Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5 Tips for Starting a Business Abroad

My friend, Masha Malka, is a successful coach based in Southern Spain. She is being featured in a popular online magazine Expat Women this month.

She talks about her experience of working and living in a foreign country. Here she shares top 5 tips for starting a business abroad:

Don’t rush in

When starting a business abroad it is important to take the time and get to know the culture, the locals, the location, the customs, etc.

What you think might be a perfect business somewhere because it worked where you are, might not be the case in the place you are going to. Also, how you are going about setting up or promoting the business might be different.

If you know someone you can trust who is part of the community and can give you guidance that would be helpful; although, I would still take my time before launching into a business or investing into anything.


It can be lonely and scary to move to a new place, especially a new country where people might speak a language you don’t speak yet. Find local business groups such as Women in Business or charity clubs you can get involved in. Also, join the local American or British or any other clubs where you can initially speak in your own language and meet other expat women.

From my experience, expat people are eager to help other fellow expats because they’ve been there and know how hard it is to start out and integrate plus, they always look forward to meeting someone new!

Get to know the local media

No matter where you are, it is not just hard work but who-you-know that is important when it comes to succeeding in what you do. Local magazine and newspaper editors, radio and TV personalities, as well as socialites can help you raise your profile and attract more business.

But remember, before you ask for anything, think of how you can help someone first.

Find the right balance

By balance I don’t mean work / family / personal needs, etc., though of course it is very important. I mean the balance between integrating into a new culture and still being true to your own.

I love living in Spain but I also find it essential to go to the USA at least 3 times a year and “get recharged”. The energy in the USA, especially New York is so different to the energy in Spain and I need it in order to do my business at the standard that I am doing it.

The fine balance is not to integrate into the new community so that you become one of them and at the same time not to be too different that they can’t relate to you. You want to maintain your uniqueness and bring newness to the community and, at the same time, understand their needs and “speak their language”.

Remember why you are abroad

It is inevitable that there will be times when things become difficult, when you become nostalgic, and when you wish you never chose to move. When it happens, remind yourself why you chose to move abroad. What attracted you to that country in the first place? What is great about living there? What did you learn in the process and how did it help you grow?

At the end of the day, it is people who make our life enjoyable no matter where we live. So make sure to make plenty of friends – be giving, loving, open-minded, and caring and, of course, have fun in all that you do!

Read the full article here

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