Doing Business Internationally
Whether you are a recent college graduate casting furtively about for work, or you’ve been in the workforce for a few years and haven’t much to show for it, or you’re a business owner struggling to gain a competitive edge in your industry… you may be wondering what you have to do to get ahead in this economy. If you are considering traveling to a fast-growing international market to pursue a career or business opportunity, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
International Business- Market Growth
Whether you own a business or you are just looking to advance your career, you can take advantage of long-running macroeconomic trends by moving your business abroad. Whereas the American economy is forecast to grow between 2 and 3 percent annually over the next few years, foreign business in places like China and Brazil are enjoying regular growth rates approaching 10 percent annually. As a worker, this guarantees you both job security and upward wage pressure. As a business owner, this ensures that the markets for your products and services grow at healthy rates. In either case, you’re likely to be better off a few years down the road by doing business internationally.
Preparing For a Global Economy
These days, analysts in the know repeat mantras about “globalization” and “leveling the playing field.” But… What do they mean?
Simply put, the trend towards economic parity between developed nations like the United States and still-developing countries like China means that national borders are becoming less important every day. To prepare for doing business internationally and take advantage of this new economic reality, expand your horizons by:
- Learning a second and third language. Spanish is probably the most practical second language, since Mexico is the United States’ most populous neighbor and a major trading partner. Mandarin Chinese is another good one, since it is spoken by over a billion people worldwide.
- Travel and study abroad. If you are a student, be sure to study abroad at some point during college to experience another culture firsthand. If you’re already in the workforce, make a point to travel as much as possible to prepare for future forays into the world of international business.
- Interview your peers. If you know anyone who has worked or done business abroad, ask them what did and did not work for them during their time in-country. Ask questions about culture shock, unfamiliar living arrangements, learning a foreign language, and so forth.
Implementing a Global Business Strategy
Whether you’re setting up a new business or just trying to find a job for a couple of years, knowing the right people in your target market is important. As an American in a Foreign country you have advantages not available to incountry people at the same level. For instance, simply being an American may be all that is necessary to get you interviews or invited to social gatherings of prominent people. By talking to prominent people in your new host country you can establish beneficial networks. In his first best selling book Liar’s Poker author Michael Lewis told how a chance meeting in Europe got him a coveted position in one of the top Brokerage firms in the U.S. leap-frogging many of his smarter (and better connected) peers.
Be sure to discuss your prospects with both your in-country and American bosses if you work for a major company and be sure to highlight all global work experience in your resume. Even if you return home to go back to school or pursue further career advancement, your international repertoire will serve you well. Being able to successfully navigate the ins and outs of doing business with another culture is especially valuable and is proving to be a leveler in today’s playing field.
Many of the most prestigious and highest-paying service jobs are being found overseas these days. To position yourself and your career for the future, consider the benefits of working internationally or opening a business abroad. You’ll receive valuable cultural experience and possibly make a name for yourself as a truly international professional. Going forward, such a distinction will be more important than ever.
About the Author:
Donald Richardson is a freelance journalist, who writes about international business and career development. If you are interested in discovering how to advance your career, click here.
Recommended Reading: Books by Michael Lewis