Guide The Challenge of International Business

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As such, there are many challenges you will face as you operate your business in this economy. The challenges in operating a global company include languages and cultures, different legal landscapes, communication and technology and differing environmental concerns.

The global marketplace, coupled with the ubiquity of the internet, makes it possible for all businesses to play on fair ground. While the culture is quite similar across most western countries, there can be stark differences when the cultures from other parts of the world are considered, such as the east, Africa, and the Middle-East. You will have to take time to learn important cultural differences if your business is going to succeed across borders. While red may mean danger in most places on the globe, it is associated with good luck in China, so you might want to give your marketing color-scheme a different approach while you market to the Chinese.

Challenges of Operating a Business in a Global Economy |

As long as your business crosses borders, you will be subject to many laws, tax rules, and numerous regulations surrounding trade in different countries. This compliance is challenging in the sense that it changes from country to country and requires you to keep up with different jurisdictions in order to ensure your business is always operating within the law.

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One of the greatest challenges facing companies that have staff and operations across borders is having a centralized communication system that makes it possible to compare notes across physically distanced departments and branches. If you run different technological systems in different parts of your company, then it might be a challenge to synchronize them and enhance communication within the company. This can lead to a decline in efficiency and even hurt the sales and profitability of the company.

Most of the world takes a keen interest in conserving the environment and reversing the effects of global warming. If you feel you're ready to tackle the challenges of international business, follow this advice from business leaders who have been in your shoes. If you plan on expanding globally, you'll want a great team or partner. Even if your "partner" takes the form of a mentor, you'll want someone you trust and who can vouch for you. Caicedo said it's crucial to establish a local office and team that understand the market and language to comply with local regulations.

The people you hire to deal with your overseas business partners and customers must be immersed in the local environment, but they should also be looking out for your interests. Biolife President Mark Brewer said those expanding internationally shouldn't rush the process of finding trusted and reliable strategic alliances.

When you're looking specifically for a distributor, Brewer said, don't assume the largest one is automatically the best. Morris said it is vital to make sure that when you do expand, you have the right infrastructure in place to ensure a smooth launch. Instead of only thinking about how your own country's customers might receive your new ideas, you'll need to think about how foreign customers will receive your ideas.


If you don't do this ahead of time, you run the risk of offending your international partners by appearing to be more concerned about yourself [than] them. Before making major business decisions, you should think through all possible scenarios — especially during global expansion. Chao advises those expanding their business internationally to spend time in the country they want to break into.

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An information-gathering trip can be a focal point to develop a plan for moving forward. It is important for businesses looking for international growth to understand that they will need help. Chao said this can be particularly tough for smaller businesses, because they have likely been doing everything on their own up to this point. Rely on experts. Once you do expand, be prepared for some bumps in the road.

That may mean changing how you operate in some ways. Once you launch overseas, you will have a whole new customer base to support.

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Roger Sholanki, CEO and founder of Book4Time , a provider of next-generation wellness management software that operates in 70 countries, said your current system of customer support will need significant changes when you expand internationally. Additional reporting by Nicole Fallon and Saige Driver. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has spent more than 20 years in media. A journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in as a freelance writer. In , he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role.

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