lunch boxes over lunch offers. In short, if you want to export, you need to deliver exceptional value.

What does the market want?

However, you’d be pleased to know that exporting onto the Japanese market can be easy. Indeed, you are dealing with an audience who is attracted to Western products. Surprisingly, while American and European customers love the cuteness of kawaii items, their Japanese neighbors find our Snoopy, Smurf, Bart Simpson and Barbapapa just as cute and desirable. In fact, you could almost say that Western characters have a kawaii reputation in Japan, among children and adults. Lifestyle items, from fashion to beauty products, are especially sought for, as Japanese customers long for Western life and overseas trips. However, you will need to ensure that your export items don’t go against some of the trade barriers. There are indeed specific rules and regulations to comply with if you want to export, so it’s important to work closely with your local Department of Commerce and to link with Japanese offices.

In conclusion, there is a lot of potential for startups and existing businesses to turn to the Japanese market for growth and partnership. Innovativeness, creativity, playfulness, management skills, and new kawaii culture, there is a lot to gain from building a business relationship with Japan.

Taking Your Brand to a Global Level

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While the world itself may not be getting any smaller, it often feels as though it is. As business owners, the leaps and bounds that technology have made in making the world our oyster are astounding. Now, we can easily reach people who live hundreds of thousands of miles away from us: customers, contacts, and partners alike. So, it’s not all too surprising that many of us are starting to consider taking our own brands to a global level. The trouble is knowing where to start! But not to worry. Here are a couple of small steps that you can take to take your brand beyond your own borders.

International Shipping

If you take a look at up and coming businesses, you may begin to notice a certain odd trend among them: they don’t offer international shipping. This is absolutely bizarre. However, when you search for a reason behind this, things tend to boil down to the fact that many new business owners simply think that shipping overseas is too much hassle. They think that there are all sorts of protocols and time-consuming aspects involved in the process. But they couldn’t be more wrong! After all, shipping overseas is really just as simple for the person posting the goods as sending items to any other location. Whether you are sending just one item through a courier or sending huge loads and large quantities of items on a convair 580, the time and effort involved in getting the items from A to B doesn’t fall into your lap. So, convenience is by no means a reason to avoid shipping overseas. Especially not when there are so many benefits that come hand in hand with reaching out to an international market! Think about it: the further your brand reaches out, the more customers it will draw in. This is especially poignant considering that we live in the internet age and chances are that people are sharing images of your stock all over the world. You can maximize your profits by making sure that what’s being shared is available to as many people as possible through international shipping options. This also doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to front the cost. Many buyers will happily cover the exact shipping costs in return for an item that they truly want. You never know where your largest consumer base could be and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same country that your business is based in. So, expand and embrace overseas interest!

Networking

Once you’ve worked out how you’re going to get your goods overseas, it’s time to start networking. One-off sales may be all well and good, but to make serious money, you could do with finding someone to stock your wares overseas in tangible stores where customers can see the items for themselves. This is easier than ever. While you could still make long-haul business trips, most networking can be done via email, video chat, and phone calls.

These are just two ways to take your brand overseas, but they are good starting blocks to take off from!

The Land Of Opportunity: 4 Benefits Of An Overseas Business

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To start a business, you need to focus on what you know, right? So, the idea of traversing the oceans to a brave new land seems stupid. The clue is the word “foreign.” Duh! It’s for this reason why lots of companies start out here but never make it abroad. Entrepreneurs want to keep things as simple as possible, and moving elsewhere is complicated. But, what if an overseas business was the key to your success? Would you consider making a move?

The following are four reasons you shouldn’t dismiss the idea out of hand.

Untapped Markets

An increase in competition is the problem business owners face today. The internet, as well as a boost in mentality, means there are more startups than ever. Even if Forbes is right and 80% fail, there’s still 20% left to go onto the second year. Plus, it takes up to six months before they start to close, and it’s crucial to get off to a fantastic start. In simple terms, there is too much competition to make the company a success. Thankfully, it isn’t the case in countries across the globe. The Middle East is a place looking to lure entrepreneurs, as are India and Bangladesh.

Better Funding

If the UAE wants to bring people to the country, it doesn’t spare any expense. Instead, it throws money at the problem until the great and the good agree because the offer is too lucrative. Sure, it may not be a viable business model for much longer, but who cares? They are offering lots of money to cover the costs of your startup in a non-competitive environment. The potential for growth, therefore, is enormous. Plus, Abu Dhabi isn’t a terrible place to reside for a few years.

Cheaper Expenses

The fact some governments hand out grants is one reason for lower costs. But, there are multiple other factors, too. Do you need an office? It is possible to work from home, but genuine firms like to invest in office space. The great news is that office space for rent is a lot cheaper in individual countries around the world. India has already got a mention, but there is Thailand, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. More importantly, they are not dingy countries with no influence. Thailand, for instance, is the powerhouse of Southeast Asia along with Indonesia. Obviously, the cost of labor and living is cheaper also.

Tax Break

No one likes talking about tax breaks out loud because it makes you seem like a money grabber. Well, tax is a significant expense which lots of businesses can’t afford. If you are one of them, are you going to accept it and watch the company fail? Of course not! You are going to look for ways to cut the cost, and moving abroad is a viable option. Switzerland may not be a cheap place to rent office space, but the rate of tax is minimal. And, it’s legal and above board. The Bahamas and Cayman Islands are two alternatives.

It’s savvy to keep things simple, but the benefits of moving abroad may be worth a complication or two.