Starting a business is no easy feat, especially if you’re thinking of starting one overseas. Now that the economy is picking up, many entrepreneurs are taking advantage and traveling abroad to launch their businesses.
But don’t start packing your bags just yet. Before you decide to leave your country’s borders, here are a few tips to starting your business abroad.
1. Localize your idea, vision and expectations.
Diving into the local culture is essential for any entrepreneur. Find a local mentor or investor who can help guide you to understand the culture and the local consumer. This is key to meeting the right partners, launching at the right conferences, and knowing who to trust.
If you don't know one right off the bat, look in LinkedIn to see if colleagues can connect you with others that are located in the country. You could also look at joining Meetup groups, reaching out to local business networks or researching online for websites that specialize in expats living in the country you are looking to set up shop in.
2. Learn the language.
This seems like an obvious one but sometimes learning a language can feel almost as challenging as starting your business. Even poor language skills are better than none. Besides taking classes, you can also learn a new language through various apps or meet up with someone that speaks the language fluently and work with them to hone your skills.
3. Live like the locals.
Be genuinely interested in the country and its culture. Get out and meet your customer or participate in cultural experiences every day. The market, customer base, customer preferences and behavior aren't native to you, it’s important to take in as much as possible.
4. Study the competition, both past and present.
Before entering a new market, every entrepreneur knows to research the competition. But don’t stop there. Study five companies that tried to enter that market and failed. Those who fail to learn from others' past failures are destined to repeat it.
5. Build a new network.
Your old network becomes less actionable when you move abroad, so you’ll need to build a new local one. Leverage the fact that expats in a small community are fewer and far between, making it easier to connect with new people.
Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit should at least try venturing out abroad. But don’t go in blindly, be patient, persistent, develop thick skin and keep in mind some of my tips. It’ll be the journey of a lifetime.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
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