5 Tips to Help You Manage a Company Overseas
Managing a company overseas presents unique challenges, unlike any you’ll see when running a business in the city where you live. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but you should prepare yourself for the changes you need to make to manage your company from afar successfully.
Use these five tips to help you keep things working smoothly when you can’t be there in person.
1. Communicate with Employees
Many people find communication challenging, even when working in the same building as their employees. However, when you run a company overseas, it not only becomes more difficult but more crucial to keep in contact with your employees.
Studies show that the better you communicate with your employees, the more committed they will be to their work and your company. You want your employees to feel satisfied with their work, which means you must give and accept feedback. Open communication means fewer misunderstandings and a more efficient workplace.
Consider, too, that your employees overseas run several hours ahead or behind your time zone. If you coordinate a time that works for everyone, you can use that time to communicate expectations, answer questions, acknowledge concerns, and resolve problems before they grow.
2. Use Technology to Stay Involved
With all the technology available to businesses today, you can stay involved with your team and their progress every day—and you should. While you can use technology for weekly meetings, business tech goes much further than that.
Cloud storage systems like DropBox Business, Egnyte, Citrix allow you to share files between yourself and your employees, so everyone has access to the same information. By creating a cohesive work environment using technology, you can ensure your team meets their deadlines and monitor their progress on different projects.
You can also use shared organizational tools, like Evernote and Asana, to ensure your team keeps their assignments in order. These tools make it easy for everyone to track different projects within the company together.
3. Make Your Business Culturally Relevant
When you start a company overseas, you must keep in mind cultural differences. If you learn about the area where you plan to build your business, you have a better chance of engaging customers and hiring skilled employees.
Understanding the culture of another country means accounting for societal values, religion, time orientation, and how people from that culture respond to different types of marketing. Some cultures prefer aggressive marketing tactics, while others may find your company overbearing if you use these practices.
People must also be able to access your company’s message in their native language. While most companies in the United States use English when producing ads, signage, and other types of content, you may need to translate this content for your overseas customers and employees. You may even need to adjust your messaging to appeal to people in a different culture. Western modes of thinking differ from Eastern ones, and you must consider that when you manage a company overseas.
While adapting your business to culturally specific practices or products can get locals to notice your business, other measures can make your company more accessible to people across cultures. For example, a multi-currency card allows you, your employees, and your customers to use a single prepaid card to pay with different currencies. If you live in the United States, but you have a company in Switzerland, a multi-currency card lets you pay with euros without going through a complicated exchange process.
4. Use Your Partnerships
No matter what kind of business you run, you need partnerships. These partnerships may benefit your company in unexpected ways, whether you need translation services, an international marketing consultant, or help to promote a new product.
Partnerships don’t only mean working with other companies in the area. While creating relationships with local businesses can help spread the word about your company, you must also consider the partnerships you make with your customers. Overseas influencers can reach more people in your target demographic when they use and review your products.
By using every resource available to you, you expand your reach. Networking will help you grow your business faster than ads, content, or posting on social media. With the right business associates and connections, you can employ mutually beneficial tactics that help you create even more partnerships as time goes on.
Word of mouth is the most powerful tool for expansion, no matter where you base your business. Therefore, you should make as many quality partnerships as you can with companies and customers overseas.
5. Build Relationships from Afar
Along with employee communication, you, as the company manager, must still build relationships with your employees. However, when you manage your company from overseas, you face greater challenges when it comes to connecting on a personal level with your employees and customers.
When you show your employees you care about their well-being, you create a more trusting environment, which helps build your bottom line as a bonus. Pay attention to your employees’ lives, respond to their milestones, and encourage them with positive feedback. Notice their achievements—for example, if an employee earns a promotion within their department, congratulate them. Likewise, if they lose a family member, send a sympathy card.
If you can schedule a time to meet with your team physically. Meeting in-person shows your employees that you value them beyond their productivity. Spend time with your employees to get to know them and show genuine interest in your conversations.
While many of these steps may appear simple, each one plays a significant role in creating a successful company. Managing a company overseas means going to greater lengths to ensure both employee and customer satisfaction in a way that suits that culture. When you prepare for these challenges, your company has a higher chance of success overseas.