Succeeding internationally in business

This year we have already seen an increase in virtual reality, as well as recognising that the Internet of Things is set to propel significantly. In addition to this, UX has become something of a buzzword in business. But what does all of this mean for businesses in 2017? Indubitably, the development of enhanced connectivity and communication will lead to better business relations globally, and the focus on UX will improve longevity and customer retention. This should also have a knock-on effect in terms of the quality of business relationships and our expectations of them. We look at some of the best ways to succeed in international business, from learning the new language to deciding what space to meet up in.

Spend time on learning new markets

You may have noticed an opportunity for expansion overseas with a particular country, or perhaps you have had interest from another business somewhere overseas. Whatever the case, if you are looking to do business in another country, spend some time learning the cultural conventions of that market. For example, in Japan, it is customary to work long hours to show your dedication and there are several rules and conventions to do with politeness and respect. Demonstrating an understanding of how the culture operates will put your international business in a safe space and engender trust relationship. If the country you are hoping to trade with place a focus on meetings and communication, you will want to get this right from the get-go, in order to establish a good relationship.

Meetings to impress

Having spent some time on the culture of your target market, you may find yourself having secured a meeting. The first step into securing a good relationship will be using some sort of face to face calling software, like Skype or FaceTime. This allows you to get to know each other a little before an actual meet up, and will let you know who is who, so you’ll have it clear going forward. Bearing in mind that many people in business, yourself included, have a very busy schedule and time is key, you may decide to opt for a neutral meeting space in an airport. Citizen M have well equipped and professional offices located inside various international airports, so you can offer to meet your client half way and provide a space for meeting in. They liaise with local food companies to provide meals for meetings too.


If you are having an international meeting, you or your client may need to hire a translator. Luckily, many people worldwide speak English to a reasonable level, but there is often litigation involved in securing a business relationship, and this can involve some complicated language. Helping to provide a translator will demonstrate respect and commitment to your international guests, and could be the difference needed to secure the deal for you.

Many mobile apps will help with basic translation, but nothing compares to having an interpreter who is familiar with the conventions of both languages.

Financial considerations

Expanding overseas will require some speculative investment and you should consider the financial implications. For example, if you are going to be trading overseas there are several conventions that will need to be followed regarding tax and legislation. These legal components of overseas expansion will require an official body such as lawyer, which will cost money.

Ensuring that your turnover is high enough to support expansion is an important part of succeeding internationally. You will need to speculate at the beginning, which is something of a risk. However, the chances are, if you are entrepreneurial already, you will have negotiated that risk to get where you are today, and be ready to take on the international markets with a strategy.

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