With over 30 million small businesses in the USA in 2018, there has never been a better time to form your own. Many American entrepreneurs are now taking action to set up their own business, doing something they love. While this may start off on small-scale in your local area, it could grow into something bigger within a few years. That type of expansion could see you selling your product or services internationally to meet demand.
Of course, the business you form could trade internationally from the start. This is especially true for any e-commerce enterprises which can now use global marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to sell through. However you begin to start selling overseas, it means that efficiently handling business dealings with your foreign clients is essential.
If you make the move to expand abroad then interacting with your foreign clients is one of the major challenges that you will face. Being able to provide the best service to your foreign clients will help open up the whole world as your market to drive future business growth.
Top tips for doing business abroad
If you are new to doing business overseas, there are some tips to help you below.
Use an online money transfer company – one big question to answer is how you will receive payments from foreign clients. If you have satellite offices open in foreign locations to serve customers there, you also need to find a way to send them money if needed and to receive some back. An efficient way is to use online money transfer companies. Not only are they secure and quick to use but also can save you up to 90% on fees compared to using a traditional bank. It is always worth shopping around though to find the broker that has the best exchange rate on the day you need to complete the transfer. FX Compared and other online comparison sites are the simplest and fastest way to do this.
- Check any documents and taxes – this is a great tip if you are sending goods to a foreign client via courier or the post. Always make sure to check before you send as to what documents you require to get the goods into the country; what items are prohibited in that country and any additional taxes that you may have to pay for importing the goods. Many foreign countries have very different rules to the USA so be sure to think about this when dealing with foreign clients.
- Remember time zones – you may think that phoning a foreign client up at 11am is fine but it won’t be if it is actually 3am in their country! You will not get a reputation for good customer service if you make a habit of disturbing people’s sleep. Instead, always check what time zone they are in and what the time it is there before calling or getting in touch.
- Think about their culture – one very challenging aspect of dealing with foreign clients can be adapting to their culture. Different countries have different takes on how they speak to people, what kind of language is used and what is considered offensive. Make sure you know the cultural values that your foreign client has so you can communicate with them effectively.
- Use their language if you can – ok, we know that learning Arabic to be able to converse with the one customer you have who speaks it is not really feasible. If you do happen to know some of the language that your foreign client speaks though, be sure to make use of it. This will go down very well and can often make business dealings much easier.
- Tailor your marketing to the market – one key point for dealing with foreign clients is getting your approach right. Research the country or region your clients are in to see what tactics they respond to best. Some foreign clients will actually prefer you to be direct and almost adopt the ‘hard sell’ mentality. Other clients, however, may find this a real no-no. By understanding what they want, you can give it to them.
International business for global success
As digital technology makes business increasingly international then you will probably have to deal with foreign clients at some point. Even if you only started selling your products online a week ago, you could get e-mail enquiries or orders from somewhere abroad. Being able to deal with that will open up your business to the entire planet and give you millions of potential customers to interact with.