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How to Start a Business Overseas: Tips and Tricks for Expatriates

by Lois Earles
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If you’re an expatriate looking to make a career change, or maybe you already are, but want to take it one step further — launching your own business is an excellent way to make that happen. When thinking of starting a business outside your home country, most people imagine sitting in front of their computers and heading straight into the details.

But what if you actually have something to offer the world that other businesses don’t? Or if you think that your idea would be too risky? What if opening up a new business venture overseas is the right choice for you? Here are some helpful business tips and tricks for expatriates.

1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to international partners

One of the best ways to get your foot in the door with potential partners is to set up an office abroad. You can meet with local clients, establish clients in your target market, and begin the process of pitching and negotiating deals with partners and investors — all from the safety of your own office chair.

Virtual offices are easy to set up with cheap international calls to Nigeria for instance, and they allow you to keep a watchful eye on things from anywhere in the world. You can also set up a virtual office and handle partner onboarding, product testing, and more remotely. Remote collaboration is key when you’re working on a project or dealing with customers in different time zones.

2. Network, network, and network

You’re going to spend the majority of your time working for others, so make the most of every opportunity to get to know other professionals in your field. There’s no sense being “all in” with only a few partners when you can be all in with the world. Meet with fellow professionals in your industry over coffee or at a networking event. Ask them about their experiences, and learn from them. Networking groups are always looking for new members.

So, if you have experience in a specific niche, or are just looking to expand your horizons, joining a group can be a great way to show off your skills and meet like-minded professionals.

3. Set up a crowdfunding site

If your business is planning on taking risks (pun intended) and going against the grain, consider setting up a crowdfunding site. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have created online communities for creative entrepreneurs, enabling them to fund their projects with limited or no funding requirements.

The beauty of crowdfunding sites is that it’s not only about funding but also about taking part in the community of backers. You get to interact with your fans and followers, ask them for feedback, and see what they have to say. Crowdfunding can be a great way to get your ideas out to the world and make them a reality.

4. Research is key

As with anything new, getting your idea out to the world and seeing if it withstands scrutiny will take some time. You’re going to have to do plenty of research, find out what regulations exist, and assess the risks involved with your idea. You don’t need to start from scratch, either — there are many online resources that can help you out with all of this. Once you’ve determined whether your idea is commercially viable, you can start planning the next steps.

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