How to Start a Business Overseas

Starting a business is a great challenge that can offer untold rewards for the ambitious and hard-working entrepreneur. To be one’s own boss, to follow and develop a personal vision, to be a positive force in the market; the benefits of owning a business are almost too numerous to list. It can be ultimate freedom for those willing to put in the work. A local business is the obvious first step for many, but what about those attempting to expand globally or start a small business overseas? The situation can get more complicated, but again the rewards can make all of the effort pay off.

Use your local resources for guidance and advice. The best teachers are those with relevant experience, so utilize all of your networking and connections to find other entrepreneurs who have gone a similar route. Businesses set up in the region you’re interested in will be particularly valuable. They can help you evaluate the local market, find prime locations, and get to know the area. Nothing is more frustrating than going through all the trouble involved in setting up for your grand opening only to find out you’ve misread the market or invested in low exposure real estate.

Be knowledgeable of cultural differences that will change the way your business operates. In some countries, business runs essentially the same way as it does in the States. The only difference for you may be an easily bridged language gap. However, many countries around the world are tightly wound up in age old cultural traditions that make doing business much more difficult for foreigners. Commercial practices may seem confusing and nonsensical to the outsider-be wary of how you enter these markets. You might feel like you’re bringing American ingenuity to a less industrially advanced land, but the native businesses won’t see things the same way.

The local laws of your prospective location can also throw a wrench in your spokes. Get in touch with the US Department of Commerce before getting too deep into any international endeavors. Become an expert on tax consequences, business regulations, and local laws to be sure you don’t make any false steps. Ignorance of the law does not justify the breaking of it. Where you think you’re innocent, you may be found guilty. Don’t let this intimidate you, simply be aware of it. Just as there are laws pertaining to business at home, there are rules and regulations abroad.

Finally, look into offshore company formation. The world of international business regulations is a vast web of red tape, but setting up as an offshore company can make things easier for the foreign entrepreneur. If your company is based in the United States, but expands to do large amounts of business in other countries, you may be exempt from certain taxation practices in those countries due to being a non-resident. Rather than building from the ground up on foreign soil, you might make things easier on yourself and your business by remaining offshore and expanding your territory.

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