Tag Archives: abroad

Top Ten Tips for Joint Ventures Abroad

Inspired by the 100 Thoughts into Action booklet that HSBC sent me last week, I put together a list of the top pieces of advice for those planning to find business partners in other countries.  This is just a list, I will come back with more details about some of these in future posts.

1.   Don’t be an accidental exporter – be proactive and investigate your opportunities and your markets. 

Even Europe can be a challenge...

2.   Be in it for the long haul rather than just planning a quick killing.

3.  Think ‘build connections first’, and only then finalising the contracts.

4.   Everything will always take much longer than you think, so use your time creatively to learn more about your partners.

5.  Don’t treat any one region or even country as a fully homogeneous culture or a single market.

6.  Learn at least some basic elements of the local language(s).

7.   Do not underestimate cultural differences.

8.  But at the same time, do not be paralysed into inaction because of cultural differences.

It takes years to build trust, seconds to destroy it.

9.   Learn what your own ‘blind spots’ are, get unbiased advice from outsiders.

10.   Be resilient, be flexible and be prepared to be surprised at every corner.

Oh, and despite all of the advice above, which makes it all sound really difficult and potentially frustrating, do enjoy the journey!

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Filed under Business cultur, Globalization

Why do Britons kill abroad?

OK, this is going to be controversial.  Let me clarify:  I do not mean that Brits are the only ones to kill abroad.  Nor do I mean that Brits have to go abroad to kill and crime doesn’t happen in the UK. Nor am I trying to find excuses for people to commit crimes abroad.  No, I was simply musing on those tragic stories recently in the news:  the mother who smothered her children in Spain and the man who killed his girlfriend in Greece.

Of course we can’t possibly know what was going on in those minds as they embarked upon those horrific deeds.  And I do not want to find a neat, trite little model of an explanation for what must have been (at least in one case) a very complicated and particular set of circumstances.  But I couldn’t help wondering if the fact that these individuals were abroad did contribute in some small way to the tragic outcome.

Life abroad, especially in a sunny clime, still seems very alluring to the British.  And who can blame them?  In this economic climate, a move abroad is not just a lifestyle change, but may also herald better career prospects, better housing, more money, a fresh start away from your mistakes.

Only it seldom lives up to expectations.

Expats nearly always tend to underestimate the hardship and loneliness of living abroad.  The difficulty of dealing with unfamiliar bureaucracy in a foreign language.  The length of time it takes to be accepted and start making friends.  Floundering around until you find your bearings.  It’s like a rollercoaster ride – one minute exhilarating, one minute the lowest of the low.  No one, however well adjusted, will be able to entirely avoid culture shock.

If you are a vulnerable type already, prone to anxiety, jealousy, personality disorders, living abroad can exacerbate these traits and lead you to take extreme action.  Just a thought….

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Filed under Globalization