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Starting a Business Abroad

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Starting a Business Abroad

Setting up shop abroad is not for the fainthearted: becoming a foreign entrepreneur will be hugely challenging on both a professional and personal level but it can also be the adventure of a lifetime. Done right, your alternate perspective as a foreigner can make a wonderful contribution to your host culture, while you gain fantastic opportunities for financial and personal growth. If you think you might be up to the challenge, here are some things to think about.

Which country to choose?

US News claimed that Asia is the best continent for entrepreneurs. In a 2017 ranking on the best countries to start business all of the top five were Asian countries with Thailand taking the top spot. Ultimately though, which country you believe to be best really depends on you and your business. If you have an emotional attachment, language skills or contacts in a certain country it makes sense to try your luck there. Equally, considering whether demand for your product is high in that country is vitally important. 

Research and preparation

Be prepared to do a lot of research before you make the move. Immigration laws, tax leglislation, the political climate at your destination – these are all things you must be well versed in. Certain countries are actively encouraging foreign start-ups and have attractive entrepreneur visa programmes if you have the right qualifications and enough capital so take advantage of these if you can. 

You also will need to consider the personal side of life as an expat. Research international health insurance policies as your country’s system or your private health insurance may not cover medical emergencies when you’re overseas. If you have children, consider whether you want to put them in the local school system or international school. Where you will live, what you will eat and wear are important considerations to your happiness in your host country. 

Cultural integration

There really is no excuse not to learn a language anymore, thanks to the use of language learning apps and other more expensive programmes such as Rosetta Stone along with the rising trend of Skype language lessons with teachers from over the world. Language ability will be more necessary for certain business types than others but, whatever your situation, definitely aim to achieve some level of linguistic competence before you arrive and keep aiming to improve while you are there. Language is only the start of your cultural integration journey though. Bear in mind that there may be business practices that are very different from what you are used to. As well as researching online and in books, the best way to understand these cultural differences is by asking a trusted local. It can help if you have a business partner who is native to your chosen country. Regardless, you are bound to make mistakes as you adapt so forgive yourself the occasional cultural faux pas and continue to learn from them. 

In the 21st century there is no reason why your entrepreneurial ambitions should stop at national borders. If you think you are up to the challenge, share your talent with the world.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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