Tips for Starting an International Business

There are many great business opportunities for those who are brave enough to venture past the borders of their home country. The problem with this, however, lies in the fact that doing proper research, preparing business infrastructure and executing your business plans, suddenly become far more complex.

Now, add to this the cultural, language and often currency barrier and what you get is a seemingly unfavorable scenario. All of these things, however, can work to your favor, as well, since they give you an easier way of offering something new. Moreover, in the age of the internet, the above-discussed obstacles aren’t nearly as hard to overcome. Here are some tips to further help you out.

1. Check the market need

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that you’re dealing with a different culture, which also may mean some restrictions in your business plans. Take for instance the viral video of Russian president Putin, laughing at a minister who suggested increasing the export of pork to Indonesia (world’s largest Muslim country). This lack of awareness can doom some of your business ideas to failure from the very start. Therefore, start by doing proper research. All of this needs to be a part of your process of checking the market need. The lack of this type of awareness is the main reason why 42 percent of startups fail (globally).

2. Study local laws

The next important thing you need to consider is the local labor laws. Chances are that you’ll employ the majority of the local workforce and your relationship to them might be affected by local labor laws. Other than this, you need to check the situation with taxes. You need to be extra careful here in order to see whether you have to pay income taxes both here and back at home. Needless to say, this can also make the situation far more complex when it comes to repatriation of profits. For this reason alone, it’s best if you consult local tax accountants before making any moves.

3. Find local partners

One of the things that you should be aware of is the fact that it’s usually easier to find a local partner. The problem lies in the fact that finding an individual that you can trust, half-a-way across the world, isn’t such a simple task. Fortunately, some companies are specializing in the industry. For instance, let’s say that you had your mindset on the popular business hub in the UAE. The safest course of action would be to reach out to a company that specializes in setting up a business in Dubai. Remember that they have contacts and in-depth knowledge of local regulations that are far beyond from what you can develop, even with extensive research.

4. Affiliate or subsidiary

Another major question that you have to ask is whether you should start an affiliate or a subsidiary. Start by considering your priorities. Are you just trying to penetrate a distant market or do you have some intentions of investing some serious effort into establishing your presence there? Next, think about your odds of moving there and giving the company attention that it deserves. All of these questions can be quite helpful in plotting the future course for your enterprise.

5. Intellectual property

Lastly, you need to keep your eye on one major problem – intellectual property rights usually don’t extend past national borders. This is why Wendy’s was banned from doing business in the EU under that same name and why Burger King goes under the franchise name of Hungry Jack’s in Australia. Keep in mind that it’s far easier to check this ahead of time than try to resolve this issue later on. Also, keep in mind that tackling two different brand names may require a bit more expensive marketing campaign.


Those who dare – win and there’s a reason why, despite all these challenges, so many entrepreneurs persist in their idea of launching an international business. The reason is the fact that this idea really can be quite lucrative. With the right course of action, you can find this out for yourself a lot sooner and get to reap the fruits of your labor without any unnecessary obstructions. All you need is some professional help and the right amount of research.

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