Category Archives: International

Is An Import Business Right For You?

When starting a business, one of the most important considerations is what is going to make you stand out from your competition. For some business owners, they will attempt to differentiate themselves through the items they sell in their store, and what can be more unique than something imported from another country? Before diving into the world of importing goods and dealing with international shipping and customs, you need to consider whether or not it is a practical and logical decision for you and your business.

Why Import Goods?

What is so great about products from another country in the first place? The main allure of imported goods lies in a system of balance, according to eHow. A given business would want to import certain goods if:

  1. The local demand is greater than the available supply.
  2. The price of a particular good is cheaper on the global market than it is on the local market.

The balance of a country’s imports and exports overall need to be balanced out, but for the sake of an individual business, not much consideration needs to be paid there. Imported goods can come in the form of either consumer or industrial products.  According to the eHow report, there are three general reasons as to why a business would want to import goods:

  1. They want products to sell
  2. They want the cheapest price
  3. They are using importing as a facet of their global supply chain

What Do Businesses Import?

Anything and everything. Whatever you are looking to sell, there is a good chance you can find it cheaper outside of the country and import the goods to sell. Worlds Richest Countries reports that the fastest-growing imports in the United States in 2011 were not items you may have expected, they included:

–          Gum and resins

–          Coffee, tea, and spices

–          Animal, vegetable fats and oils

–          Sugar

–          Fertilizers

–          Cocoa

–          Tin

–          Flour

–          Rubber

Other popular imports from around the world included:

–          Cars from Japan

–          Clothing and footwear from China

–          Alcoholic beverages from France

–          Collector items, antiques, and art from the United Kingdom

–          Coins, precious metals, and gems from Germany

–          Fish from Russia

–          Textiles from India

Planning Your Business’ Imports

If you do decide that importing certain goods will be right for your business, then you will need to look into finding manufacturers abroad to deal with, international shipping companies, customs requirements, and other import requirements set by the U.S. government. Importing goods can give your business and exotic edge over your competitors while helping you to get the best prices on the global market.

Featured images:

Chuck Stevens is an avid blogger always looking to share his experiences and recommendations. He has been a business advisor for over 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @chuckstevens12.

What It Takes To Be Successful Doing Business Internationally

Modern business has brought about challenges that people didn’t even think of decades ago. The biggest challenge is the sheer amount of competition that now exists in nearly every industry. As the business world has globalized, you’re no longer just competing with the company in your city or state. Now you’re going head to head with every business that does something similar to yours across the world. So what kind of personality does it take to succeed? Well, consider some of the characteristics of Alex F. Bouri, Chairman of Seament Holding.

Bouri is someone who possesses the number one trait when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, or even an executive: ambition. He speaks three languages, (English, Arabic, French) travelled to Nigeria to get his professional start, and started his own cement business with $50,000 loan. He eventually became known as the “Cement King.” Seament is internationally recognized as a leader in the global cement market.

But what does this mean for you, if you’re just starting out? How can you beat the odds and become a successful young person just getting his or her feet wet in this uncertain economy? Try some of these out:

-Learn a new language or two. That’s easier said than done, of course, but if you’re planning on being involved in an international business, it’s respectful to be able to communicate in your client’s native tongue. Though English is the unofficial language of business in most of the world, it’s not a rule set in stone and it’s in good taste to speak the language of the country you’re in.

-Think globally right from the start. Phrases and gestures don’t mean the same thing in every country. When establishing your brand, logo, and even company name, think about how they can be interpreted in major markets. There’s nothing worse than confusing or insulting a whole segment of your potential customers by being ignorant.

-Be aware of local laws. Just because something is legal in America doesn’t mean it’s also legal in China or Germany. This is the biggest trap a businessperson just starting out can fall into. Study the market, talk to people currently doing business there, and get yourself a good lawyer. Don’t assume things when it comes to the law.

That’s just the start. There’s plenty more to learn, but above all you need drive and passion. Who knows? Like Alex F. Bouri, you too might one day lead a successful international company.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=business&ex=2#ai:MP900424431|

Samantha Wideman is part of a team of writers and specializes in writing about current news events.

Siendo Internacional: Dirigiendo Una Compañía Multinacional

Aun siendo una operación pequeña, cada compañía tiene la capacidad de hacer negocios en varios países.  Debido a avances en tecnología, transporte y comunicación, cada compañía debe de estar investigando oportunidades internacionales.  Para poder lanzar negocios internacionales, uno debe pensar en tres cosas:

1) Oportunidad

Con razón, cada producto tendrá un recepción destinta en cada país.  Las intereses y necesidades varían cultura a cultura.  Es necesario como negocio investigar cuales son las oportunidades internacionales de su propia compañía.  Ha que hacer las siguientes preguntas: quienes son los consumidores? Cuales son los intereses culturas de esas personas?  Cuanta facilidad tienen de consumir mi producto?

Investigando las oportunidades ayuda a su negocio sabe cuales países debe de considerar.

2) Riesgo

Después de establecer cuales son sus oportunidades, es necesario entablar cuales son los riesgos asociados con los países seleccionados.  Las leyes de cada país son diferentes y es necesario entender cuales son las obligaciones de un negocio extranjero o cuales son las restricciones.  También es esencial saber la estabilidad política de esa país para poder prevenir posible problemas.  Con cada opción de negocio hay riesgo.  Lo esencial es ver como mejor mitigar los riesgos que hay.

3) Conexión

Finalmente es importante como negocio encontrar conexiones en los países seleccionado.  Pueden ser otros compañías o organizaciones que pueden ayuda con el proceso de lanzar su negocio.  También es importante crear buenas conexiones oficiales en cada país de operación.  Haciendo eso le ayudará a mitigar las dificultades que cada compañía enfrenta en un nuevo mercado.

‘How Stupid Are We?’ and Other International Business News

This week there have been a couple of interesting developing in international business that can help us learn some important lessons about business.

US Tire Maker Titan International CEO Maurice Taylor Derides French Workers As Lazy For Putting In ‘Three Hours A Day’

First, it has been interesting to see the fall out after the CEO of US Tire Maker, Titan International responded negatively to the suggestion that they purchase a failing factory in France.  After outlining how he perceives the French workers as lazy and the financial burden of manufacturing in France, he summarizes his position by stating, ‘How stupid are we?’

I still find this to be an amazing situation.  It demonstrates the interaction (both positive and negative) that business and government necessarily have.  As communities seek to bring in large employers, they will invariable run in to all sorts of situations.  The key is to create an environment that allows for growth and success of all involved and incentivizes good behavior.  What type of relationship do you have with the governments where your business is located?

The next frontier
 
Economist Image Feb 21 2013

Tech in Africa.  This is definitely the next frontier and a welcome advancement.  Modern technology has created an unprecedented access to information and advancement.  Be giving some of the poorest of the poor access to information and resources that will improve their quality of life, we as a global community all improve.

Some of the current companies breaking are illustrated in the image to the left (from the Economist article).  What can your company do to make a difference in your local community or around the globe?  When you find ways to improve the lives of others, not only will it improve the community but it will always be a boon to your business.  Try to find ways to make things better around you and grow your business through service and community.

Building a Global Brand 

This is a great synopsis on how you can build a global brand while adapting to local markets.  The YouTube video is just a preview.  The full video is here: http://blogs.hbr.org/video/2013/02/building-a-global-brand.html

 

Dubai, A Perfect Place to Do Business

Location can play a huge part in the success of a business. Ask any business owner, anywhere. Being in the right place, and at the right time, too, can often mean opportunity presents itself when otherwise it perhaps wouldn’t. The Middle East is perfectly placed in that respect, with major emerging markets to the east and west. Add minimum red tape and bureaucracy and a strong international banking presence to the mix and the decision to move there becomes decidedly easier. That’s why the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the city of Dubai in particular, is increasingly seen as the perfect place in which to do business.

A case in point is the rapid rise of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub which connects the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas. A large number of banks and brokerages have established a presence in the DIFC, attracted to the region by its wealth and cross-border trade and investment activity. As a result, company’s both large and small have greatly benefited with a plethora of tailored services including business banking accounts in the UAE and in other nearby countries.

Of course, it’s not just excellent and insightful business financing that’s crucial to the decision-making process. There are many other factors likely to sway any reluctant investor or entrepreneur. Bureaucracy is the biggest single issue often cited which prevents a business from setting up or expanding into a new jurisdiction. Red tape stifles freedom to act and to respond to changing business realities which can adversely affect the ability of a company to trade profitably. Get the balance right and businesses come quickly knocking on the door.

And that’s exactly what has happened both in Dubai and the wider UAE over the last few years. Literally tens of thousands of businesses have set up in the country’s dozens of free zones and now enjoy the benefits of a relaxed regulatory and taxation environment which is the envy of many countries around the world. Go online and check out the benefits. See what they would do for you in terms of your company’s profitability.

In recent weeks, two high-profile global financial institutions have set up in the DIFC, Standard Life, a leading long-term savings and investments company, and Coutts, the London-based international private banking and wealth management firm.

Standard Life’s Nathan Parnaby, Chief Executive, Asia and Emerging Markets, said, “Our long term vision within the Middle East is to build a leading retail savings and investments business. Being a large and respected wealth centre, the UAE is at the centre stage of our regional business strategy. We are confident of strong growth as there is high demand within the region for established and trusted brands like Standard Life to deliver leading savings and investment solutions.

“The DIFC is a recognised financial centre and we are committed to building our regional business from there, building on the strength of our existing relationships with customers and distribution partners.”

Coutts CEO Rory Tapner said, “Our relocation to the DIFC represents a significant milestone for Coutts in the Middle East. In addition to offering a more central location, our presence here will allow us to provide a greater degree of investment advice to our clients who work with us in the region.”

Go here for more information on the DIFC.

How to Reach an International Customer Base

Reaching an international customer base is a complicated process and one that will require significant investment. The rewards that come from tapping into an international market, however, can be huge. By reaching an international market you will be able to expand your potential client base dramatically and increase your profits significantly. This article considers how your company can reach an international customer base.

 

Develop an International Appeal

Developing an international appeal is the first important step to take because your product or service needs to appeal to an international audience. To ensure international appeal, your product or service will need to tap into a market area that is both global and niche. Your company needs to offer something that cannot be bought on the high street, but is desired by all.

 

Learn the Trading Practices

Trading internationally is very different to trading within your own country. There will be different tax rules and different limitations placed on what you can and cannot do. Learning your way around these practices is vitally important, but more important than this is the aspect of business cultures. Trading internationally means that you will be exposed to numerous types of business culture and learning to engage appropriately with these is essential.

 

Refine Your Business Etiquette

The varied business cultures that you will meet when trading internationally will have very different ideas about business etiquette. Whilst a meeting in England may begin with a handshake and get underway, a meeting in China is more likely to start after a banquet has been shared between the two parties. When looking to engage a customer base internationally, it is essential that you are aware of these rules of international business etiquette so that you can be sure to please you clients and retain them as customers.

 

Use Existing Supply Connections

Establishing international trade means that you will have to develop supply chains and interact with numerous transport and handling laws. It is possible to arrange all of this yourself, but it is often cheaper to engage with companies that have experience in exporting or importing goods internationally. Using existing connections will cost you a percentage of your profits, but it can still work out far cheaper than attempting to create international supply chains of your own.

 

Use Existing Marketing Connections

One of the biggest hurdles in the way of international trade is the actual process of reaching your target audience. When trading internationally you will necessarily need to engage with unfamiliar forms of marketing and without the right expertise this can be very difficult to manage. Engaging with companies that have an established digital market share in international countries will enable you to make the most of these connections. Investing in the utilisation of these existing connections will be far cheaper than attempting to establish a presence in a market that you do not understand.

 

Offer Quality

As with all trade, if you can hope to develop a good customer base in any market then it is essential that you offer quality to your customers. When you are competing internationally there will be a wide range of options for customers to choose from, so your service and the product that you provide needs to stand out for quality. If you do not offer quality then you will find yourself constantly struggling to find new customers instead of easily retaining existing ones and developing an ever-growing customer base.

 

For more information please visit IoDB (Institute of Diplomacy and Business)

Dream Big – 5 Tips to Help You Expand Your Business Overseas

Thinking of expanding your business overseas may be a risky thing especially if you are new in the international business arena. The procedure of linking your company to the international chain is not easy and obviously needs a lot of preparation. If you plan sluggishly, you may end up making a very negative move, which might even see your expansions dream crushed. The following are some tips that you can look at when linking your business internationally.

 

 

1) Have certain goals

Companies fail because of poor goal planning as they enter the world market. Before you think of setting the link, you need to take forethoughts and think of how you will run your business. Research is important at this point and you must make a thorough exploration of the available opportunities before you think of launching into the market. You should seek for all the opportunities and challenges that may come after you plunge into the market. With the great amount of capital to invest, it is good to know what you are supposed to do before you take a serious course. If you are after short-term business goals, the idea may out work well for you.

 

2) Have a humble beginning

It is good to consider the process of starting and expanding your business from the ground. This means that you should not over expand your business without taking care. You should make an identification of what you are competent in and pursue your goals from there. It is good to carry an evaluation of how your business will take the course. From a small start, it is easy to determine the success you will make in the market.

 

3) Proper planning

Planning is a very important thing to look at when you are stating your business. Planning means that you have to put everything in place. Your goals should be definite and clear when pursuing. It is easy to make your goals attainable through planning properly. Without a clear plan, it is hard to make it in business. The plan should be clear even at the start of your business to avoid failing in making realistic goals. With the increasing need to set specific goals, clear plans will give you the best target in business.

 

4) Your contingency plans should be realistic possibilities with good budgets

Budgets are very important and they ensure that you are doing the business within the financial limits without over expanding the business without a plan. Financial planning is a prerequisite and many people often mistake when they don’t take it in a plan. It is important to have very clear plans about your business financial goals so that you become successful in the area of specialization. You will face many problems when you start the business without clear planning. It is easy to establish realistic goals with the proper plans.

 

5) You need management support from the start

Management and support is very important as you pursue the career towards establishing a stable chain. You will meet many challenges in the expansion and this can be hard to endure if you don’t have the right staff on the going.

 

 

It is highly recommended to consult the business consultant and tax & financial planner who has complete knowledge about what it takes to do the business with overseas companies. Once you have set up your plans, you can take the right decisions to either operate from your country or get a new office in the overseas place. Doing business with the outside companies require excellent communication skills and expertise.

 

Author Bio – Cindy is a manager in a real estate company. She has worked with many overseas companies and shares her knowledge with her write ups. Her knowledge about Office Space London West End is incredible.

Top 5 Tips to Grow Your Business Internationally

Online marketing is one among the many ways that is currently been used by many entrepreneurs to place their businesses in the international markets. For this reason, if you desires to have good sale internationally, you need to interact and engage with your online audience.

 

 

  • 1. Consistency

This is one trait that many online entrepreneurs fail to emphasize when dealing with their businesses. If you desire one strategy that will see your business through, then you should always focus at being consistent. One area that requires consistency is when using social media as a way of drawing traffic to your online business website. It is important to always understand that this strategy always take time before you starts to see the real fruits but the moment you starts to see these fruits, is of no doubt that your business will experience unrealistic growth not only locally, but also internationally.

 

  • 2. Knowing your products

This is the second tip for your business growth. Always make sure that these products are valuable at all times. Also remember that everyone is always busy and there is no time to keep on searching for the right product or service especially online. For this reason, you should always maintain your products` values. In conjunction to this, you should also make a point of creating some discounts for your customers especially those that have maintained their loyalty to your business.

 

  • 3. Handling all customers` questions

Never ignore any question that your customers and other client raise concerning the kind of services or product you offer. This is one area that many online or international business people have a problem in and it always contribute a lot in losing the best and potential audiences. Always answer all the questions without limiting yourself to the status of the question. This is greatly important especially if you are using social media as one way of drawing traffic in your business.

 

  • 4. Using appropriate images

Always choose the best images to post in your website for your international business. This is important because if one spots an attractive picture, he or she will always be curious to have more information about it. For this reason, you may end up having a potential buyer in your website thus contributing a lot towards the growth of your business.

 

  • 5. Commitments

Commitment is the final thing you should always try to emphasize for your international business. It does not matter what kind of business you are in, but what you contribute physically to your business has a very great impact to the growth of your line of business. In conjunction to being committed, you should always try to enhance your communication strategies. This is important especially when it comes to empowering your brand. Therefore if you really need and desire to have the greatest growth for your business, then you should always practice these and other strategies that are not mentioned in this article.

 

It is important to always note that your business banners and brochures cannot sell your business alone without further inputs. Therefore, if you really need to grow your business by maximizing your sales internationally, there is with no doubt that you need to follow above mentioned simple but essential tips.

 

Author Bio – Jolie is a great editor helping clients to modify and edit the write-ups. She has put in efforts to start her own venture. She has shared her experiences with people on Rainscreen Cladding.

Tips for Choosing a Logistics Company That Fits Your Business

Tips for Choosing a Logistics Company That Fits Your Business

The third-party logistics company, or 3PL company, that you choose can make or break the fortunes of your company. If you choose a company that’s not a good fit, all kinds of trouble can ensue. It’s important to keep in mind at all times that the 3PL company that you choose will act as a crucial link between your business and your customers. If something goes awry during the shipping process, your customers aren’t going to blame the logistics company; they are going to blame you. With that in mind, you should take your time while looking for a third-party logistics company. From carefully interviewing logistics consultants to making sure that the 3PL company has your best interests in mind, the process can be long and arduous. However, it will all be worth it when you connect with a company that actually cares about the success of yours. Some great tips for selecting the right logistics company are highlighted below.

Logistics Check List.

Before you begin the process of looking for a 3PL company in earnest; you should choose a handful of companies that look promising. From there, you should filter out companies that don’t suit your needs by keeping the following tips in mind. The most crucial aspect of narrowing things down is the interview that you will have with the logistics consultant from each prospective company. During each interview, take the following points into consideration:

  • Do They Ask a Lot of Questions? – The right logistics company will actually ask you a lot of questions. They’ll do so in order to come up with the best rates possible. Without knowing a decent amount about the nature of your business, your customers and the types of products that you ship, there’s no way a logistics company can come up with realistic rates. They should ask you specific questions about your shipping history. They should also ask you about what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t. If you’re not asked these types of questions, you should probably scratch that 3PL company off the list.
  • Outline Everything You will Need – Don’t leave out anything when discussing your expectations and needs with a third-party logistics company consultant. If you fail to go over something and end up needing it later, you may be thrown for a loop in terms of pricing. It’s better to know specifics about services that you may not end up needing than it is to face unpleasant surprises later.
  • Learn about the Company’s Past Experience – While interviewing the consultant, find out everything you can about the company’s past experience. Has it dealt with customers that are similar to yours? Does it have experience with the kinds of shipping services that you require? For example, if you will be shipping fragile products that require special shipping and handling methods, does the company have demonstrable experience in providing such services? The ideal 3PL company will have a track record for working with similar customers and providing the kinds of services that you need.

When all of your interviews are complete, a clear winner should emerge. The third-party logistics company that you choose should clearly demonstrate that your success matters. You should feel completely comfortable and confident in the abilities of your chosen company to meet and exceed all of your needs and expectations.

Jesse Dugan and his team of expert writers are always looking for new guest blogging/writing opportunities. Follow him @JesseDugan.

3 Key Steps To Internationalizing An SME

There are incredible opportunities for the small to medium-sized enterprises in the global marketplace.  At the same time, there are countless obstacles that make internationalization a significant challenge for the SME.  Below are some of the key preliminary steps a small to medium-sized company needs to take before making any significant investment in a foreign jurisdiction.

1. Research Potential Destinations

Any commitment to growing internationally should only be made after a great deal of research and deliberation.  Expanding your operations to new destinations will require considerable capital and resources.  Some basic strategic questions to ask yourself and your team include:

  • Is your business seeking to expand to new markets, to set up a new manufacturing base, or both?
  • What benefits would an international operation bring to your company?  How does it fit into your long-term growth plan?
  • What is the long-term economic outlook for your potential destination?
  • Are there cultural obstacles that could impede the transition to a potential destination?
  • Are there any companies you do business with others with whom you can form a strategic partnership that would ease your transition?

If you’re looking to expand to new markets, then obviously doing the proper market research will be key.  You should also consider logistical issues that may hinder your ability to penetrate a new market in a foreign country.

If you’re seeking a new manufacturing base, then obviously the availability of capable and cost-effective labor, favorable tax laws, cost of materials, ease of doing business, and potential issues with corruption may be important considerations.

Additionally, your team must also factor in the opportunity costs of pursuing opportunities abroad.  Would you be tying up resources that could be applied towards pursuing profitable opportunities on the home front?

2. Consult With Legal & Accounting Professionals

One of the most important aspects of planning for internalization is to carefully examine the legal consequences with the guidance of experienced legal counsel.  Not only will there be legal considerations in your new foreign location, but your company will also need to comply with local laws and regulations that could affect operations abroad.  In the United States for example, your international operation will still be subject to federal tax regulations.

In addition to broad legal compliance issues, an experienced legal team will also be necessary to advise you on narrower tactical issues.  For example, should your foreign business operations operate as a chartered subsidiary or simply as a foreign office of the same legal entity as your operations at home?  What legal entity should you select and what liability or tax implications could this decision have?  The tax prep and planning for an international move will be important to your overall strategic planning.  For tax issues, it’s important that a tax expert is consulted, as international taxation issues can be extremely complex and requires the experience of a specialist.  Additionally, there may also be compliance issues to worry about in regards to banking.  Some jurisdictions may regulate the transfer of funds in and out of the country or require mandatory reporting of certain transactions.   If your business deals in physical goods, there are also vital issues surrounding import/export tariffs that will be crucial to your decision.

3. Hire The Right Point Person

This is another point that may seem self-evident, but is absolutely vital to the success of your transition.  The person responsible for the foreign start-up will need to be able to liaison with the local accountant and lawyers, be able to pass back the necessary information, be an excellent team builder, and also be able to navigate the local culture and bureaucracy.

This is also an area that could greatly benefit from a strong, strategic partnership.  If you have a pre-existing relationship with an existing vendor or other partner in the area, not only will that minimize your initial start-up risk, but it may be in their best interests to help support your expansion.  Having a strong, strategic partner can ease the learning curve and risk when expanding to a new location.

Proceed Cautiously

No matter what your reasons for internationalization, it’s important to thoroughly understand your strategic objectives and the potential obstacles awaiting your company in your new location.  Of course, no matter how much planning or research you do, you will inevitably encounter new obstacles during the process.  To minimize your risk, don’t invest more than you have to at the initial stages of your project.  Start small, and grow slowly as your team develops a feel and understanding of the local culture, market, and the regulatory issues that they will have to navigate.

Article written by Richard Orban, a guest writer for Wallace APC. Wallace APC offers a wide range of accounting and taxation services to individual and business clients. Besides tax consulting, there’s a wide range of consulting and preparation services available.

Bilingual Education: Starting You On The Road To Success

It’s common knowledge around the world that Canada is a bilingual country.  French and English are the two official languages in Canada, and even though New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province, being fluent in both languages offers benefits in any region of the country.

Culture

The term ‘culture’ is often more implied than it is something tangible, but being bilingual in Canada will enable you to circulate in many different circles.  Much of the history of the country and certainly Quebec is deeply rooted in the French language.  Learning both official languages doesn’t ensure that you’ll be on the cusp of ‘all things cultural’ in Canada, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Income

It isn’t too uncommon to see job postings for both English and French speakers in Canada, especially in government positions.  According to the Association for Canadian Studies, the average wage is almost 10% higher for bilingual Canadians than for Canadians who only speak English or French.

That’s not to say every job you get is going to automatically pay you more if you speak both languages, but on average you will earn more.  Knowing both English and French opens up a lot of job options that wouldn’t have been open otherwise, and many times it is in these jobs where you’ll notice the pay increase.

Cognitive Benefits

While culture and income benefits are nice, there may be an even more important benefit to learning a new language.  Research, from York University in Ontario, shows that being bilingual can delay the onset of issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The research shows that adults who are bilingual had a greater cognitive reserve as they aged.  This fact enables the mind to run more smoothly and for a longer duration.  It has been compared to having a reserve fuel tank for your car.  When the main tank empties, you’ll still be able to run the vehicle smoothly on what’s left in the reserve tank.

Learning Factors

If you are an adult who has yet to master a second language, you may be in for a challenge.  Obviously, completely immersing yourself in another language at any age will probably render the most success, but that isn’t always possible.

Statistically, it can take anywhere from 23 to 88 weeks or longer to become proficient in a second language, but it’s definitely possible if you’re dedicated.

Things like your upbringing, your social circle and even your motivations for learning a new language can all have an impact on how quickly you learn.  Take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to you and you’ll be speaking that second language fluently before you know it.

This article was provided on behalf of L’Académie Westboro. A unique private school in Ottawa where students learn in both English and French everyday. Check out their website for more details

How to Avoid Major Challenges When Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas-

shipping freight internationally

How to Avoid Major Challenges When Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas

Shipping heavy equipment and machinery internationally is a huge, thriving business. International equipment shipping may sound like it would be problematic, but it is only slightly different from shipping anything overseas. You just need to follow the rules for exporting and importing machinery and equipment. In order to avoid any major complications, you should take a few precautions.

Choose Wisely

Don’t use the first international company that comes to mind. Ask around to find a company that has been handling this type of shipping from the United States successfully for a long time. You probably have some business associates or friends who can point you in the right direction. There are online forums that will give you some good recommendations for a reliable, hassle-free shipper.

An experienced international shipping company will provide you with the best available option to ship overseas at an affordable price. First, when requesting rates from these companies you must provide the full dimensions of your equipment. Based on the dimensions of the machinery, a reliable company will provide you with a few options. If your equipment is small enough to fit inside a container and/or can be dismantled then they will quote you for container dismantling and shipping service. If your equipment is too big to ship inside a container they should offer you a roll-on / roll-off service.

International Trade Restrictions

When shipping heavy equipment overseas you will need to make sure you know exactly to whom you are shipping your machinery to. Although there are few restricted countries you are not allowed to ship to, you should always double-check with your international shipping company if you are allowed to ship certain countries. A customer should always provide you with full contact details including their company name, full address, telephone number and contact person overseas.

Additionally, in order to protect your customer and prevent any import issues, your customer should check with their international freight broker in their country to make sure they are allowed to import your machinery. Even if the United States permits you to export your machinery to a certain country, that country might not allow the importation of the equipment. If your customer does not check with his/her country on their import restrictions they might have to ship the equipment back to the United States and this is a big hassle.

Getting your Heavy Equipment to Port

Once you have finalized the deal with a company and your customer confirms they can import your equipment, you can now proceed with the process. However, first you must figure out how you will get your equipment to port for international shipping from the USA. You can deliver your heavy machinery and equipment to the port yourself if you have the proper trucks and equipment to safely move your cargo. If you are not able to deliver your cargo yourself, the company that is exporting your equipment might also pick up your equipment from your warehouse and deliver it to port for export from the USA. Inquire with your freight forwarder how much it would cost if they picked up and delivered your equipment to the USA port of departure.

Shipping heavy equipment internationally is not as hard as it sounds. There are many eager buyers all over the world; all you need to do is make your deal and find a reputable exporter. Before you know it, your shipment will be at its destination. Your deal will be complete, and your customer will be satisfied.

Citations:

GUEST AUTHOR PROFILE:

Jesse Dugan is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @JesseDugan.

What Does Venture Capital Mean to You?

Many small business owners look at venture capital as some sort of “necessary” in order to build a successful company, but they do not think about the challenges associated with raising and using other people’s money.  It is always important to evaluate what you business needs are and what risk you are able to take on if you bring in venture capital.  Here is an interesting analysis from the Harvard Business Review of the development of venture capital historically:

Adapting Yourself to a New Market

With international business comes the pros and cons of entering into a new market.  Some products and companies fail to fully research a new market and humorous mistakes can ensure.  In the case of John Deere, see what they did in Spain to succeed in that market:

Understanding Markets: Commodities

Here is an interesting video from INSEAD Knowledge on the current outlooks for various commodities sectors.  Regardless of the market that you are working in, it is important to evaluate the various factors that are impacting your business and determine the best ways to reaction to those adjustments.  What risks are you facing in 2012?

Thinking International? Know This First…

Globalization is still in full force and now more than ever, small businesses are breaking into the international market.  But with increased access to new business market, there is also increased access to potential liability.  Here are four questions you should ask as a business owner when considering expanding into an international marketplace.

1) Who are my potential clients?

When working internationally, it can sometimes be more difficult to investigate potential vendors or customers to evaluate whether or not they will be able/willing to do business with you.  Also, there may be more risks in operating in certain countries or with certain governments as clients given that country’s political and economic structure.

2) What are the country’s compliance requirements?

Also, different countries will have different regulations as to how you can do business within their country.  This means that the relationships that you make in one country may need to be structured differently in another country.  Sometimes you may need a distributor or other local liaison.  Other times you can directly access the market.  There may be different costs associated with the ways that you operate, so this evaluation must be taken in to account before entering that market.

3) What are the tax concerns that my business faces?

Different countries tax different income in different ways.  Some countries directly tax foreign direct investment.  Others have bi-lateral or international treaties that allow for some tax benefits.  Also, the IRS has specific standards for US businesses that general revenue abroad.  Especially if you foresee significant international income, it becomes critical to sit down and discuss the process with an international tax professional.

4) What culture concerns should I be aware of?

Having the relevant understanding of a specific countries culture is critical in the business process.  Some cultures value the relationship as much if not more than the business.  Others are more formal and “arms-length.”  This also impacts what different business deem to be an agreement.  Cultural research is a necessary part of doing business internationally.

VIDEO: INSEAD- Can You Survive Today’s Business World?

Here is an interesting discussion from INSEAD about the challenges that businesses face in finding success today.  What are the challenges that you are facing and how are you overcoming them?

International Business: Don’t Drown

When I was a young boy scout, I remember an experience I had while attending Scout Camp in Minnesota.  It was early in the summer and the camp we attended was right on a large lake.  While there, we had opportunities to engage in many aquatic sports activities including small boat sailing.  We could take out a small two-person sailboat and explore the lake.  I remember going out with a friend to explore in one of these boats after having received limited instruction in how the various parts of the boats operated.  As a young kid, I remember thinking I had the capacity to learn things quickly so a friend of mine and I decided that we knew enough and were ready to go out in the boat.

We quickly figured out that while we knew how the pieces of the boat “worked,” we had not idea how to “use” the wind.  After fighting with the sail for about an hour and having very limited success, we ended up drifting into some reeds, capsizing and floating in the water for another hour.  The water was still quite cold given the time of year that it was and we both ended up needing to be rescued and treated for hypothermia.  It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience because we had not learned how to interact effectively with our environment.

As more and more business owners consider expanding their businesses internationally, it is not sufficient simply to have your “boat” or company and know how it operates.  You must learn how to efficiently use the “wind” in your sails.  In other words, you need to gain a better understanding of the business environment in which you operate.  Learning to do this will help keep you from drifting off course and possibly “capsizing” your business.  Take the time to learn about your opportunities and you will find greater success.

SmallBiz Counsel Video Review: Avoiding Corrupt Practices in Emerging Markets

Given the facility of international business and the expansion of emerging markets, it can be easy for business owners to slip into corrupt practices.  Here is an interesting discussion on the impact on business and what companies can do to avoid corrupt practices.  It is produced by the INSEAD Business School:

5 Ways to Improve Global Expansion

Because technology and resources are making the globe smaller and smaller, small businesses need to consider options of expanding their operations internationally.  As with any new market, though, expanding internationally has its potential problems as well.  Here are 5 ways to research a new international market for your small business:

Follow the News-

You would be surprise to know how much you can learn about potential markets when you watch the news.  What countries are discussed and why?  Which countries are going through political changes or opening their doors?  Which businesses are moving into new regions and why?  To be successful in any market, it is critical to have as much information as possible.  As you follow the news, you can identify areas of interest and that will lead you to other areas of research.

Investigate Potential Local Competitors-

Once you hone in on a specific country or region that you think would be a future launch point, it is next important to research any potential competitors in that region.  Focus in on the local competitors.  What is their market share?  What are their relationships with government entities?  Do they maintain any cultural identifications with their local communities?  It is critical to learn what type of “home court advantage” businesses are given to know how best to compete in that market.

Seek Out Possible Partnering Opportunities-

Sometimes, operating internationally is much easier when you can find a local company to partner with.  Someone who knows the lay of the land and how to get access.  Also someone who may be more familiar to your clients/customers.  It is critical to research who you could work with when seeking to break in to a new market.  Pay attention to what their strengths and weaknesses are.  How can they assist your business?  Do the have the capacity to do what you need them to do?  Is there a good “personality fit”? Are they willing to take direction and protect interests?

Determine if Your Product/Services is Ready for That Market-

Just because something works where you are does not mean that that product will easily translate into a marketable item in a new country.  Research how interested those future customers/clients are in your type of good or service.  What type of client education is going to be necessary in order to alert them to the benefit of you product?  What potential culture pitfall might you run in to because of branding/product naming that should be prevented by adjustments.  May international companies run in to marketing issues because they don’t pay attention to meanings of translations and market needs in a new country.

Review Potential Government Compliance Issues-

Most importantly, you need to evaluate how you can legally do business in that respective country.  What is the filing requirement for an international company?  What restrictions do they have on foreign investment?  What potential real estate ownership issues might impact you?  How can you protect or license any intellectual property that may be important in that new venture?  What do you need to do in order to enforce contracts or protect your interests?  Which entities do you need to register with in order to do whatever you are planning on doing?  International regulatory concerns can be very problematic for a business owner and should be carefully evaluated and consulted in order to manage interests and expectations in the new market country.

Tips for Managing International Business Expansion

Because technology and resources are making the globe smaller and smaller, small businesses need to consider options of expanding their operations internationally.  As with any new market, though, expanding internationally has its potential problems as well.  Here are 5 ways to research a new international market for your small business:

Follow the News-

You would be surprise to know how much you can learn about potential markets when you watch the news.  What countries are discussed and why?  Which countries are going through political changes or opening their doors?  Which businesses are moving into new regions and why?  To be successful in any market, it is critical to have as much information as possible.  As you follow the news, you can identify areas of interest and that will lead you to other areas of research.

Investigate Potential Local Competitors-

Once you hone in on a specific country or region that you think would be a future launch point, it is next important to research any potential competitors in that region.  Focus in on the local competitors.  What is their market share?  What are their relationships with government entities?  Do they maintain any cultural identifications with their local communities?  It is critical to learn what type of “home court advantage” businesses are given to know how best to compete in that market.

Seek Out Possible Partnering Opportunities-

Sometimes, operating internationally is much easier when you can find a local company to partner with.  Someone who knows the lay of the land and how to get access.  Also someone who may be more familiar to your clients/customers.  It is critical to research who you could work with when seeking to break in to a new market.  Pay attention to what their strengths and weaknesses are.  How can they assist your business?  Do the have the capacity to do what you need them to do?  Is there a good “personality fit”? Are they willing to take direction and protect interests?

Determine if Your Product/Services is Ready for That Market-

Just because something works where you are does not mean that that product will easily translate into a marketable item in a new country.  Research how interested those future customers/clients are in your type of good or service.  What type of client education is going to be necessary in order to alert them to the benefit of you product?  What potential culture pitfall might you run in to because of branding/product naming that should be prevented by adjustments.  May international companies run in to marketing issues because they don’t pay attention to meanings of translations and market needs in a new country.

Review Potential Government Compliance Issues-

Most importantly, you need to evaluate how you can legally do business in that respective country.  What is the filing requirement for an international company?  What restrictions do they have on foreign investment?  What potential real estate ownership issues might impact you?  How can you protect or license any intellectual property that may be important in that new venture?  What do you need to do in order to enforce contracts or protect your interests?  Which entities do you need to register with in order to do whatever you are planning on doing?  International regulatory concerns can be very problematic for a business owner and should be carefully evaluated and consulted in order to manage interests and expectations in the new market country.

Navigating International Business: Lessons of a Boy Scout

Are you keeping your boat on course?

When I was a young boy scout, I remember an experience I had while attending Scout Camp in Minnesota.  It was early in the summer and the camp we attended was right on a large lake.  While there, we had opportunities to engage in many aquatic sports activities including small boat sailing.  We could take out a small two-person sailboat and explore the lake.  I remember going out with a friend to explore in one of these boats after having received limited instruction in how the various parts of the boats operated.  As a young kid, I remember thinking I had the capacity to learn things quickly so a friend of mine and I decided that we knew enough and were ready to go out in the boat.

We quickly figured out that while we knew how the pieces of the boat “worked,” we had not idea how to “use” the wind.  After fighting with the sail for about an hour and having very limited success, we ended up drifting into some reeds, capsizing and floating in the water for another hour.  The water was still quite cold given the time of year that it was and we both ended up needing to be rescued and treated for hypothermia.  It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience because we had not learned how to interact effectively with our environment.

As more and more business owners consider expanding their businesses internationally, it is not sufficient simply to have your “boat” or company and know how it operates.  You must learn how to efficiently use the “wind” in your sales.  In other words, you need to gain a better understanding of the business environment in which you operate.  Learning to do this will help keep you from drifting off course and possibly “capsizing” your business.  Take the time to learn about your opportunities and you will find greater success.