So you have been experiencing business success, rubbing shoulders with the right people, attracting investors, and getting some much needed publicity in industry magazines and websites. Great – and congratulations! But you have that ache in your heart to do more. I certainly did and am acting upon it now. In this globalized world clients and businesses are looking for multicultural connections beyond their borders…and there is only so much the internet can do. Why don’t you source new colorful silks from China? How about finding new industry connections in Germany? You’re still young so get an advantage over your competition and take these steps make the world your oyster.
1. Acknowledge you’re not going on a holiday
Ask yourself what you want to achieve on your trip. Write out at least three goals for going overseas – yes, you can certainly tailor them to be on the personal side as we all have a bucket list! However, your key motivator should be to do business. By ‘business’ this could mean at times you are giving away business cards by the pool in Hawaii…and you just so happen to get a tan!
2. Connect up with multicultural and multifaith clubs in your hometown
I am certain you have walked past the local Polish club and wondered what’s inside, haven’t you? Here’s the perfect opportunity. Organize a meeting with those ‘in the know’ at the club beforehand. These people no doubt have important connections back in their native countries. It is also a great opportunity to learn about the culture you want to do business in and ask questions. Who knows – perhaps they could hook you up with free accommodation? Make sure after your trip you touch base with the club as well to tell of your many success stories.
3. Connect with corporate clubs in the towns you want to visit
Before getting on that plane to France, get in touch with the local government in the provinces you want to do business in. They will put you onto the corporate clubs in the town. When you are cruising around Rio, I would also buy the newspaper everyday. No doubt the ‘who is who’ of business will be featured and you could try organize a meeting with them.
4. Let your clients and business allies know what you are doing
You never know how these guys can help you out.
5. Learn the basics of the language
This shows you are courteous to those business connections you will meet with, and you have shown interest in the customs, country and culture. It could also prove useful when you need directions to a networking event in Moscow! In the same vein of thinking it is also important to know what not to say – even in English speaking countries. In Australia, the country which I reside in, I have heard a number of my clients be utterly offended when foreign investors snigger and say “G’day mate.” Then again, there are also a few Australians who would find that absolutely hilarious. My advice is to simply play things by ear – joke when appropriate.
6. Put a budget in place
A budget is a good measurement of the time you are willing to spend away from your baby (or ‘business’ as some of us like to call it).
7. Be positive
Yes, there is a GFC. Yes, business is doing it tough and in some European countries the situation is dire. However, this means they are hungry to get back on track – and want your help! 2012 is also an Olympic year meaning that people are more inclined to open their arms to foreigners..not to mention all the opportunities in London after the big event. So come into it positively, have some fun and know that most people only want to help you. Good luck!
Kiara O’Gorman is a freelance public relations consultant who has the alias of The Schriftsteller. Her specialist area is in developing effective communication strategies small business and arts-based organisations. She is planning a business trip to India to make industry connections on behalf of clients who are willing to pay commission.