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Taking your business abroad – what to do before you spread your wings

One way to grow your business is taking your business abroad and sell your product or service to the rest of the world. Another is to relocate or open subsequent offices elsewhere.

But wouldn’t that just be a load of red tape and a very big headache?

There will inevitably be a whole host of things to think about, but you might be surprised at just how keen some countries are to have your business.

Where should I go?

If you know where in the world you want to trade or move to, that’s the first job done. If not, you’ll need to do some research into where your business will most likely succeed. For the last 12 years, Forbes has published a list of the best countries to do business in. The latest can be found here.

This is not the first year that the UK has taken the top spot.

It will be important to look at how easy it is to start a business, what the tax system is like, perhaps what the schools are like and how they treat women in the workplace.

Do I need to learn the language?

Despite the fact that English is well spoken in many countries, to really succeed you should try and learn their language. People won’t expect you to be fluent overnight but being able to attempt it shows you’re serious about doing business there. If you’re going to live there, then it will help you to integrate and make friends much quicker.

Should you hire an interpreter?

There are lots of websites out there which help you to translate into other languages. They can be useful for standard printed documents or a short email but if you’re going to meetings to negotiate new business premises or terms of business, you’ll want an interpreter. You can even hire an interpreter for hospital visits or a trip to the local estate agent.

Do you need to change your brand if you are taking your business abroad?

If you’re not careful, your brand could literally get lost in translation or worse seriously offend. When you started your business, creating a brand that would work globally probably wasn’t high up on the list of priorities. However, it might be worth checking that your use of colour or phrases is ok and that any colloquialisms still make sense.

You might, for example, choose some nice yellow flowers as a gift for a host. In the UK, yellow is considered a happy colour but in Greece and Egypt, yellow is the colour for mourning. Always good to check!

A quick reminder

There is a whole new audience for your business but there are lots of things to consider before you make a move. Here’s a quick recap:-

  • Do your research.
  • Try to learn the language.
  • Hire an interpreter for important meetings.
  • Check your brand and marketing for possible conflicts.
  • Speak to people who have made the same move.

If you require specific advice on taking your business abroad please get in touch with us.


Avatar for Mark Ingle
About Mark Ingle

Owner-manager business specialist, Mark Ingle is key to building relationships with clients at the Chelmsford office. “I like to see clients enterprises grow and succeed.” Mark explains, “The team here has a lot to offer and I can see a lot of new businesses responding to that.”

Having worked for accountancy practices in London and Essex, Mark has worked with a range of companies varying in size. For Mark, THP stands out for its “local firm approach with the resources of a larger practice.”

Although a keen traveller, Mark is focused on giving his clients at THP the highest service, “Right now, I aim to help the clients we have to the best of my ability which will help me attract more of the right clients in the future.”

Mark’s specialist skills:

  • Annual and Management Accounts
  • Tax and VAT
  • Strategy and Business Planning
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Business Development
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