Most businesses dream of going international, especially if you've outlasted the current pandemic. As travel restrictions have finally started to ease within the UK, now might be the perfect time to venture into international business. But the main question on every entrepreneur's mind is, do you need to travel to get global success? It's understandable to be cautious about travel under the current conditions; after all, every trip is a risk of catching the coronavirus. If you're weighing up the decision to travel for your business, here are some pros and cons of staying at home while you expand your business overseas.
Advantages of staying home
Video calls can make meetings possible
After a year of back and forth lockdowns and working from home, the world has gotten used to virtual meetings. Video calls have practically replaced physical meetings. You should have no trouble setting up a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting with other business people overseas. These video meetings allow you to talk face-to-face (kind of) without risking your health or having to spend your money on plane tickets! Suppose you're connecting with others who don't speak your language. In that case, you may need to hire an in-person translator to help with potential language barriers - interpreters can join your video call. Hence, there's still no need for any physical meeting.
You'll have more personal time
One thing entrepreneurs have in common is a lack of personal time. You spend so much time working on your business that you can forget to have a break. When you take a step back from international business travel, you'll be surprised at how much more time you have. You won't have to run for taxis or make your way to airports two hours in advance; you can use the time you usually spend travelling at home instead. The jetlag you suffer with after long flights will be a thing of the past, too! If you have a family, you can profit from this extra time by spending it with them.
Messaging systems can ease language troubles
Regardless of how you choose to communicate, a significant struggle for any international business are the language barriers you may face. Thankfully, certain message systems, such as the MyJuno app, can instantly translate your messages into the recipient's language. Many business people who cannot use regular messaging systems and emails due to language problems use MyJuno. These translation messaging systems are perfect for those follow-up messages you'd need to send to international business people that can't speak your language. There's no fussing with translation software or interpreters - the translation is instant. It requires no extra work from either you or your recipient either!
You can still reach out and connect
Creating international business relationships is an ongoing task - many business people have to work at this 24/7. Of course, it's not possible or healthy to be in meetings every waking hour of the day, especially in multiple destinations. You can still easily reach out and make those connections with potential business partners through other means, such as phone calls and emails. These relationship-building methods aren't time-restricted like physical meetings. You don't need to arrange a time to send or reply to an email, which is ideal if you and the recipient are in different time zones.
Your bank account will thank you
Have you ever sat down and ran through the costs of travelling for work? It's expensive! Choosing not to travel while you work on boosting your business globally could save you heaps of money. When you travel for business purposes, you're spending money on plane tickets, taxis, hotels - these things aren't cheap. And don't forget the business meals and costs to hire an interpreter! It's nice to spend money on travel and fine dining, but wouldn't you rather do it in your personal time?
Disadvantages of staying home
Relationship building isn't quite the same
Although the world has gotten used to virtual meetings and online messaging, it still doesn't quite compare to the face-to-face connection you get from physical meetings. These in-person meetings make it much easier to build international relationships. You can gauge the situation a lot easier than via a screen. You also lose the feel of the room and body language in virtual engagements. Suppose you're meeting with a business partner or potential client in person that doesn't speak your language. In that case, it's a lot easier to communicate as you can use translation tools that don't work well when used online. The Mymanu CLIK S translation earbuds are great if you want to have a physical meeting that requires instant translation, as the earbuds translate speech directly into your ear. There's also no lagging or any need to break COVID guidelines, as you can still socially distance while using the earbuds! When looking to turn prospects into clients, these factors are vital.
Product checks are impossible
When it comes to selling a product, you can't expect to get anyone on board without seeing it first. Whether you're looking for investors, new customers, or even a new manufacturing facility, product checks need to be made. Investors and potential buyers will want more than just an online glimpse at what you're offering - they'll want to touch, feel, and test your product. The situation is similar when working with manufacturing plants. If you're using an overseas manufacturer, you won't be able to manage progress and oversee production properly.
You can't resolve issues as efficiently
It's best to resolve any issues face to face. Having to address problems over email or through a choppy wifi signal isn't the most professional situation for international business growth. If there are language barriers, these issues can also be heightened when not dealt with in person. Many things can get lost in translation and could result in more problems. You'll also find that face-to-face communication is much more time-efficient, as you won't have to wait around for a reply.
International business growth might take longer
It's without saying, international business growth will undoubtedly take longer if you decide against travelling. You can still reach out and connect to potential partners using online systems and virtual meetings; however, it could take longer to secure those partnerships. Some businessmen and companies will hold out for physical engagements before settling on any business ventures. It can be risky to go into business with partners that you haven't met before. It's a safer option to make an effort to travel. In some cultures, meeting in person is admired as it shows commitment. So making the trip abroad might be in your business's best interest.
Work satisfaction might take a tumble
Being cooped up at your office or home can be unsatisfactory, to say the least. Sometimes it's refreshing to travel to new locations, even if it is for work purposes. You can get much more enjoyment from your work life when you're experiencing new cities and countries. With international business comes a mixture of customers that you should get to know better. It's hard to put yourself in the shoes of another if you're not familiar with the country's culture or background. Being more aware of your customers and how they interact with your products can also boost business ideas. You can think of potential new products or ways to better a customers experience if you see them first-hand.
So, will you be venturing overseas to make your international business dreams a reality? It's up to you to decide!