It can be exciting when your business finally reaches a point where it’s ready to go international. As an owner or manager, it’s easy to get carried away with the concept, but the actual work involved can slow things down or be downright aggravating. There are various barriers that can make working with foreigners harder than what you’re used to, but with the right strategies and software, you can make it work. One upside to this is the Internet, which enables you to operate internationally on a virtual level. What makes working International a great business decision is that it expands your market. They may also find your rates to be very reasonable, especially if their currency is stronger. The Internet makes connecting with clients a seamless and affordable process, thanks to great high speed Internet service rates and software like UberConference. To help you overcome some of the challenges you may face, here are some helpful tips.
Mind the Time Differences
It’s easy to forget that you can’t just pick up the phone and contact a client across the globe without causing an inconvenience. It may be dinner time or in the wee hours of the morning. Knowing what time it is in different countries around the world is important now that you’re working with international clients. To help you with keeping track of the different times, you can download a world clock on your smartphone, PC and tablet. There are also smart watches that offer such features. It can be hard to keep up with all of the time zone differences, so this is an easy way to do so. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to schedule a time that is convenient for your client, even if it means you making a conference call at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Set Up a Convenient Payment Plan Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until services have been rendered to fret about how you’ll be paid. When you get your first couple of International clients, you’re eager to please and set a great first impression. But rather than allowing the moment to blindside your business way of thinking, it’s imperative that you discuss money. You may find that some or even all of your international clients won’t have a U.S. bank account, which means that you will need an alternative to accept payments. For instance, you can use wire transfers or online terminals like PayPal. Make sure to adjust your prices according to the fees that these financial services render. Currency conversion fees can also put a damper on your income. To help with this, you should set up a foreign currency balance for your bank account.
Make Sure You Properly Interpret Your Client’s Communications
When you have clients who don’t speak English as their first language, it’s normal to witness certain language barriers, such as local slang, heavy accents and differences in how language is used. Even for the clients in English-speaking countries, this can be a problem, since they too have different terms and slang. Ensuring that you can understand your client’s emails and other communications is highly important, especially when it comes to getting the details for a project. You may find that audio and visual communication is a lot better, which is why a lot of businesses hold international conferencing via UberConference. During your communications, always ask for clarification to ensure that you truly comprehend what is being asked of you.
Steer Clear of Legal Problems
The contract you initially draw up may be your typical standard business contract, but it may not be enforceable in international deals. This is when a great lawyer can be useful. Have your attorney look into creating a contract that will be legally binding for your international clients. Refrain from signing anything until you go over it with your legal consultant.
Research Your Client’s Culture
Once you learn where your client lives, do a bit of research to see what his or her culture is like. Find out the local etiquette and customs, so that you won’t do anything to potentially offend your new customer. For instance, you may learn that some cultures find it rude to talk about money right away. Therefore, you’ll need to come up with a way to input your estimate of a project without coming off as disrespectful.
Working with international clients can be a great boost in your business’s revenue and reach, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the local market. With the right methods, you can continue growing your international client base, and who knows, maybe your business will grow substantially to where you need to bring aboard more people to help fulfill the demand!
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