In an ever more globalised world, the opportunities for businesses to expand internationally have never been as promising as they are now. It’s hard for us to remember how business was done before the nineties, when the internet waded in and made connections across the world possible in just seconds. Many industries have gone from strength to strength as a result of this, and 2017 has seen an increase in ecommerce already. As the Internet of Things begins to take hold, connectivity opportunities mean global communication has never been better. However, it is important for business owners around the world to concentrate on the importance of face to face meetings, in order to build real connections. We look here at some tips for making sure your international business goes well.
Set up a pre-meeting via conference calling
Negotiating only through email is impersonal, and recent years have seen the art of communicating and connecting with clients as one of the most important elements in business today. Our use of smartphones makes apps such as Face Time and Skype plausible ways to communicate face to face, to develop trust and show that you know who you’re talking to. Just as you need to engage your target audience with a smoothly oiled UX machine, so you should focus on providing business partners overseas with a top user experience when they are dealing with your company. If you can traverse time zones, it is possible to have offices both here in the UK and overseas, which can communicate at all times via screen link up, creating an international feel and culture to your business.
Know your audience
Actually, this sentence has importance across several areas of business, but specifically in this situation, we are referring to putting some time and effort into researching cultural conventions of the country you are doing business with. Priding themselves on effective communication, some countries are very formal when it comes to business, and the meeting is king. Find out whether it is customary to drink, and what would make a good gift. Getting to know your target countries’ culture through conference calling and visiting will allow you to build a good relationship, and avoid making any embarrassing business faux pas, such as accidentally offending someone with a hand gesture.
Within the business world, respect is one of the key ingredients to success. One of the best ways you can demonstrate this respect is by observing cultural conventions, as well as trying to offer some key words or phrases in the native language. There are many apps which can help with this, offering translation and pronunciation guides. We are lucky to have been born in a country which speaks a language so internationally recognised, and as such many clients will have a basic understanding of English. However, this may be put through its paces when it comes to understanding industry jargon, so it is best to offer translation services. You may find that the company decide to bring their own translator, but offering this as an extra will demonstrate your commitment and show respect.
Your first meeting
After you have participated in conference calling online, your time to have the first face to face meeting will soon be upon you. As a business person, you will understand the great pressure time constraints can put on anyone in the business community. Trying to keep a work/life balance and cover all business needs can be draining. Necessity breeds invention, and Citizen M provide professional and well equipped offices located within many international airports to save you and your clients valuable time. Having a neutral business space like this to negotiate in also provides a good leveller.