What steps need to be taking when launching a branch in a new country?

Choosing to move your business overseas to become a truly global enterprise is a fantastic opportunity that many dream of but few ever achieve.

If you are ready to open your first new branch or office in a new country, you need to make sure that you are following these steps.

Find a local lawyer

Don’t rely on your current lawyer being able to represent you abroad. They are most likely not going to be qualified to practice in another country and they will have no idea how the legal system actually works. You need to go in at ground level and find a new team of lawyers who can help you get set up.

This will be one of the first things you do when you have chosen the country that you want to go to. A local lawyer will be able to go through all your current business structure and tell you what is going to work and what won’t work in your new country. They will be able to draw up contracts that fit local laws, and will be able to submit the applications, needed to start a business, to the relevant government bodies. In short, there is no doubting just how powerful and useful they are going to be.

Translation

When you are ready to launch your new branch to the public, you need to make sure that you have brought a translator on board to work on your website. Too many international companies just make the mistake of only having an English website and let customers use a tool like Google Translate if they want to use it in their native tongue.

Find out what the most commonly used languages are in your new country, and, if they are anything other than English, you might want to introduce language support for them using a translator. People want to be able to read clear, cohesive copy in their own native tongue. It helps them feel more welcome at the website overall and it means that things will actually make sense within the translation. Tools like Google translate are notoriously inaccurate and it can make for a lot of guesswork on the visitor’s behalf as they try to work out what is going on.

Many smart sites that work in a bilingual capacity (or even with support for three or more languages) can jump between the different pages seamlessly. For example, the Bonusninja website works with online casino players in multiple countries. You will find that the Finnish Bonusninja website is much the same copy-wise as it is in other languages. However, with just that added level of support the website is far more welcoming to those players from these countries, and it helps to show that they are truly valued as customers. Next time you’re browsing the web, do some research on websites in different industries and see how they have gone about translating pages into two or more languages.

A ground team

Never try to run an international operation from another country. It is always easier to navigate the opening of a new office on the ground there. Though this might mean that you have to relocate there for a few months until you are confident things can run without you, this will be one of the best choices that you could make in the long term.

There are so many things that can go wrong when setting up a business. There will also be a slew of documents that require your signature, and a fax or scan might not always be good enough. It is always easier to tackle things when you are based there, and able to give things your full attention.

Get yourself settled, find an office, and start working on pulling a great team together as soon as you can. Before you know it, your new branch could be up and running.

Though the prospect of going international could be incredibly exciting, you do need to take the time to ensure that everything is in place, just as it would be when opening a new business. In many ways, these processes are actually comparable to opening that new business, even if it is just an extension of your current one. Make sure you do not neglect any part of this new branch, and get that ground team working as quickly as possible!