In this digital world, even the smallest businesses can have global reach, with clients halfway around the world from the company’s home office. But logistical issues can become more complicated when your reach becomes international. There are time zone differences, cultural and linguistic barriers, and difficulties in sending and receiving physical products. None of these should stop you, however, from expanding your company’s reach as far as it can go. There are ways to deal with each of these problems, and continue expanding your company globally.
Be courteous of time differences
When working with clients or partner companies who are located abroad, it’s crucial to keep time zone differences in mind. When you send out an email, remember that it might be the middle of the night in your client’s country, and that you may not receive a reply for an extended period of time.
When you schedule a phone call or video chat, be courteous of scheduling it during the other person’s usual working hours, so that they aren’t inconvenienced. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a time that falls within business hours for both parties, but if this can’t be done, then schedule it outside of your own regular hours. It’s more professional and courteous to put yourself at an inconvenience than to inconvenience a new partner or a potential customer. And, especially if the other party has worked with international partners before, your courtesy will be noticed.
Read up on cultural norms
If you’re working with people who live in a different country, chances are there are at least a few cultural differences between the two places. Do your best to educate yourself on these differences, so that you don’t unintentionally offend the other party. In some countries, for instance, it’s considered polite to chat for an extended period before getting down to business. In other countries, this chit chat is considered a waste of time.
You don’t need to learn everything about the other person’s culture, but a basic understanding can go a long way. And, if you find you make a faux pas anyway, be open about it, apologize to the other party, and express interest in learning how to be culturally appropriate the next time around. Remember that not everyone does things the same way as you, and respect those differences.
If you need to transfer physical products between yourself and your client or partner, there are more options than just the post office. Especially if you are going to be sending large packages, you can coordinate with airline shipping companies on bulk prices or discounts for being a regular customer.
Just because you and your client are separated by continents and oceans, doesn’t mean that you can’t coordinate to exchange products and even returns. Click here to learn more about how freight services can make this goal a reality for your company.
Consider splurging on a trip abroad
Once you have established a working relationship with an abroad client or partner, you may consider saving your company’s money for a professional trip abroad. These trips can be especially impactful if you already have a long-term relationship with the client, or if you hope to turn a short-term relationship into a long-term one. Not only will you have an opportunity to talk with the other party face-to-face, and to see how their operation works, but simply the gesture of traveling so far can go a long way in relationship building.
If your company is looking to expand across the boundaries of countries or continents, don’t let the logistics hold you back. For every issue, there is a reasonable and achievable solution to allow your company to going to grow.