The digital age has allowed us to be more connected than ever before. We’re linked on both a personal and professional level, able to contact friends and family around the world. Thanks to the internet, we can conduct business internationally and are no longer held back from success by oceans of distance.
However, when you start growing your business and begin working with international clients, it is generally necessary to alter your approach in a few key areas. The following tips should help you to do just that.
- Provide Multiple Contact Methods
A single contact method may not suit all businesses and individuals when working with groups from multiple time zones. Therefore, it can be in your best interests to offer several. If you’re based in the US, but many of your clients are based in the Asia-Pacific region, for example, a virtual office in Melbourne can offer a convenient way for people to reach you via post or phone. Most come with receptionist services, allowing you to provide human service to clients 24/7, even when you’re asleep.
- Discuss Currency
The United Nations recognizes 180 currencies worldwide, and eight of them are among the most traded. When you start doing business with other countries, it’s vital to establish which currency you will be using in your quotes and invoices. The most tradable currency in the world is the United States Dollar, which is likely to be the one you deal in the most. However, the last thing you want is to discover that you were thinking in US dollars while your client was thinking in Australian dollars.
- Learn About Time Zones
When you start working with individuals and businesses from around the world, you will come to learn that time zones can vary dramatically. When it’s 9 am in the United States, it’s 2 pm in the United Kingdom, and 10 pm in China.
As deals start coming together, you will likely need to communicate with prospects and customers at a time that suits them. So, prepare yourself for the fact that you may need to be up for a few late-night conference calls.
- Educate Yourself on Cultural Differences
How you conduct business in your home country may be vastly different from how the people you will be working with conduct their business. To ensure you can establish excellent working relationships with people from all walks of life, educate yourself on cultural differences and how to approach various business deals.
For example, professional etiquette in China requires you to wear corporate attire, and business discussions can take place at any time of day. If you were to carry out business in the UK, you might learn that punctuality, formal greetings, respect for personal space, and wearing tidy attire are essential.
- Understand Your Legal Requirements
Your legal and tax obligations can differ from one country to the next, and it’s essential to be aware of them to ensure you remain on the right side of the law.
Before you start forming relationships in other countries, take a moment to review any export and import rules that may apply, along with your obligations for tax and even the products you can and can’t import and export. Failure to carry out this research may see all your hard work come to a grinding halt.
Working with international clients can be rewarding, especially as you get to meet people from all walks of life. However, it can also come with some challenges. Take note of the information above, and you’ll be well-positioned to share your brand with the world.