Home Business Insights & Advice Three tips on starting a business abroad

Three tips on starting a business abroad

by John Saunders
25th Mar 20 3:44 pm

Starting a business is a challenge even when you do it where you grew up. Planning to start a business while abroad adds a few layers of complexity to make it even more of a challenge.

There are some advantages to starting a business in another country, however. For some, those added layers of complexities are worth it because of those benefits. Tax laws in some countries are so favorable that it simply makes sense to start a business there. In some cases, your home country may be too bureaucratic and a neighboring country makes the process much smoother.

In this article, we will go over some things that expatriates need to keep in mind when thinking about starting a business abroad.

1. Live there first

Having some on the ground experience in the country where you wish to operate can help out in many different ways. Since networking is essential to any entrepreneur, there is only one way to do that in a new country. Living there will open yourself up to many different contacts across different areas of the industry you choose.

Many cultures value relationships and those can only happen face to face so people can actually get to know each other. Others will be able to size you up and understand where your talents li

Also, you’ll understand how the bureaucracy works in that country. It could be easy or difficult, but when you understand the country, you’ll understand how to navigate the red tape.

Lastly, when you live there, you can understand how people themselves operate so you know what to expect from any potential partner to the employees you hope to hire locally.

2. Understand the competition

If you plan on trading locally and are not just using your new country as a headquarters for your business, then you’ll need to understand the competition. Try to find at least five other businesses in your sector that have failed.

Reach out to some business leaders that might be able to shed some light on what led to their failure. You can avoid a lot of the same mistakes and set yourself up in advance.

Then, try to analyse the top five that are getting things right. This is going to show you a roadmap to follow while the failed businesses can mark where the pitfalls are along the way.

3. Learn the language

Without learning the local language you put yourself at a distinct disadvantage. Any expat that doesn’t learn it is doing a disservice to themselves even if they aren’t opening a business there.

By understanding the local language when opening a business, however, is that you are in control of the information you send out and receive. If you don’t speak the language then you have to depend on people interpreting everything for you. Many times, this means things getting lost in translation.


If you have the opportunity and a great idea that warrants starting a new business and can do so in another country, then you should go for it.

With the global economy becoming more intertwined by the year, it makes sense to take advantage of that international trade.

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