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This article is written by William L. – a small business owner and entrepreneur who writes about startups, technology, and smart money management.

If you think that starting a business in your home country is difficult, multiply that by several times to get a grasp on just how hard it is to open a business abroad. Of course, just because something’s difficult, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it – you simply need to be fully cognizant of the challenges that you will face.

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Before you traipse into a foreign country and start filling out business paperwork, be sure to follow these tips:

1. Research Business Practices
Business laws and practices, banking, and taxation all vary from country to country. While you can set up a business in New Zealand in a single day, it could take weeks or even months in other countries. Before you make a move and get started, study the laws and requirements for the country you’re interested in, and investigate how much it will cost to incorporate, acquire property, and start working.

2. Study Cultural Differences
Fitness may be big business in the United States, but it’s unlikely to have the same draw in certain Middle Eastern countries. You need to understand cultural differences that could affect your business’s viability. Research the culture surrounding the product or service you’ll be selling to ensure that there’s a market and a need for it.

But that’s not the only cultural difference to study – from language barriers to varied social interaction, an expat is likely to experience difficulty fitting into a foreign business community. Consider taking a few short trips abroad to get your bearings and start interacting with the local community.

3. Understand the Country’s Political Climate
It’s very important that you understand the political climate of the country you’re entering, as well as its history regarding taxation and asset seizure. For instance, in 2013, as the European Union was bailing out banks in Cyprus, the Cyprus government went directly into bankers’ accounts, removing up to 10% of the funds deposited within and calling it a “tax.” As a business owner in a foreign country, you don’t want to be in a position where your profits are unexpectedly “taxed” or your assets are seized because the political climate is undergoing change. Watch carefully, and do your best to work within a country with a stable political and economic system.

4. Seek Legal Advice
It’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer when starting a business, and this is especially true when starting a business abroad. Locate an expat lawyer from your country who is living and working in the country to which you hope to move. This way you’ll know that the lawyer understands you culturally, but has the knowledge and skills to help you navigate the foreign environment.

5. Seek Local Guidance
Just like you might get involved with the Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Association in the U.S., you should seek to get involved with other business owners in the country where you plan to open your business. Start this process before moving so you have a few trusted friends whom you can go to with questions as you get your business underway.

6. Give Yourself Time
Even if you’re excited about moving abroad and getting your business started, remember that all good things take time. Don’t rush the process. Give yourself time to research, seek trusted counsel, and navigate the ins and outs of moving abroad. Remember that you also have to apply for and receive the appropriate visas, so don’t expect things to come together overnight.

Some countries are better for start ups than others. If you’re looking to speed the process, consider Inc.’s top four countries for business startups: Singapore, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Where do you want to start a business abroad? What are you most nervous about?


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  • Mike Airhart

    We started our own business in Mexico and one piece of advice I’d add to anyone going to a country where local wages are low is to plan on extra money to live off of while you’re getting your business on your feet. When money was tight after opening, we didn’t really have the option of getting a part-time job on the side to make ends meet. Moving to a country with a lower cost of living will allow you to live longer on less savings, but it also means that you really need to be profitable before your nest egg runs out. http://geckorockresort.com/

  • Rebeca Coleman

    Starting a business abroad isn’t that hard. You just need to do proper research and get to know the country’s laws in depth.
    http://quammi.com

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  • dendi

    Very nice info, if you are looking for help in business setup in dubai search for maf consulting middle east.

  • Zaib Ulhaq

    It is essential to consider whether you genuinely understand; that what are include during the time process of business setup in dubai; furthermore whether you are match to business and independent work. So begin asking yourself these essential and in addition complex inquiries:
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  • Lou-ani

    Help ? Wanting to Bring Supre Clothing & Cotton On Stores to the South Pacific ?

    Kia’orana,

    My name is Lou-ani marie Marsters, I come from a beautiful paradise in the South Pacific, The Country of the Cook-Islands the capital of this country is called Rarotongan you can look us up on google. Our Beautiful Paradise is under the New Zealand Law & We are the only country in the south pacific that has NZ currency also our own national currency.

    I write to you today, with a little dream hoping to be a big, successful, young business women here in our country, to contribute & help grow your well-establish company around the South Pacific. I am Cook-island born but was raised & lived in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia for most of my life also did my schooling & graduated many years ago. I am looking to be part or involved in Retail, I’ve taken retail courses, I live & breathe retail, I love shopping at stores, everyday I enter just to see whats on sale, I want to be working or managing a retail store for the rest of my life, but unfortunately we don’t have A Big Global retail clothing company’s here and with the amount of young women here shopping for outfits weekly is ridiculously we don’t have a variety of clothes to chose or buy for all party events or occasion all ages & sizes are wanted here. I currently work for a Car-Rental Company cleaning cars & serving customers as well, i don’t see myself in 5 years working for this company, Working or Managing A Retail store is where i see my Big Future for Many years to operate and Own. I am a huge retail buyer of your company’s, your clothing stores are the only stores I shop at, I am settled here back at home. I’ve always had a dream that One day I will bring a big retail clothing company here to our country and sell your company clothes here. I guarantee you, your company will benefit greatly having your clothing stores here in our beautiful paradise of Rarotonga. I’d like to keep this short & brief but for more details About myself & The Cook-Islands I can glad-fully leave my e-mail & mobile number. I’d love to expand your company stores to the South Pacific by Choosing The Cook-Island as your First choice of development. I hope to hear from you.
    E-mail : louani.marsters@gmail.com
    Mobile : +682 72517

    Many Kind Regards
    Sincerely
    L-A-M. A. Marsters

  • Andrea Maradiaga

    Hello everyone!
    I want to open a clothing store in Nicaragua. Any advice?
    Struggling right now trying to find out what permits I need to buy wholesale here but starting the business in Nicaragua.