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.

How to Tell You Are Running a Successful Small Business

Running a small business can be extremely rewarding when done correctly, but it can also be a significant source of frustration. If you are a small business owner, it can be difficult to determine exactly how you’re doing. A perfectionist business owner might feel like they’re failing, when in reality they’re doing a great job and just need more time. On the other end of the spectrum, many business owners think they are perfect and fail to see the imperfections in their own companies. How exactly do you know if your company is doing well?

Motivated Employees

One of the best barometers of how well your small business is doing is the condition of your employees. Do you have a high turnover rate or are your employees staying for the long-term? If your employees are highly motivated and feel sufficiently challenged, that is a good sign that you’re doing well.

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Happy employees provide better customer service and seem generally fulfilled in their roles. In an environment that employees are comfortable in, they will be free to express both praise and criticism without feeling fear of consequences. Conducting anonymous employee surveys is a great way to gauge how the employees feel about their work environment.

Happy Customers

Are your customers happy when you’re done conducting business with them? Do they refer others to you and sing your company’s praises? If so, this is another great sign that you’re doing a good job. It should be easy for new customers to find you and it’s simple to do business with you.

If customers like what you’re selling, believe in the product, and tell others about you, this is the goal of any successful small business. Making a positive difference in the lives of your customers should be what you ultimately strive for.

Expert Credibility

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If others seek out you and your employees as experts in your field, this is a sign that you’re on the right track. For example, when a local news story pertaining to your industry comes up, the news seeks you out for a comment. This shows that they believe in you as a leader in your industry and in the local business community. When you can call yourself an expert and people believe it, this leads to increases in profit and margins. Experts can charge more for their services and people will pay the price.

Flexibility

One of the major advantages that small businesses have over big companies is that they can be flexible. They don’t have hundreds of employees that require a cultural change every time something in the industry changes. You can stop on a dime and pivot to a new direction if need be.

If your company is able to be flexible and adapt to the changing market, this bodes well for your success overall. This also requires you to stay up-to-date on changes in the industry. Embracing change is the key to success in any small business, and those who do it the best are the most likely to succeed.

A Healthy and Caring Work Environment

One of the biggest indicators of success in small business is a healthy and caring work environment. The happy employees that you have all care about each other and the ultimate success of the business. They are constantly putting others before themselves and sacrificing for the good of the business and their fellow employees. This creates a positive and infectious culture that is palpable.

While this is a great sign, it can also lead to problems over time. If too many employees are working too hard for too long, it can lead to burnout. As the business leader, you have to look for signs of burnout and do whatever you can to avoid that. That could mean randomly giving your employee a day off or recognizing them for their hard work in front of others. Regardless of what you decide to try, make sure that their sacrifice for the company does not go unnoticed.

Don’t be overly demanding of your employees at any point. Give them plenty of leeway to do their work without micromanaging them. It’s up to you to set the clear guidelines of what you expect and then get out of the way. One option that you might want to consider is allowing employees the option of telecommuting. By allowing them to work some from home, you’ll help them avoid burnout and get some time away from the office.

You should also have fair and transparent HR policies that determine how time off will be handled. It needs to be the same for everyone, and make the policy as compassionate as possible. Allowing for holidays, vacation, and sick days is important to ensure that your employees stay happy over the long-term.

Focusing on the Future

While you have to be aware of the day-to-day details of your business, focusing on the future of the company is another good sign that your heart is in the right place. You should want to ensure the success of your small business over the long-term for you and your employees. Seek out industry experts to help with things like management strategy, growth, and innovation.

If you take the time to analyze your business from an outsider’s perspective, your chances of success are amplified. Periodically evaluating your company and its culture are imperative to your success over the long-term.

 

About the author

JenJen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

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.

 

 

Is It Time To Grow Your Small Business?

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It takes a lot of work to get to the point where you can seriously consider trying to expand your business. First, you had to take the steps of entrepreneurs before and go out into the world with an idea and the determination to make it work. Many people don’t get that far. Secondly, you have to maintain the success that you have found. Your business should be a foundation for further growth. Before thinking about expansion, you need to be confident that what you have at the moment is not going to fall out from under you. Expanding an existing business is actually a greater risk than starting one: if you fail to establish a business, you are left where you were to begin with, which is with nothing. If you fail to expand your business and it folds in the process, you are similarly left with nothing but that is a lot less than what you once had. If you feel that it is the right time to grow your business, you should immediately stop and carefully plan what it is that you want to do. It stands to reason that you would not have reached this point if you allowed your judgement to be clouded by reckless ambition. Here is a checklist of things to think about before making a life-changing decision:

Growing your business, at least at first, can be an expensive endeavour. You may need to move into bigger premises or take on more staff or substantially enhance your technological capital. All of these things require money and if your business is not making the requisite profit, you may be in trouble. If your business is successful enough to brook these costs, you have to make sure that the money is available to you now. You do not want to start your new business with too much debt. If you want to free up some money, consider taking advantage of invoice finance options. They allow you to get 80% of future invoice payments within a few days of issuing them. At a time when you are looking towards the future in any case, this can make the difference between success and failure.

Besides the need for more money, you will also find that you are facing greater responsibilities. If you are doing more business with more customers, there will be more paperwork and a greater need to ensure that everything is exactly right. While it may be necessary to take on more staff to do the extra work, you should also consider bringing in someone to whom you can delegate some of your newer responsibilities. It can be difficult letting go of the thing that you have had complete control over since its inception, but success can sometimes be difficult and this is one such instance.

The most important thing, however, is to know what you are getting into. It is one thing to ensure that your business is ready to grow, but if you don’t know what it will be growing into, you should find out. Market research is more crucial in this instance than in any other.

 

 

The Little Things That Make A Big Difference

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Every small business we have ever spoken to has wanted to grow into something bigger. But the common denominator in all of this has been money. Small business owners believe they need money to grow because growing can only spout from big movements, like opening up in a new location or licensing a product or offering their business as a franchise; all of which requires a lot of funds.

However, there are ways you can grow your small business into something bigger without spending a ton of cash you maybe don’t have. What’s more, we have gone and done the legwork for you and come up with a few ideas for you to really sink your teeth into.

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Make Your Business More Simple

A lot of small business owners try and spread their risk by offering a wide range of products or service. The thinking behind this is logical; the more you offer the better chance you have of hooking a customer. But the reality is somewhat different. As such, it may be time you scrutinized your business and stopped selling anything that is turning over a profit and anything that is proving hard to sell.

Organize Yourself Better

This can mean a variety of things, but the more you do to be organized, the more efficient you will be and, well, time is money. Perhaps you could rearrange your shop so that it is less cluttered and more helpful to shoppers. Maybe it is time you learned how to create an organizational chart instead of sticking post-it notes all over your office walls. It could simply be a matter of tidying up your desk and buying a filing cabinet. The easier you make your operations the better your chances of growing.

Try Delegation For A Change

All small business leaders believe they need to do everything. It is as if they don’t trust the people they employed to do a certain task to do that task as well as them. Perhaps you are right. But there will be certain things that you do that increases revenue and other things that have no impact at all. As such, concentrate your efforts on the tasks that help your revenue and delegate everything else.

Give Your Employees Freedom

One of the most successful methods of improving your success is to allow your employees to take responsibility for their work. That means letting them set their own goals and the strategies to reach these goals. You will find that they are determined to achieve the desired the results as a way of rewarding your trust and allowing them some independence.

Value Your Employees

All too many employers believe that their employees are motivated by money. However, studies show that this is only eighth on the list. The feeling of being appreciated, working in a friendly environment and the chance to enjoy a good work/life balance are the top three things that will see their productivity increase, and thus your growth. So tailor your motivational methods to meet your employees needs.

 

 

 

 

Finding the Best Deals for Your Company

As you pour over the ways to make your small business as successful as possible, what are you doing when it comes to locating deals for your company?

By saving money whenever and wherever possible, you will have more green to spend on other things that are relevant to your business.

That said don’t automatically look for the cheapest products and services out there, figuring you will always win with a deal. Although it is perfectly fine to save money (and it is encouraged), make sure you are getting quality products and services in return.

With that in mind, the Internet offers an array of information for you, information that can lead to locating some great opportunities for your small business.

From office products to finding the best mobile app for your brand, use the worldwide web as often as possible to track down savings.

So, are you ready to find the best deals for your company?

Delivering Quality and Savings for Your Brand

So that you are able to deliver quality and savings for your brand, remember these pointers:

Promoting awareness

As a small business owner, one of your greatest needs is making customers (present and potential) more aware of your brand.

That being the case, you have a myriad of means in order to do this, with some typically working better than others.

One such way is by having a mobile app aboard for the ride.

As countless small business owners have discovered in recent years, a mobile app is a great means by which one can tout their brands to customers.

In your search of the top app development companies, take note that you do not necessarily have to pay through the nose for the right app.

By properly researching the different app developers out there, you can narrow down your list of which ones could build you the best app possible. From there, you might even see some savings come about by not necessarily getting all the best and whistles many apps offer.

The bottom line is finding the best mobile app at the best price, so start shopping today if you do not already have an app.

Office supplies

Be honest, do you have way too many office supplies sitting around your workplace?

If so, there’s a good chance you’re solely responsible for that.

Sure, you may have your office manager or another individual in charge of ordering such supplies, but did you really need all of what you ended up with?

In many cases, you are literally throwing money out the door by ordering extras of this and that.

To cut down on such waste expenditures, have the person in charge (it may even be you) of ordering supplies keep a detailed list of what is needed each month.

From recycling paper to using money-saving light bulbs and much more, you can end up cutting your office supply expenses down month after month.

Hiring talent

Lastly, while you should never skimp on hiring the best talent possible for your small business, you once again can take a cue from your promotional efforts and ordering office supplies.

By hiring good talent with fair compensation packages, you actually end up saving money in the long run.

Keep in mind that a revolving employee door in your workplace ultimately costs you money over time.

As such, while you thought you were saving some green by paying workers low salaries, there’s a good chance they will leave sooner rather than later. That then leads to having to train more new hires.

Without overpaying for talent, try and give your employees what each is worth, finding ways to come out with the best deals for your company when all is said and done.

As a small business owner, how are you going about locating deals for your company?

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