When you first begin an international business things can be a bit scary. There are the risks of not be sure whether you’ll get your money from international clients, whether there are hidden costs and adjusting and whether there are different legal considerations to take into account.
There are also cultural differences to adapt to which can impact all areas of your business. Market research can help you answer many questions, but it can only go so far. Things rarely run smoothly as planned for first timers in foreign market entry. This is where international business skills are necessary.
Three skills are important when you enter a new market and open up an international business: risk management in an unknown environment, flexibility and adaptability. In addition to this you also need solid cross-cultural skills in communication, marketing and sales. The article series here cover the following aspects of international business development:
- International Business Basics
- International Business Skills
- International Business Examples
- International Websites
These article series will help you make the connection between cross-cultural competency and the international skills you need to make a successful international business.
International Business Basics
A good understanding of how culture impacts your international business helps you to manage risk better, identify the right business opportunities to seize, and generally provides you with a framework to make your international business a success. This article series gives you insights into how culture impacts your international business.
This is a series on how to use information products within a lead generation strategy. You can use culture-customized information products for international market research or as a low entry product to learn more about new international markets. First hand feedback from your target markets is always valuable.
This series is aimed at getting you started in thinking about your current business and the possibilities you have for international business development. You’ll still have to do your own market research. But the aim here is simply to get you to move forward in understanding your international business opportunities.
International Business Skills
Your mindset determines how you approach business with people who are different, who do things differently and who have different ways of reacting to you and your product. This series of articles covers the importance of your mindset and provides guidelines on how to develop the mindset you need for a success international business.
Many online businesses today do not do enough networking to develop their business well in international markets. You need more than your website and a bit of international marketing. Your international business success often requires a strong networking plan to give you the information you need to find business opportunities, new clients and also to obtain the information you need to limit any possible risks. Here are some insights into good international networking practices.
When you’re doing business in cultures different to your own market research is critical. It’s critical before entering a new market and it’s also important even when you are well established within foreign markets. Your market research helps you to manage the risk of doing business in different countries. International business professionals always listen for market feedback and pick up different ways of gathering market information. In this series I share what I learned about international market research after 25 years in international marketing and sales.
The changes happening within our domestic markets also impact international business. Many countries are now evolving to an environment of online communication which opens new opportunities for international business. There are more native language domain names opening up the web for these countries. Social media is established well enough in many countries to become interesting for international market research. Read more about international business trends here.
International Business Examples
It’s always interesting to read other international business stories. We can learn from there mistakes, get new ideas and identify different international business models and compare them to our own business. Here are some examples of international businesses using international web marketing to reach and develop new foreign markets.
As a North American with a business in France I’m often asked about the trend in French entrepreneurs leaving France to set up their businesses in other countries… mainly in the United States. This is what sparked my interest in international entrepreneurs. This is a series on international entrepreneurs who may not be well known but who have interesting stories behind their international success and relevant today.
This series shows you how to internationalize your website to improve your communication with a wide international audience. Even if you decide not to create a fully internationalized website, there are many small ways to tweak your current website to make it more appealing to international audiences. These small changes will help you stop pushing your international visitors away.
Website internationalization is a good first step as part of an international web marketing strategy. It is also an obvious choice for small businesses after more international clients. It can be a first step as part of a bigger international strategy to give you the time to get some feedback from your international markets. And it’s also a great starting point before creating native language versions of your website to further develop your international markets. Here are some things you can do to internationalize your website today.
Website localization is adapting your website communication to target a specific cultural audience. And it means adapting all of your communication. It goes beyond translation and includes every aspect of what you say, how you say it, when you say it and also how you respond to others. This series is about localizing your website for better international communication with your foreign markets.
The best website to support your international business is a global website. A global website is a central hub communicating with a broad international audience and linking to a number of localized websites to reach out to different countries. This series is about how to work towards website globalization in an international business development strategy.
Now, It’s Your Turn
- What do you find the most challenging in cross-cultural communication?
- How important is cross-cultural competence in your business?
- What do you do to improve your cross-cultural competence?