Building Bridges: Four Tips for Getting Involved in International Business

You may not realize it now, but the best opportunity for your business enterprise may be waiting for you abroad. The globalization trend that has been building up since the 20th century shows no signs of stopping; if you feel that the American marketplace can only offer you so much, your company may be a good candidate for overseas expansion. Once you start researching your options for international business, you will likely run into the following methods:

Identify Potential Markets

If you have limited experience with regard to global trade, you should start by acquiring at least a working knowledge of international relations. If you are an absolute beginner, your first step should be to research the target market and acquire the skills you will need to succeed, starting with language and cultural affinity. Don’t worry if English is your only language; this can actually be a plus since you may be able to find potential markets in the Caribbean, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Oceania.

While this can be done, it will definitely be easier if you have a background in the subject. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get an advanced degree in this or a related subject to help your career path.

Licensing Agreements

If your company sells goods and is lawfully incorporated in your local jurisdictions, you may be able to get a fast start with an international agreement to license your products overseas. With this method, you will need to seek a business partner that can either manufacture or distribute your products; to this end, it is generally easier to allow your overseas partner to handle production than to import your goods. Marketing and accounting will be up to you, but you can outsource some of these business processes.

Joint Ventures

When you think about international expansion, you should keep in mind that other business owners may be thinking about entering your market. With a joint venture agreement, you enter into a partnership to handle some of the functions of a foreign company in your region; granted, you will only be able to derive some of the profits, but the terms of the agreement can be renegotiated later.

Trade Agreements

Business owners who operate in the United States can take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is set to be renegotiated under the Trump administration. By leveraging your NAFTA options, you can substantially expand your market to include Canada and Mexico. The traditional trade barriers you may find as you try to expand in Africa or Asia will be substantially reduced with NAFTA. You should not only think about offering products and services beyond borders; you should also think about importing goods from your neighbors to the north and south. In the end, there are no reasons for you to ignore globalization. Once you evaluate each of the methods listed herein, you will be in a better position to expand overseas. If you are planning to boost your skill set with a degree, be sure to look into attending one of the best graduate schools for international relations you can find. Whatever you do, remember that higher risk equals higher potential reward.

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys Tennis and spending time with her family.