Growth Planning & Strategy

Taking Your Business Overseas: 5 Tips to Consider

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Every small business owner fantasizes about expanding their business locally and internationally. But while growing your business locally may seem easy, doing the latter can be challenging.

Taking your business overseas, to a country like Japan, for instance, is the difficult version of establishing a business in your country—a place you are very familiar with. However, that shouldn’t deter you from expanding.

Establishing a branch of your business overseas is possible. But there are some things you need to consider first before making any real move. We have highlighted four of them below.

1. Do Your Research

Failure to plan is planning to fail. The first step to taking your business overseas is by carrying out extensive research. The aim of your research is to determine two main things:

  • If there is interest in your product or services
  • The nature of the competition in the market you plan on entering

Your research should also include learning about other businesses within your niche. For instance, if you are a restaurant, ensure you research other restaurants that are already operating.

When taking your business overseas, you should steer clear of already saturated markets or where there is a similar business offering the same services as you.

2. Learn the Language

Of course, language barriers are often one of the biggest challenges associated with taking your business overseas. Even though less than 20% of Americans are bilingual, English is not the main language for conducting business. In most foreign markets, customers say they are more inclined to do business when the products are offered in their language.

While it makes sense to study a language yourself, you can also create a multilingual business by leveraging call centers with native speakers. Alternatively, you can consider hiring translators, whichever suits you.

3. Be Updated about International Business Principles and Regulations

If you are a resident of the United States, managing a business in a country like Japan will be challenging, especially if you lack insights into their business principles, cultural customs, rules, etc.

Because failing to understand a foreign country’s rules, legal customs, regulations, etc., can hurt your business, it makes sense to hire an attorney with experience in international industry and the country you are expanding to.

If you are expanding to a country like Japan, you’ll need to hire a cash management service in the country. With the help of such a service, you won’t have to worry about how to open a bank account in Japan, as they’ll help you open the account and manage it for you. That way, you should be able to pay taxes, employees’ salaries, and suppliers.

4. Leverage the Appropriate Technological Resources

Technology can ease the burden of traveling always.

Why travel to, say, Japan to have a meeting with your partners when you can do so in the comfort of your home?

Aside from communication, it is recommended that you leverage the right technology to collaborate with your foreign partners. Thanks to today’s tech, you can remain in contact with people overseas. That way, you can save time and money that would have been spent on air travel.

5. Build Relationships

Networking is the lifeblood of an international business. If you want to establish your business overseas successfully, you’ll need to learn how to connect with people (in your country) who have done something similar to what you intend to do, including those who are driving forces in your target market. All these individuals are essential, you’ll need them to achieve your goal.


Establishing a business overseas can be challenging. However, with adequate planning, patience, the right connection, and insights, you can establish your foreign business in no time without much hassle.

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