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.
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.
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.