It’s often said that when in Rome we should do as the Romans do. This translates to – if you want to fit in then change your behaviour to match that of the inhabitants of the country you are living in.
This definitely applies should you wish to open an office in a new country.!
There are a number of things that you need to be aware of when starting up a new office in a foreign country. Using that good ‘change management’ standby referring to the six triggers ‘PESTLE’ the MAPP Academy came up with a list of areas that you might need to research:
- Political – we are living in a world that changes politically like the shifting sands of a desert. Take a look, look away then back and is the view the same? But political risk can be researched at – go to the International Property Tights Index for a risk assessment on the country you have chosen.
- Economical – We are going through a world-wide financial upheaval at the moment. Avoid countries that are economically inactive and – whilst it may seem difficult in this day and age – look for a country where people are spending and unemployment is on the way down. But most of all look for a low debt-to-GDP ratio!
- Social – language and culture – the people you are going to deal with – The Romans – will have their own culture. Even if the language is shared (and that is doubtful sometimes – USA and UK are often referred to as two countries separated by the same language) the culture may be radically different. Consider using a trusted businessman from the destination country. They will have networks, obviously speak the language and have a handle on culture. We might know our home-grown ‘body language’ signals but will we know those of the country we are investing in. Remember all of those television adverts for a well known international bank?
- Technological – Do they have the ‘platform’ or infrastructure for you to communicate easily? Is there good web-access? You don’t want a business that can’t communicate with you at home or can’t communicate internally in the country you have chosen for your new office. Who are the most technological innovative countries? Look here for some advice from Bloomberg – Most Innovative Countries Index.
- Legal – Whilst some countries are great – stable – and supportive of business run by foreigners others are not. For example, look for countries where there is not a history of ‘confiscation’ of property or business. As above the same excellent research tool can be used International Property Rights Index. Research the country of your choice.
- Environmental – There is a whole raft of differences between countries when it comes to the environment. There are countries that are green and others that have no green credentials at all. Take a look here for the green credentials of your country of choice – The Green Index
But it doesn’t end there; add to the above PESTLE triggers your personal knowledge of your industry sector and – most definitely – a great deal of market research in the country of your choice (just as you would if opening a business in a new town within your home country) and your chances of success just got better.
One final link worth a look is Starting a Business Abroad. Aimed at businesses of a certain size (10-50 employees) this can provide you with a number of insights and may save you making a big, costly mistake.
The MAPP has produced a comprehensive, on-line decision-making tool that can be used to plan an exciting project such as this. For product information follow the link: