There are many reasons why business owners decide to relocate to a new country. It might be that they want to move themselves, and are taking their business with them. There are also financial (including tax) reasons that can make such a move a good idea. There are some difficult questions that will need to be answered before you can go, though; moving a business is far more complicated than moving house, after all.
The business plan
Before you start any aspect of the process of moving your company abroad, you will need to look at your business plan, and then update it totally with your new ideas and goals. A comprehensive business plan will need to cover everything about the business, and specifically about the move including costs, what your new company structure will be, and what your aims are in moving the business.
It is essential that all your costs are calculated accurately, otherwise, you may not get enough of an investment to be able to be successful. If you are moving as well, and the business is funding that move, then it is even more important; you don’t want your entire plan to fall through due to lack of preparation and funding. Include an executive summary in your plan which explains the overview of the business. It is useful for all business owners to write this, as it shows a greater depth of understanding about exactly what it is you do and are planning to do.
Before you decide when and where to move your business to (assuming that the decision is yours to make), you will need to look at the financial side of things. We have already briefly mentioned investment for startup costs via your business plan, but there are other things to consider as well. What, for example, are the rules and regulations that govern the country or area that you are moving to? What are the tax laws?
These rules and laws will differ from country to country, so you must do your research and find out as much as you can before you go. The last thing you want to do is to get caught out and fined – or worse – simply because you hadn’t studied up on the country’s business laws. If you are going to The United Arab Emirates, for example, there is a lot of information to be found at The Business Year, which discusses Ras Al Kaimah, a great place to visit and invest.
It is crucial that you do this research no matter which country you are going to, or even if you already think you know what the laws are like. Laws can change, so you need to ensure you are up to date. Another finance related issue that you will need to look into is banking. Should you keep your current bank account open, and also open one in your new country? There are pros and cons to this, and again, you must carry out your own research to decide what to do.
Are you sure about moving abroad? Is it going to bring you plenty of opportunities and a much better profit margin? Are there more people who need your product or service? Or will it be the opposite, and you find that you can’t sell the way you did ‘back home’? Before you start packing, you will need to do your market research. Without this, you won’t know whether your business has the potential to succeed in its new country. Neither will you know what the competition is like, or how to price your items.
There is a lot to learn when starting a business, and when you’re starting it in a new country, there is even more to learn. However, if you get it right, choose the perfect country to start up in (or re-start in) and do all your homework before you go, it could make your company a lot more successful.
Not only do you need to ensure that your business idea will work and that wherever you are looking to move to isn’t saturated in your sector already, but you will also need to shop around for professionals to help you including accountants, IT experts, and business consultants. Are you going to have the backup you need to really make a success of your company overseas? You won’t know unless you carry out your market research first.
When you move abroad, you can feel very much alone. When you move abroad with a business, it can feel even more daunting. This is why you will need to network, and meet as many like-minded business people as possible. By joining a variety of entrepreneurship and business groups, some of which will have been set up for those starting or moving a company abroad, you will be able to meet new people who you can talk to about your own experiences, and from whom you can gain valuable advice and insight into the process and how successful (or otherwise) it has been.
Not only that, but these business people could well be your first set of new customers. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and this could be ideal. It will depend on what you sell, of course, but it could work out well. Plus you might find the people you need, from consultants to accountants to sub-contractors.
Do you have a solid foundation?
If you already have an established business, you need to look at it objectively and really answer the question of whether or not you have a solid foundation truthfully. If you do, then expanding or relocating to a new country will be much easier than if you haven’t. To know whether or not you have a solid foundation, you should look at how well the business works without you. Can it manage? If so, then it is solid.
As well as that, how much revenue comes in each month? Is it fairly stable? That is another sign of solidity; an income that goes up and down may not allow your business to survive after an upheaval such as moving countries. If you have a loyal customer base and you are able to serve their needs from abroad as well as you can from where you are now, then re-locating should not be a problem. For some companies, where you work from makes no difference at all.
Can you adapt?
Moving to a new country and doing business there will necessarily mean that you have to adapt to a new culture and a new way of doing things. You might have to customize your product or your service, or you might need to look at how you run your business. If you currently work weekdays from 9 until 5, you may not be able to maintain that in a new country.
Depending on where you go, some religious countries won’t have workers that can be employed on certain days or the week, for example, or they may need a rest in the middle of the day when the sun gets too hot, but then they will work later, or start earlier. There is a lot to learn if you’ve only ever lived and done business in one country all your life.
Should you look for a partner?
Some companies will need an international partner if they want to relocate entirely, or even just expand abroad. Those partners can help to ensure that everything is set up in advance, which means minimal disruption and loss of revenue. Partners also mean that costs can be kept low because they will already know who to speak to and potentially can broker good deals on your behalf.
However, bear in mind that forming this kind of partnership can take many months, if not years, and moving ahead too soon could be a costly mistake. Make sure you carry out the due diligence that will be required and have a lawyer draft contracts so that each party knows that is expected of them.
What about your team?
If you have an established business and you are moving the whole thing to another country, what will happen to your team? You may not want to lose the talent that you have hired, but you (probably) won’t be able to persuade them to come with you. This leaves people out of a job, and you without any colleagues and employees that you can trust.
How are you going to solve this problem? One way to do it is to hire remote employees. That way you can keep the team you already have, but allow them to stay in their own homes. Not every business is able to do this, particularly the customer-facing ones that sell products in stores, for example, but if it is doable, then it can be a cost-effective total solution.
Alternatively, you will need to hire staff in the new country you have chosen. If you want to do this, then you will need to speak their language, ensure that you only hire those who speak yours, or have a manager who speaks both and can translate for you. There is a lot to think about, and moving your business abroad is not an easy thing to do. It could, however, reap big rewards.