Coffee Break

How to Move Your Small Business Abroad Successfully

The world has gotten considerably smaller the last few decades and things operate on a global scale. We can send things digitally in seconds which makes doing business internationally quite easy. Many companies even have their workforce located in all corners of the world.

Which then begs the question: Why keep your company in one place? Could it make more sense to move your company abroad and take advantage of other factors? There are certainly some things to consider which make it clear that a move abroad could be very beneficial to your business.

There are going to be many challenges of course, but if you are prepared ahead of time then these challenges can easily be overcome. Since there are many countries like Singapore and Estonia that make things easy for business, there are some places that don’t require a painful transition.

Understand the business culture

 There is the culture of a country that is certainly relevant but even more relevant is the business culture there. You may find that culturally you are in line with how another country operates on a social level but business wise could be a lot different.

Moving to Australia, for instance, probably won’t cause too much culture shock for a native English speaker. The lifestyle is generally similar to some of the more laid back areas of the US, like California for example. But, the way they do business there might be much different than what you are used to.

Dig in with research on what to expect when it comes to doing business in the country you plan to export your business to. Start with taxes as that is probably the biggest reason you plan to move your business. There are many countries that keep corporate taxes low in a bid to attract people to move their business there.

Then, you’ll need to find out what the rules are with regards to hiring employees and what the regulations are for your workforce. You may need to hire a certain number of locals to do business there. This is because some countries want to keep their citizens working so they attract companies with low taxes but then put restrictions on hiring foreigners so this benefits their own.

Bureaucracy is a major factor when doing business overseas. Many countries require a lot of red tape to be able to start trading and this should factor very heavily on your decision. Even low taxes and favorable conditions in other ways may be stymied if there are too many hurdles put in place by the local bureaucracy.

Know your reason for moving

 Keep your eyes on the prize when it comes to moving your company abroad. You’re going to face a lot of obstacles so you need to have a clear idea of why you’re going through such a difficult process. You definitely don’t want to be hitting hurdle after hurdle and think that you may have been better off keeping your business where you were.

Whatever your reason for moving is, the benefits of which should outweigh any of the negatives associated with moving and establishing a business in another country.

Get registered

 The first thing you need to do when moving a business abroad is to make sure that you are legally allowed to do business there. Even an online business with no local employees still needs to have a legal presence in the country you land in.

You will likely need to register with your local Chamber of Commerce and get all of the necessary tax numbers to become official. This process can take some time and much of it could be done before you make the move.

Before you buy your plane ticket you should contact your local consulate for your target country and ask them what is required to open a business there.

Crunch the numbers

 A move abroad should benefit your bottom line overall otherwise there is little point in going through the hassle of moving it. It pays to understand all of the expenses that you’re going to face once you’re established.

You may love the lower taxes but operating costs may actually be quite high. Research what you’re likely to pay to rent a space for your business. Then find out how much insurance is going to cost and what type you actually need.

The salaries that you plan to pay your employees may turn out to be higher than you think so doing market research on what people expect to be paid may end up higher than you anticipated.

Once you have a solid understanding of the numbers, then you can start making plans. Having as few financial surprises as possible will set you up well for success in the future.