There was a time when being an entrepreneur simply meant building your own business and reaping the profits, often via taking risks.
To succeed as an entrepreneur nowadays, it takes more than being a little business savvy and having a sense of adventure – you must also reach out to a global audience.
The interconnection of the worldwide marketplace (thanks to the internet and a highly developed international infrastructure) means that tapping into foreign markets and opening up new streams of revenue has never been easier. However, to really succeed, you’ll need to speak the local lingo of the new markets you wish to break in order to effectively target overseas consumer bases and maximise your outreach.
Below are the top five languages that an aspiring entrepreneur should consider tackling in order to expand their business to its fullest potential. Of course, which one you ultimately choose will depend on your industry and unique circumstances, but it doesn’t hurt to have a handle on the most attractive options – and here they are.
- Mandarin Chinese
Not only is Mandarin the language with the most native speakers in the world (close to a billion people have the language as their mother tongue), but China is also the second largest economy in the world – and the fastest growing one. Therefore, learning Mandarin should be a no-brainer for any ambitious impresario looking to tap into this wildly lucrative market.
As the official language of around 27 nations and with approximately 223 million native speakers, Arabic is an often overlooked but invaluable tool in accessing an incredibly vast consumer base. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among some of the fastest growing economies right now, so capitalising upon this with a solid grasp of their official language is a smart move.
Did you know that at one time in history, French was actually considered the lingua franca for business and trade across the globe? It was only with the rise of the British Empire and America’s subsequent economic boom that English replaced it. Even today, French is the principal language of many Mediterranean and African countries, meaning that a multitude of emerging markets still prefer to conduct their transactions in it.
With the exception of Brazil, Suriname and the Guianas in the northern tip of South America, the entirety of the continent shares the common tongue of Spanish, as does the majority of Central America (and Spain, of course). Colombia, Peru and Mexico in particular are three of the speediest growing economies to watch in 2015, according to Bloomberg, so mastering this Latin language is a prudent step in breaking into a significant portion of the world’s population.
The enormous country of Russia is teeming with wealthy and ambitious businessmen, but who often can’t speak English well and as a result, prefer to do deal with those with a handle on their own tongue. Though Russian is a challenge, it’s a rewarding one – it can allow access not only into the country itself, but also a whole host of former Soviet nations which are just now finding their feet in the world of business.