May 22, 2024

Business Bib

Business & Finance Blog

Challenges When Growing International Business Operations

3 min read


Growing international business operations can provide your business with exciting new opportunities for growth and profit, but expansion comes with its own set of challenges. After all, if growing international business operations were easy, everyone would do it. There are significant risks and challenges related to expanding internationally and a business owner has to be sure to team up with people who are experienced and can be trusted in supervising global operations with an aim to succeed.

Some challenges when growing international business operations include:

Language Barriers

Language barriers are probably one of the most obvious challenges when growing international business operations. As a business owner, you may need to rely on translators when speaking with business contacts, negotiating contracts, training staff and making other arrangements for global expansion. Having a translator one can trust is especially important when reviewing the intricacies of any contract and ensuring important points are not missed. If your company opts to use outsourced customer service to another country, your customers may have a difficult time understanding people whose first language is different than that of your customer base. This is something to carefully consider.

Cultural Differences

It is essential to understand that different cultures have different values, and at times these differences can be dramatic. Gender, for example, could be an issue in countries where women are not afforded equal rights to men. This could raise concerns about whether to send any female staff members to these countries. Marketing styles may also differ from one nation to the next and a polite gesture or behavior in the United States may not be viewed as polite in another nation. For these reasons, it is important to learn about the cultural differences of the nations you are considering doing business in or with.

Other challenges when growing international business operations include legal matters, supervisory oversight, and political matters.

When conducting trade in another nation, a business owner must make him/ herself familiar with that particular nation’s laws related to business and trade. There may be a need to pay additional taxes and import duties in the United States if your company is importing products from other nations. The legal intricacies of international business operations can be very challenging. Without enlisting the assistance of an experienced legal advisor, a business owner could leave themselves open to the possibility of fines and penalties. Hiring an experienced international lawyer who has a firm grasp related to the laws of the country you wish to do business in or with is paramount.

When opening a physical location in which to operate business in another country, it is important to hire people who can keep you updated on the daily operations of the business. Without proper supervision, you may find that your business is not being run properly and/ or legally. It is vital to ensure you have someone in place to oversee all operations when you are not there and that they report back to you, so that you can act accordingly should any issues arise.

Another one of the challenges when growing international business operations is related to political matters. Many people worldwide are strongly against outsourcing, globalization, and other typical international business practices. A portion of your customer base may have this philosophy and may turn away from your company if you begin to trade with other nations. This is something to keep in mind and to be sensitive to. There are a number of other political matters that could arise and one should be mindful of these as well.

There are many benefits related to expanding globally. For many companies, it is the only next logical step in pursuing continued growth and success for their businesses. While there are many advantages that certainly outweigh the risks involved, it is important to first carefully consider the challenges when growing international business operations. One of the first logical steps in searching for and contacting potential partners (legal advisors, staff, translation services) in another nation is to set up a reliable means of communication. Virtual phone numbers from a service provider like Global Call Forwarding can be obtained to streamline the form of communication and help you to begin the process of putting together a strong team for global expansion of your business.