International Business Success


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There is a lot of talk today about being “global”. What does global mean? A person of the world? Every country is as different. So is every locality and city or town. The skills a business person needs to be successful in international business go beyond being global. While not comprehensive, this list based on over a dozen years of international business experience should help.

Travel

For the international business person, travel is a way of life. Long distance air travel can be especially brutal. The best advice is to arrive one day before any important meetings or conferences to adjust to any time difference. In the air, eat, sleep, work and read but do all in moderation. Air travel gluttony is common among international travelers. The on thing you cannot do is exercise on an airplane.

Lodging

Stay where your host, whether a local office or a client recommends. While cost is a consideration, so is safety, convenience to meeting locations and services provided. This is the home away from home so chose it with care.

Meals

Eat in moderation. Business travel is not the time to make up for every diet that one has ever been one. There is the temptation to eat more than usual. On the other had, when with people who live locally, whether colleagues or clients, ask what they recommend when dining together. Apart from allergies, one should be open to eating local cuisine.

Drinking

Some cultures drink more than Americans. Some drink less. And some not at all. The best advice is to drink in moderation or not at all. Similar to eating, international business travel is not the time to beat ones college drinking record. It is not healthy and it is insulting to clients and colleagues.

Dress

Most American business people, even after the business casual trend, still dress much more casually than business people internationally. Find out from local colleagues or even clients what attire is appropriate. If you do not know, dress in traditional business attire (suits for men and for women). This can always be dressed down if appropriate. Dress like you mean business but more importantly, dress appropriately. The same applies to evening dinners and functions outside of business hours.

Meetings

Be at meeting early. Do not leave until the meeting is over. Even if others leave to take calls, do not do so except at scheduled breaks. Eat in moderation if lunch is brought in. Do not drink too much coffee but bottled water is good. Clean up after yourself after the meeting. And do not sit in the meeting with your laptop and read your email. That is rude. Do make sure you bring plenty of business cards. Introduce yourself to everybody. Do not interrupt, raise your voice or swear. If you have other calls, schedule them for the evening when not meeting with the clients or your colleagues.

Recreation

In the evenings it is common to have dinner with clients or colleagues. After dinner is often a time to relax, exercise and catch up on some work before the next day. If staying over a weekend or taking a day off, visit local historical sites, museums, cultural events and also shops and restaurants. Staying in the hotel doing work is not healthy and it does not make one more internationally-minded or cultured.

Communication

Find out how your clients and colleagues prefer to communicate when not face-to-face. E-mail is common today. Conference calls are important too. Video conference calls can be very effective. Snail mail and faxes are less and less common today but are still necessary from time-to-time. Keep all communications clear, crisp and to the point. On international conference calls, listen more than talk. And do not interrupt. Ever. Take notes or minutes and make sure they are distributed within one business day of the call. Never e-mail jokes, gags, anything obscene or off-color. Do not swear or raise your voice on calls or video calls. Listening and patience are valued in most non-US cultures.

Language

While most non-US business people speak 2-4 languages most from the US speak 1 or perhaps 2 and not well. To this end, speak clearly in English. Be patient if asked to repeat or explain. This is especially true on conference calls. It is acceptable to pick up local words or phrases. Make sure they are appropriate and that they are pronounced flawlessly. Do not make a joke out of local words or phrases. This is insulting to clients and local colleagues.

While business has a lot to do with finance, technology, human resources, research and development and law, it has more to do with people than anything else. To that end, doing business internationally is about people. By traveling and working with dignity and respect for customers and local colleagues, one is taking the first step toward the extensive skills needed to be successful in international business.

International Business Etiquette

“To have respect for ourselves guides our morals; and to have a deference for others governs our manners.” Lawrence Sterne, Irish novelist & satirist (1713 – 1768)

Etiquette, or good manners, is an important part of our day to day lives. Whether we realise it or not we are always subconsciously adhering to rules of etiquette. Much of the time these are unwritten; for example giving up your seat to a lady or elderly person, queuing for a bus in an orderly fashion according to who arrived first or simply saying “please” or “thank you”. All are examples of etiquette; complex unwritten rules that reflect a culture’s values.

Etiquette accomplishes many tasks. However, the one noteworthy function that etiquette does perform is that it shows respect and deference to another. By doing so it maintains good interpersonal relationships. Ultimately, it could be argued, etiquette is about making sure that when people mix together there are rules of interaction in place that ensure their communication, transaction or whatever it may be goes smoothly.

We all now how we or others feel when a lack of etiquette is shown. If someone jumps the queue, does not thank you for holding the door open for them or forgets to shake your hand, we naturally feel disrespected and perturbed.

International Business Etiquette

Keeping the above points in mind, now consider the complexities of working on the international stage. Modern business is global and demands people travel to foreign countries and mix with foreign clients, colleagues or customers. Each one of those cultures will also have their own etiquette rules, many of them unwritten. When two or more different cultures mix, it is easy for small etiquette mistakes to be made that could have negative consequences. Just as you may have felt annoyed when a foreign businessman did not shake your hands upon greeting you, imagine how your Chinese client must have felt when you wrote on his business card or your Indian colleague reacted when you flatly rejected an offer of a meal. Sometimes, not understanding the etiquette of another culture means you show a lack of manners and as Lawrence Sterne said, a lack of deference. This can and does lead to soured relationships, lost deals and in the end poor business results. Anyone working on the international stage needs to understand international business etiquette.

International business etiquette manifests in many shapes and sizes. Throughout the world people from different cultures have varying etiquette rules around areas such as personal space, communication, gift giving, food, business meetings and much more. For those wanting to make a good impression and understanding of international business etiquette is crucial. By way of introducing some of the key areas within international business etiquette we shall look at the following common areas…

Business Card Etiquette:

When you exchange business cards (even if you exchange them) do you simply pass it over and forget about it? In many countries the business card has certain etiquette rules. For example in the Arab world you would never give or receive a business card with your left hand. In China and Japan you should try and use both hands to give and receive. In addition it is always good etiquette to examine the card and make a positive comment on it. Whereas in the UK it may be OK to sling the business card into a pocket, in many countries you should always treat it with much more respect such as storing it in a business card holder.

The Etiquette of Personal Space:

How close do you stand to people? Is it impolite to touch somebody? What about gender differences? In the Middle East you may get very touchy-feely with the men, yet one should never touch a woman. A slap on the back may be OK in Mexico but in China it is a serious no-no. Touch someone on the head in Thailand or Indonesia and you would have caused great insult. Without an appreciation of international business etiquette, these things would never be known.

The Etiquette of Gift Giving:

Many countries such as China and Japan have many etiquette rules surrounding the exchange of business gifts. International business etiquette allows you an insight into what to buy, how to give a gift, how to receive, whether to open in front of the giver and what gifts not to buy. Great examples of gifts to avoid are anything alcoholic in Muslim countries, anything with four of anything in Japan and clocks in China.

The Etiquette of Communication:

Some cultures like to talk loudly (US and Germany), some softly (India and China); some speak directly (Holland and Denmark) others indirectly (UK and Japan); some tolerate interrupting others while speaking (Brazil) others not (Canada); some are very blunt (Greece) and some very flowery (Middle East). All will believe the way they are communicating is fine, but when transferred into an international context this no longer applies. Without the right international business etiquette it is easy to offend.

By way of conclusion we can state that etiquette helps maintain good relations with people. When dealing with people from a shared culture, everyone knows the rules and there is not much to think about. Those that lack etiquette are branded as uncouth and rude. However, this is not the same when working on the international stage. Someone may very well come across as being rude through a lack of etiquette but this may be because in their culture that behaviour is normal. As a result international business etiquette is a key skill for those wanting to be successful when working abroad. Through a great appreciation and understanding of others’ cultures you build stronger and longer lasting business relationships.

Salu International Business – 3 Secrets to Succeed With Salu International

This is not just another Salu International Business review, this is a hands on, “how to do it” article that will take you to new revelations of success and answer your most urgent questions.

What is Salu International?

Salu International is a fairly new MLM company which promotes two health products: Vital-Flex and Vital-Res V. Vital-Res V contain a highs amount of antioxidants and Vital-Flex is designed to cushion your joints and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Salu International Comp Plan is Binary. The website claims there are six ways to generate income, but I personally believe the main two ways to increase your paycheck will be with retail sales and team duplication. The rest are bonuses that should be looked as a plus.

Q: Can I succeed with Salu International?

A: Yes. You can succeed with Salu International and even retire, you just have to find ways to consistently generate new clients and business partners and then have them duplicate. The challenge of every Network Marketer is more leads and more money. You are in this for profit. And you need a system with tools to market and duplicate. Do you have a system with tools that are easy to duplicate?

Q: How do I know if I my system is easy to duplicate?

A: The answer is simple. Take a look at your personal numbers. Are you recruiting new business partners, and selling product everyday? Then take a look at your team and see if it is growing every day. The fact is your team will duplicate exactly what you are doing, so if you are doing nothing or next to nothing, they will do nothing. If you are just doing one form of marketing, i.e. home presentations, then your team will duplicate most likely through home presentations. You need to find ways to generate new clients everyday, and there are many ways to do it, ones which work better than others because they are easier to duplicate.

Some examples are:

–Social media marketing versus old-school social marketing or 3-foot rule,
–Article marketing versus flyers and posts on places,
–Generating your own leads online versus buying leads that you did not generate,
–Promoting yourself versus promoting your company,
–Doing a webinar versus doing a home presentation, etc.

If you are not using these tools, you are not monetizing from the newest, largest industry in the world which is never in a recession: the Internet. You may continue with your off-line efforts to grow your business, but for faster duplication and faster growth, you should leverage the power of the Internet.

Here are some free tips to begin to grow your Salu International Business today:

These have cost me a lot of money and time to learn, so take advantage of them and use them!

Social Media marketing on Facebook– Okay, Facebook is the cash cow of all social media sites, and you should be exploiting it!

–Add new friends every day (20-30)
–Create a “Like” page (what used to be the fan page) which promotes you, and invite your new friends everyday.
–Create a group and invite your new friends everyday.
–Send periodic updates and emails with useful information (careful with sales pitches, this is not the time to say Salu International is the best MLM ever) to your fans and group members.
–Have FUN! Do not portrait yourself as solely business minded but show your fans pictures of you and your family, etc.

Video Marketing

–Record videos of yourself giving free tips and good content about Salu International or anything related to your audience and post them in video sites like TubeMogul, YouTube, MySpace… etc
–Promote your videos on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, PeopleString, etc.
–Study video marketing along with Keyword Research and learn how to rank yourself at the top of search engines.

To learn how to checkmate your Salu International competition with video marketing, read my article “6 Steps To Successful Video Marketing.”

Last and more importantly: Build your own list!

Here is the deal, ALL of the Internet efforts and offline efforts have one objective: To build your own list of followers! And every time you send traffic to your Salu International website or any MLM website, you are building a list for your company and not for you. Find an auto responder which will aid you in generating your own list and having the freedom to e-mail them, create a relationship with them, keep track of your visitors and clicks, offer them whatever you want, and much more.

Four Steps to Accelerate International Business Growth

U.S. exports continue to grow, but many American companies lack the international business know-how to capitalize on this potential source of increased sales and profits. Proliferating trade agreements and a weakened U.S. dollar have resulted in one of the most favorable export markets in decades. Foreign importers of U.S. goods report an increasing demand for U.S. products–from popcorn to pet food. The U.S. has enjoyed 11 straight quarters of increasing exports–yet with 95 percent of the world’s population residing outside of U.S. borders and an increasingly promising international sales outlook, experts are questioning why only 5 percent of U.S. companies are currently exporting. But how do we initiate and sustain growth in unfamiliar markets?

1. DEFINE STRATEGIC NEEDS

Tapping into new markets provides the opportunity for increased revenue and profits. However, this initiative needs to be consistent with the company’s overall strategy. Inconsistent, sporadic, or unfocused deployment of resources directed toward international growth can result in an underperforming initiative that soaks up limited resources with little return. Barriers to entry (duties, regulatory, and trademark restrictions) need to be identified and addressed. A SWOT analysis detailing the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will identify and help maximize the company’s strengths, minimize its weaknesses, and give focus to the international opportunity.

An international growth plan consistent with the corporate strategy will enhance the odds of success. Tactical aspects of international development such as sales, distribution, and marketing need to be addressed. International growth factors can be sufficiently different from the U.S. models that a lack of familiarity can dramatically reduce the chances of success. Above all, there must be clear direction, full management support, and dedicated resources.

2. SECURE APPROPRIATE ASSISTANCE

Small or medium firms initiating or expanding into international business will find the U.S. Government’s Department of Commerce (DOC) an enthusiastic partner in helping American companies succeed globally. This organization coordinates resources from across 19 Federal agencies to help American businesses plan their international strategies in an increasingly globalized environment. In an unfamiliar foreign market with confusing regulations, uncertainty, and risk, the DOC can help U.S. businesses navigate the overseas sales process and avoid hazards such as payment defaults and misappropriation of trademark and intellectual property.
The DOC’s commercial service provides a surprisingly actionable array of quality services including in-country market research, trade events and missions, trade leads, and introductions to prospective business partners. The Export-Import Bank and the Small Business Administration unite to help in the financing of U.S. goods and services exports to the international market, enabling companies to turn international leads into solid sales.

Firms specializing in international business development can help jump-start foreign expansion. These firms are groups of highly skilled, experienced professionals offering practical, cost-effective assistance to companies committed to maximizing revenue and profit potential through accelerated international growth. The range of services offered varies by firm, but overall they help companies conceptualize, implement, and manage large or small international business development projects. These services can range from determining the overseas market potential for a product to managing a firm’s export sales to identifying and qualifying foreign strategic alliances.
A company wanting to penetrate the international market needs to assign a fully dedicated resource to this initiative. This individual should be the linchpin connecting the organization’s resources, know-how, and culture to the international initiative. As the business develops, additional resources should be assigned to maximize the opportunity. These should be considered investments rather than costs.

3. DETERMINE MARKET ENTRY STRATEGY

A firm’s appropriate market entry strategy will largely depend on its level of international development. For a company just commencing its international development, market penetration via in-country distributor sales may be the fastest and most cost-effective way to enter a foreign market. Selling through in-country distributors is relatively low-risk and will provide valuable learning opportunities. Once the target country or region has been identified, a process that will naturally derive from the SWOT analysis, the selection process can begin. Various U.S. government agencies and trade associations can provide a wealth of data to begin narrowing the selection.

Trade publications and events are also an excellent source. Factors to consider when selecting a market may include such criteria as regulatory environment, market size and potential, cost of entry, and competitive environment. To further narrow the possibilities, an in-country visit is required. Once there, the use of trade leads, competitive evaluations, local government assistance, and potential candidate interviews will provide additional information and insights. Major considerations in selecting a distributor are: willingness to assign a dedicated resource, market leadership or track record, marketing savvy, complementary and not competitive products or services, site inspection, and financial stability.

Penetrating a new international market is often perceived as an extension of the existing domestic business. Consequently, many American companies bypass standard business guidelines requiring rigorous market analysis. Only after performing thorough due diligence can one elaborate a service or product offering and accompanying marketing programs.

A company’s preferred mode of entry–in-country distribution, joint venture, merger, or acquisition–will depend on that firm’s primary objectives from opportunistic sales to positioning for long-term market-driven growth.

Economic globalization will increasingly lead to the creation of strategic alliances. U.S. firms must make sure that potential partners share short- and long-term objectives in order to reduce the divergence of ideas and efforts. Common values and shared business/ethical standards will enhance communications, transparency, and effectiveness. The partners should have complementary strengths and weaknesses to build a stronger and more effective alliance. Principles and processes for conflict resolution and the relationship must be drafted and agreed to by all parties concerned for the partnership to run smoothly.

4. DESIGN EFFECTIVE MARKETING

All markets have commonalities. However, effective international marketing begins with the awareness that markets are also different in ways that are not immediately apparent. The key is understanding consumers and identifying their needs through culturally specific market research. Focus groups can be especially effective in identifying the international consumer’s wants and needs. The advertising agency used in developing the offering should be local or have local representation. Employees with a thorough knowledge of market characteristics and idiosyncrasies will be particularly effective in communicating the desired message and creating and enhancing the brand image. Language skills and an affinity for different cultures are critical assets when marketing internationally.

Flawless execution is key. As a firm executes the international strategy guided by a solid business plan, it is important to celebrate milestones and benchmark against industry leaders.

Although not comprehensive, these four steps will help serve as a guideline for successful international market entry and growth.

International Business – Degree Study Programs

It is no surprise that businesses are crossing over into other countries by selling their product internationally. The challenge of conducting business internationally is the differences in policy and social interaction. The need for education in business is essential and students can enter degrees with an international focus from business schools across the country.

With companies expanding their reach into foreign markets the study of business in regards to international work is required.

Students can enter multiple degree programs that focus on the differences of business culturally, geographically, and economically.
Studies can be entered at all degree levels, which present students with a variety of careers that they can transition into once they graduate.

There are numerous things for students to know prior to enrollment in a learning program.

1. Beginning education with an associate’s degree provides students with specialized international business courses, general business courses, and some general education courses. The ultimate goal is to train students to enter work in global firms. Students explore global industry standards and regulations that help them become comfortable with international business tactics. Through the examination of business roles in global agenda students become an asset inside their job. Students are taught how to facilitate strategies that center on helping businesses be strong internationally. A general international business course introduces students to the geography, the Internet, and the cultures that participate in global business. Subjects covered include organizations, monetary systems, and business roles. Education at this level is a good stepping-stone to start a career or continue education.

2. Students can study in concentrated areas such as international banking, exporting, and marketing when they enter a bachelor’s degree program. A program goes through the different regulatory practices that make up the work involved in international organizations. Essentials of business are also taught, which includes microeconomics, data analysis, and accounting. Courses on international marketing, finance, transportation, and the global market build upon basic business principles to create a well rounded professional. A marketing course gives students the framework for how marketing crosses national borders. Different foreign markets are examined to prepare students to work with various factors when deciding how to market internationally. Many students enter a career directly after completion but some use a bachelor’s for an education base to enter a master of business administration degree.

3. Management level skills are gained when students work through an MBA in international business. Areas like business risk, foreign interaction, and contract assessment are discussed inside advanced level coursework. Students are able to explain regulations on importing, unfair trade, and law. Management courses on marketing, finance, advertising, and leadership are taught from an international strategic standpoint. Career work can be done in global companies as well as in government agencies and banking companies. Many students work within international companies throughout different areas of the world. In depth research and understanding is obtained when students work through a PhD degree. Curriculum is highly focused on advanced international study. Career work usually consists of becoming a post secondary professor.