How To Start A Successful Business Abroad

In general, becoming a successful entrepreneur takes so much hard work and can be very difficult. But, it seems as though the odds are stacked against you if you’re an entrepreneur in a foreign country.

Local investors and businesses may not be inclined to take you seriously as you’re not a resident yourself. This isn’t just talking about foreign people owning businesses in this country, it applies to anyone from here going overseas and trying to start a company too.

What I want to talk about today is how you can start a business abroad, and get taken seriously. Take a look at my advice below for more info:

Research The Foreign Market

Before starting a business in a foreign market, you need to do your research. Spend hour upon hour getting to know the market, figuring out how things are usually done, and just becoming an all-around expert. You will get taken more seriously if you know everything about the place you’re setting up a business in. If you can tell local businesses and investors information, they don’t know, that’s when you get respect. If they constantly have to fill you in and you’re always asking questions about how things are done, that’s when they don’t take you seriously.

Learn The Language

You will gain so much more respect if you can learn the language of the country you’re aiming to start a business in. This removes the need for interpreters and means you can speak with local people in their native tongue. If you’re from overseas coming here, you should try and not only learn English but also speak English with an American accent. This will get you taken seriously as you’ll speak coherently and everyone will understand you, and there’s no need to keep repeating yourself. The same goes the other way too, make sure you learn a foreign language and understand how to speak in their accent and blend in as a local. It will help dramatically, not least because it shows you respect the country and are serious about starting a company there.

Bring A Unique Idea To The Table

This final tip kind of blends in with the first one about researching the foreign market. During your research, you should be able to pinpoint gaps in the market and possible unique ideas. Often, this idea could be something that’s common in your home country but really hasn’t taken off abroad. So, you get in there and fill that gap with an idea that’s unique to this foreign country. The great thing is, you will be taken seriously as your idea has proof that it’ll be successful because it works back home. Regardless, you just need to have a unique idea at your disposal that’s never been done in that country before. It makes you seem really serious about business, and the locals will be impressed.

Whether you’re from overseas looking to start a business here, or you’re an American going abroad, use this advice to help you get started. It should help you gain more traction and get off to a winning start.

The Foremost Factors Of Any Transportation Company

When it comes to setting up a new business, there are many different kinds to choose from. One which is almost always likely to be a good idea, however, is that of transportation. There are certain kinds of business which are likely to always be needed by certain industries. Going for these kinds of business is therefore a relatively safe way to get started in the world of business. This makes them a good option for those who do not have much – or any – experience in running a business. Transportation is the perfect example of such a business. Of course, that doesn’t mean that running a transportation company is easy or straightforward. There is a lot to it, and you need to know as much as possible before you get started to ensure your success. Let’s have a look at some of the foremost factors of any transportation company. Here are your main considerations.

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Find Your Place

As we have seen, the major benefit of a company of this kind is that it is always going to be needed by someone or other. Of course, there is another side to that: you are likely to have a considerable amount of competition as well. Competition is not necessarily a problem as such, but it is definitely something that you want to consider and take on board as early as possible. Before you even get started, you need to decide on a location for your transportation business. In one respect, you might say that the location is not all that important for a business of this nature. After all, the main task is transportation. But the location of the depot does matter – and so too does the area that your business is likely to service. So how can you find the best possible location for your new transportation business?

Above all, you want to try and find somewhere that does not have too much in the way of competition. This can be hard to discern to begin with, but with a little research you should be able to find out a good location in your area before long. You want to try and place your business physically so that you are as likely as possible to get as many customers as you can. It might help if you draw your desired radius of operation on a map, and try from there to work out the ideal location for your depot. Wherever it ends up being, you want it somewhere neither too cluttered, nor too distant from anything else. You should be locatable, but not dwarfed by other, well-established businesses all around your depot. You would be surprised at just how important this kind of detail really can turn out to be.

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The Fleet

Regardless of what kind of transportation you are going to be involved in, you will need to get your hands on some vehicles. Finding your vehicles is one of the most important early stages of setting up a transportation business. You should endeavor to spend a lot of time on trying to find only the very best for your fleet. What you want to end up with is a fleet of trustworthy and well-maintained vehicles with a good history. If you can’t trust the vehicles that your colleagues will be driving, then you will find that you lose faith also in your business, so be sure to find the best vehicles that you can.

Where do you look for such vehicles? In general, it is a good idea to stay within the industry. Don’t go straight for private sellers offering incredible deals. More often than not, you will find that this results in poorer vehicles and a fast buck for them. Instead, look to reputable dealers whose reputation would be damaged if they sold you something of poor quality. You will need to make some executive decisions here regarding balancing your books and the quality of the transportation itself. But it is worth bearing in mind that the quality of the vehicles is something that will see your business through to the future, regardless of their short-term cost.

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It’s also hugely important that you do everything you can to keep your vehicles in proper working order. Being able to properly maintain them is a big part of running this kind of business. If you allow them to fall into disrepair, it causes a number of issues. For a start, it is not the most financially savvy move for your business to allow your most important assets to fall apart over time. But more importantly, you should not do anything to put your staff or clients at risk. So it is very important that you carry out regular checks on your vehicles, and give them everything they need to keep as good as new. When a vehicle has really had its day, don’t be afraid to replace it entirely with a brand new alternative. Look after your fleet; look after your business.

Staffing Levels

In any business, finding and keeping hold of the right staff, and the right numbers of staff, is always something of a challenge. For a business of this kind, it is no different – except that you need to make sure you are being pretty diligent with your recruitment process. You need to be very careful about the people you hire, not least because they are going to be driving your precious fleet and the cargo that you have chosen to transport in your company. You should be rigorous, put them through a lot of tests and so on, and make sure that you are hiring primarily for experience rather than motivation. As long as you are able to trust your employees, there is no limit to what you can achieve in your transportation business. But the moment that you don’t quite feel you can trust them, you will find that your business soon starts to fall apart. A strong recruitment is necessary, and so is a solid training program for all new members.

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Training is vital, because it ensures that you keep your employees in the right way from the very beginning. They need to know exactly what you expect of them and why, and this is the best way to get that information across without hassle. Training is not just for the start of employment, either – you should try to re-train your employees every now and then (about every six to eight months) just to ensure you are doing everything you can to keep them at their best. Get the staffing right, and you will have much more faith in your new business – the team themselves are the core of any business.

Safety

As an employer, you have something of a moral and legal duty to keep your employees as safe as possible at all times. For a lot of transportation businesses, safety is going to be hugely important. Clearly, for drivers in particular it is important that safety is given the status it deserves. The most beneficial way to approach this topic in your business is to have clear, defined rules that everyone knows they should follow. These rules should be clear to all, available to view or read at any time, and they should make sense to everybody. You should also try to encourage in your employees a sense of individual responsibility. At the end of the day, everybody is responsible for their own safety. Make sure everyone understands that, and it is much more likely that your employees will enjoy their work in safety.

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It’s just as important that your workers know their rights, should there be an accident of some kind. Whenever anyone in your employ suffers an injury as a result of a truck accident on the road, they have the right to contact a truck accident attorney. They also have the right to time off with sick pay – but how much should be delineated in your rules and regulations. It is vital that you allow your employees everything they are entitled to, otherwise they might not be quite so pleased, and before long you could find yourself in a much less reputable position with your employees. Safety ensures that you are taking care of everyone in your business, so this really cannot be overlooked.

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Licensing & Insurance

There are always certain legal procedures that any business needs to follow, and yours is going to be no different. For a transportation business, some of the most important regulations and laws are licensing and insurance. You need to have a license to carry out the kind of business you are engaged in – as a business and individually. You also need to make sure that every single person in your company is insured to drive. If they are not, you will find that your business gets into some very big trouble very fast. But as long as you have this satisfied, your business will be able to continue trading for as long as you like. And that is what you are likely to aim for in the early days of your business.

Speed Up and Simplify Your Everyday Business Tasks

Today, we have more tools than ever to make business easier. It would then be foolish not to utilize them, so that we and our employees can spend less time on those mundane tasks and more time doing things of real value that will help our businesses to grow.

Here are some of the ways that you can use automation to speed up and simplify your everyday business tasks:

Use Tech to Take Care of Your Finances

From using software to take care of your payroll tasks in a couple of clicks to using products like FreshBooks to take care of your accounts, it has never been easier to automate the financial side of your business. As well as the two examples above, you can use technology to schedule recurring invoice payments and pay the bills and use online banking to more closely and quickly monitor your bank accounts than ever before.

Automate Your Network Management Tasks

Network management tasks may be necessary, but they can also be very time-consuming and extremely tedious, so why not free up your staff by using an IT management solution like Spiceworks to automate them instead? You’ll never have to worry about monitoring your network again because Spiceworks will do it all for you.

Use Software to Track Your Leads

No matter what industry your business is operating in, it’s almost a certainty that following up leads will be high on your agenda. This is one of the best ways to make more sales, so it really is very important, but if you’re running a large business, it can be difficult to track all the hundreds and thousands of leads your company generates each month. With software like Salesforce, you don’t have to.

What Salesforce and similar products do is automatically capture leads from your website, assign them to the most appropriate members of your sales team. They can even forecast future sales activity and carry out marketing campaigns targeted closely at your leads. They really can save so much time and money.

Email Marketing Made Easy

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Email marketing is a very good way of increasing sales. Especially if you’re a relatively small online business. Of course, it is pretty time consuming too, well it is if you’re doing it all yourself anyway. To simplify and speed up the process of email marketing, all you need to do is use a program which can be programmed with rules, so that you can run a tightly-targeted marketing campaign, that will kick into action when a particular trigger goes off, contacting the right people at the right time. There are many such programs and investing in one could be one of the best purchases you ever make.

Schedule Your Social Media

Using social media is one of the best ways to advertise your goods and services in the 21st Century, but often you have more pressing concerns than sending out a Tweet to your followers. That’s where tools like Hootsuite come in. They allow you to schedule posts in advance, so you can schedule a blog of time to write them, specify the date and time you’d like them to go out and then get back to your other work.

Do you run a business? Which automation tools have you found to be most useful?

3 Ways to Get Your Small Business Growing

Do you feel like your small business may be stuck in a rut? When the answer is yes, you’ve got some serious work ahead of you. Being in charge of a small business can wear on some people over time, but the hope is you are not one of them.

That said it is important to do all you can to keep your small business headed in the right direction.

Be cognizant of your financial happenings. Also look at the morale of your team (for those with employees). Yes, it can be much to juggle at times, but would you have it any other way?

Keep Shooting for More Business Growth

So your small business can grow as much as possible, remember the following tips:

  1. Goals

First, always set realistic goals for your business moving forward. To use an analogy, some business owners have eyes that are bigger than their appetites. When this happens, they are not able to grow their companies.

At the start of each month, set a few goals that you want to see accomplished by month’s end. Now, don’t get too disappointed if one or even some of them are not completed. The only time to worry is if you are missing out on most or all them.

Also do a review of where your business was a year ago now. By seeing if you’ve grown, stayed about the same, and even taken a step or two back, it is important to compare periods.

The goals you set for your growth must always be within reach, not those that you are all but assured of not reaching.

  1. Funds

Yes, it would be pretty hard for your company to grow without there being a financial lifeline along the way.

That said if you are in need of direct funds for your small business, where will you turn?This can be a tricky question to answer, especially if your options are rather limited.

Do your best to get whatever funds you need without mortgaging your future.

Before accepting a cash funding arrangement, be sure to research each potential provider.
Look at things such as:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have a solid reputation within the business community?
  • Is their customer service as good as it gets?
  • What kind of record do they have with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

While it makes perfect sense to get financial help to grow your business, do it wisely.

  1. Outreach

Assuming you’ve been doing various forms of brand outreach up to now, is it working?Even though you might think you are doing enough, are you? One of the best ways to grow your business is making sure as many consumers as possible know about it.

This means marketing, advertising, blogging, social media, the list goes on and on.

If you do not have the time or manpower to get all these needs accomplished, reach out for more help. Sure, while you have to spend money to make money may seem like an old cliché, it is quite realistic.

Never take an axe to your outreach efforts, especially as you look to grow your brand moving forward.

As a small business owner, what practices have worked for you in growing your company?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

 

 

How To Improve Your Marketing Strategy Today

As marketing is a vital part of business development it makes sense to take time to work out a sound marketing strategy and to implement regular business reviews for ensuring it’s not stalled.

To succeed in the modern world of business it is important to use all the tools of the trade so to speak. Internet is one of the main ones that business people turn to today to ensure their businesses can grow and develop.

Marketing strategy should not be confused with business plan or marketing goals. While business plan describes the whole business structure and process marketing strategy deals with the steps or measures that are necessary to implement to achieve the goals.

Here are some things to consider before proceeding with the business startup.

  • When starting a business it is possible to go through most of the process online. Instead of going through the rigmarole of newspaper and magazine printed ads business marketing can be done on computer which significantly reduces the timeframe for launching new ventures.
  • Establish your target market from the start so you can tailor your strategies and services or products with maximum efficiency which will give you the cutting edge.
  • In the competitive world of corporations small businesses get a fighting chance the moment they join the force of the internet. Search engines (SEO) and websites are the modern tools of any trade whether it’s roofing, bricklaying or cake baking. Modern fashion, design and technology, science and literature industries have already changed beyond recognition due to the wonders of the internet and computers. In other words, the internet has given the small businesses the chance to fight their corner with the help of small business web design and SEO that’s straightforward.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the social media. Apart from networking and direct marketing it can also create influence waves which can increase sales within hours after posting an image or fact about your products. Remember to use this potential to the full if you want to get ahead of your competitors.
  • Keep your marketing objectives focussed on your customers. This should involve everything from product/service development, packaging, pricing and delivery as well as post-sales care where appropriate.
  • Detailed and in-depth market research will be invaluable both in short and long term planning. Companies usually conduct analysis of performance, customer analysis and pricing scans.
  • It’s impossible to create a marketing strategy without a marketing plan. The marketing plan is essentially the manifesto of your business marketing strategy. It should explain all the necessary steps to put your strategy into action as well as set out marketing budgets, goals, profit margins and time targets.
  • A marketing strategy wouldn’t be a strategy without future vision for the business. It should include where your business is going to be in a month, in a year and in 5 years. So any future developments can already take shape now within the marketing strategy.
  • Be sure to create a contingency plan for any possible market changes as nothing is set in stone.

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PrMediaOnline

 

Don’t Burn Your Business in Hot Water

Being in hot water with the authorities can leave lasting burn marks on a business even when it manages to pull itself out of the pool. It can taint it in regards to the law, in regards to its customers and in regards to its brand. Because of this it is best to avoid being in hot water altogether. Below you can find a few ways how you, as a business owner, can keep your business out of hot water.

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First and foremost you should never make yourself an enemy — to anyone. You shouldn’t depict yourself as tough and mean person to do business with to your potential clients and customers. You shouldn’t paint yourself as horrible boss to our employees. In doing so you could very quickly find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit. If you are ever accused of misconduct in the workplace by an employee, for example, you are then in hot water. Even if you manage to come out of the embroilment without charge, being in the hot water in the first place is not going to do you any favours for your brand image. And misconduct is just one reason why an employee may take to suing you. Because of this you have to constantly be in control of your actions and should never let emotions drive you to make decisions or act in a certain way.

You also need to be in control of all the legal boundaries that are in place on you and your business. It is very important that you never overstep these boundaries and that you work towards remaining in them at all times. One such legal boundary that can sometimes be passed by without knowing is the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement. This is a regulation put in place by the authorities to prevent identity theft and other fraudulent activities. As a business owner you simply must comply to it. If you don’t know where to start in doing so, however, then rest assured that there is assistance out there. Identify verification solution for businesses is on offer for you to implement in yours so you can always be sure exactly who it is that you’re doing business with. Knowing who it is on the other end of a transaction is hugely important. If a customer of yours has their identity stolen on your watch you are never going to come out of the situation smelling of roses, regardless of if you were legally punished for it or not.

And you can also find yourself in hot water online if you aren’t careful. When using SEO to grow your business it is possible for you to end up in hot water with Google, and other search engines, if you start ‘keyword stuffing’. By this it is meant that you stuff in too many keywords in the hope of getting higher in the search engine’s rankings. However, by doing so you will just find yourself being pushed to the back of the queue by the search engine.

So, if you don’t want your business to be burned by hot water then don’t get it in hot water in the first place.

 

 

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

With technology only improving, businesses and consumers are becoming closer than ever before. Social media is more prevalent in society than in the past, and small businesses everywhere are embracing the new ways to market their services using online tools to help promote further customer reach. Here is a list of 5 ways to help market your business online:

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  • Facebook

Facebook is a great way of advertising and raising awareness of your product. By creating a page for a business and adding its location you are opening up the possibility of having customers digitally check themselves into your venue. Customers are then able to engage and review a businesses services and share this with their social network. It is important to remember to reply to comments to continue to build the rapport between business and consumer. Facebook also offers paid advertising and marketing campaigns through their business portal

  • Twitter

Twitter is another way of attracting customers, although it does take longer to build a large network on Twitter. The key to a successful Twitter is to always engage in relevant posts, follow any relevant profiles and be smart while still being funny. Engagements are what build your followers on Twitter. If you’re worried about having the time of running your social networks, organisations out there to provide social media help to develop a content marketing strategy that will help build your online growth.

  • Website

Having a website allows you a stronger online presence, and gives businesses the opportunity to display a list of the services available to customers. A website is also a great way of sharing the products, events, sales and opening times. Services such as WordPress are simple website builders. For a low cost it is possible to buy your own domain from these sites, with the option of an email address attached.

  • Emails

In the modern world email is the best form of contact for most customers. Whether you sign up for a free email service or get one through a website, email is a great way of responding to customers enquiries in a professional manner. Customers respond positively to speedy responses from businesses. Through having a registered email address assigned to your business, you can provide subscription services directly to customers, providing them with the option of being notified of sales or further events.

  • Coupons Vouchers

Everyone loves to think they’re getting a good deal. Sharing coupon vouchers through your social platforms will drive business and grow the customer base. New companies that have provided new customer discounts or free delivery have been successful in entering the market in major cities across the globe. Through having a campaign offering free services or VIP sales to clients, for things such as signing up to your email subscription service, discounts on their birthdays, free delivery or new customer discounts, consumers are urged to try a product for the first time.

It is important to not to put all your eggs within one basket, and be able to see the broader picture. One method of marketing may work better for you than another, however the important thing to remember is that all this does not have to be done alone. Consulting with services that provide provide social media help can alleviate some of the stress that can be added when struggling between traditional face to face services and online services allowing the balance to be achieved within the business.