Yes of course, go for it. There’s a vast world of opportunity out there to be exploited BUT, beware crocodiles; or at least an ocean of potential sharks that can come and eat you. Things to consider before you even leave the UK office:
· Is there truly a market in the countries you thinking about entering? Carry out your objective analysis free from the temptations of countries you like to visit.
· Are you hiring local or sending your own people to set up the operation?
· Check the rules on Visas, Employment Passes and spending time in-country on “Business Development”. Some countries have specific rules on what you can do on short stays. Some are more accommodating of Bus Dev than others
· Employment law. Don’t rely on short reviews like this. Get expert local help. If you think that will be expensive, trust me, its way cheaper than turning up and finding you are not allowed to operate. It may be too late once you have hired people. Can you manage people out of the business if they fail? Some places it’s nigh on impossible.
· Employment costs are so much more than salary. In some countries benefit and social costs can be nearly as much as the base salary and termination costs can make what looks like a low cost country suddenly become very expensive indeed.
· Culture. People bang on about culture but if you employ people but have no idea what makes them tick you will most likely be the last to know you have a problem.
· Business Practices. That’s the polite term for how corrupt a place is. What seems inexpensive may turn out to be very pricey indeed after you have squared away those who need to be “compensated”. Do your homework.
· Do you need a local sponsor to operate in country? It’s very common in Middle Eastern countries and some in Asia. These are the professional intermediaries who will be at the head of the queue for an “arrangement fee” but without whom you can’t even start to do business?
· Can you get your money out? Little point in building up a significant fund if you can’t repatriate your hard earned cash.
And it goes on but it is still worth the risk if you want to play in the International pool. The key learning is to always do your homework before you invest and always seek professional advice locally. It will cost but there is no sensible alternative. A territory that seems on the face of it to be expensive may turn out to be cheaper, and safer, in the long term. The salutary tale of the Malaysian tax official I can share directly…….
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