It’s always an exciting time for a small business when they realise that they can start to grow internationally. It’s a true testament that speaks about their hard work, their expertise, and their creativity. However, it is also a moment that needs to be approached with great care.
As much as the world has changed and made it easier than ever for people from all over the globe to connect and collaborate, there are always going to be things that you will need to keep in mind when you step out of your comfort zone, from language barriers to specific customs. If your business is looking to expand beyond your home nation, here are a few essentials that you will need to keep in mind.
Do Your Research
We’re starting with an obvious one here, as any business worth its salt will of course do its due diligence before a meeting with any potential client, customer, or business. However, when you’re working with an international business, you need to make sure you have even more time and resources set aside to make sure that you understand everything from local customs to their working hours. When does the Italian working day start? Do you still bow when you meet someone in Japan? It will inevitably be something of a learning process, but the time spent doing your research will play to your advantage.
Make Sure You Have The Translation Tools You Need
While some people may find that they can go on holiday without researching the local language, that approach is not recommended for business. It’s also not enough to hope that you can get by on half-remembered school lessons in that language, or assuming that a few hours spent using a free learning tool will be sufficient. You need a professional translation service set up before you commit to this working relationship.
Given that it may be some time yet before we are all getting on a plane for a boardroom meeting face to face, ensuring that you have expert telephone interpretation should be a priority for you and your business. Telephone interpretation is simple in that it’s consecutive interpreting, and London Translations offers a bespoke service with interpreters available 24/7. If you book far enough in advance, you can also make sure that your interpreter has all the prior knowledge they need to account for any specifics of the business you’re discussing.
You May Need To Make Some Adjustments
Whenever we enter into a business relationship with someone new, we know that we’re taking a bit of a leap into the unknown, and we prepare ourselves to be flexible enough to meet their needs. When you’re conducting business internationally, that mental note to be patient and accommodating needs to go to the top of your checklist.
You need to remember that you are working with a person or a team from an entirely different professional culture, and while there will of course be similarities, you’ll need to allow for differences. We found a way for everyone in our business to work from home, so this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!