Perhaps you're already doing business overseas and looking to take it to the next level. Or maybe you have an established domestic business and customer base, and you'd like to expand to new markets in other countries. Or it could be that you've started a brand new business that will require international reach. In any of these scenarios, you'll want to consider a few cases that may have an impact on your day-to-day operations. Below, we'll review 5 tips that could help you to get ahead when building an international customer base.

1. Consider Language and Cultural Differences

Depending on the country you're expanding to, the task at hand may vary in its scope. For example, a US business expanding to the UK may have little to worry about besides a few spelling differences in marketing materials and potentially some negotiation tactics that wouldn't translate so well in the United Kingdom, but otherwise the transition should be easy. However, if you're opening operations in China after operating in the United States, you'll need to consider cultural differences in doing business as well as translating your documents and marketing materials to reach a new audience. Consulting with a translator or cultural analyst can help with this process.

2. Review International Laws

Not all legal systems are created equal. Some things as simple as tax rates, which vary widely by country, can impact your operations. Others can be complicated, like IP law, which is virtually non-existent in some countries while being fiercely protected in the United States. Make an appointment with an international law attorney and an accountant in the countries you'll be working within to ensure that you've covered all of your bases.

3. Know Currency and Import/Export Rules

Knowing exchange rates and planning for changes should be a part of your strategy. A recession in one country during a boom in another can mean big differences in your margins. Talk with a financial strategist to make sure that you build some wiggle room in for when times get tough; have an exit strategy just in case.

Additionally, international trade rules and import/export law can affect the viability of your business. Take importing a vehicle into the US from another country as an example. You'll need to consider emissions standards, taxes and duties, safety requirements, and other factors which may impact your ability to viably ship a car to or from the country - these types of considerations are important when setting up an overseas business.

4. Physical Offices

While you don't need to have one, setting up a physical office in the country you're going to expand into can help you - it will allow you to list your business in local directories, join organizations and conferences, and have a face-to-face point of contact with customers. It's worth it to explore this option.

5. Take Your Time

As with starting any new business endeavor, don't expect it to become successful overnight. Time, experimentation, and effort are all necessary ingredients in realizing value from international business.

Author's Bio: 

Alexander Wise is a writer and web marketing expert based in Florida. He keeps a personal blog at Drinks Refined.