Many people have found success moving to other countries and becoming enthusiastic expatriates, but there are a lot of challenges that can come with such a big change. If you’re trying to start a business, being an expatriate can be a big obstacle. Here are a few tips for overcoming those obstacles and clearing the path to starting your new business in your new home country.
1. Know the regulations
Wherever you’re living now, you should be able to find the official regulations for starting a business as a new citizen or on an extended visa. In fact, these regulations should be your basis for deciding on the type of visa you want to apply for. All this research and deciding, for maximum security, should be done before you even move to the new country. You should look for the visa with the most flexibility and give you the most options in case you have to change your plans. If you’ve already moved and selected a less than ideal visa, you may not be able to apply for a different visa and you will need to understand what your restrictions are and be respectful of them going forward.
A good idea for understanding the tax and reporting requirements for your area is to contact a local accountant, preferably one specializing in small businesses. They can help you understand where your business fits into the regulations, as well as translating regulations if your new country’s language isn’t one you’re fluent in.
2. Understand the basics
It’s understandable to want to jump into the deep end when undertaking something as big as starting a business in a new country. But it’s going to land you in hot water if you neglect to learn the basics of business before you begin. You’ll end up making tons of avoidable errors, like taking bad credit business loans and flying by the seat of your pants instead of following a business plan.
Your business plan should be the first step of this process, no matter how excited you are to start taking action. A plan will help legitimize your business to onlookers and will give you a road map for times when you aren’t sure what to do next. The plan should include marketing strategies, projections, funding, and should be made with local tax regulations in mind. If you’re a true beginner in business, consider taking some classes to learn the necessary skills and knowledge for your business.
3. Research additional costs
Running a business is frequently an expensive undertaking, especially in new countries where the import/export costs could be a lot higher than in the U.S. Even if your new home has a low cost of living, it’s still possible that you’re unprepared for the high cost of running a business there. The cost of manufacturing a product isn’t just the cost of materials, but also the cost of labor, equipment, shipping, and any duties inherent in your country of choice. These costs could make your venture impossible without additional capital, so it’s essential to do your research on every single aspect of your product before getting started.
4. Invest in an existing business
If you’ve considered the complications of starting your own business and you decide it’s not worth the struggle, it might be worthwhile to consider investing in an existing business or buying one entirely. This will eliminate a lot of the difficulties inherent in starting a business, while still giving you the satisfaction of being a business owner in your new country. However, do your research when deciding what to buy and who to hire to run your new business. A common mistake made by overseas business owners is neglecting to ensure responsible business practices and good standards are being upheld at all times.
Starting a business is always a risky but exciting undertaking, and doing so in a new country only amplifies those attributes. Doing your research before you move will ensure your new business has every opportunity to be successful.