What is international business?
Is it about offices spanning the globe?
Is it about world-class headquarters your company has set up?
Is it about transactions and dealings with countries other than your own?
Yes and no.
Yes, international business is in part about all of that.
No, because being an international business goes beyond the physical boundaries and geographical maps of the world.
Wikipedia defines international business as, “International business comprises all commercial transactions (private and governmental, sales, investments, logistics, and transportation) that take place between two or more regions, countries and nations beyond their political boundaries.”
I define international business as transactions that take place between two or more countries, regions and nations with a deep understanding of each other’s cultures.
I define international business as establishing and ensuring a culturally diverse and aware workplace.
My definition of international business is in keeping with my beliefs about being a global citizen in today’s world.
If your business works with countries, regions or nations other than your own, it is absolutely vital that you understand, appreciate and even, absorb some of the culture of those countries.
How do you think the East India company was able to establish solid ground in India in the 17th century? By using cultural assimilation.
Even today, if you’re an international business planning to foray into other countries and cultures, it is essential that your presence reflects your understanding of that culture.
From advertising that uses the right language and messaging, to packaging your products perfectly for the audience in mind, to creating advertisements that connect on a cultural and emotional level with the audience to creating a culturally rich and diverse workplace, these are just some of the ways an international business can truly make an impact that goes beyond the cold crunch of numbers.
An international business must keep in mind the language of the country when printing packaging and advertising material.
It must keep in mind cultural elements, like cuisine and dietary preferences when using them in branding and other exercises. For instance, in Asian countries, cereal or breakfast muffins aren’t everyday breakfasts. Showing these in an advertisement for your product in an Asian country wouldn’t resonate with your audience.
An international business must use messaging that their target country’s audience will connect with. Colloquial phrases, vernacular verbiage and traditional adages will all be instantly welcomed and enjoyed.
Showing respect for religious and festive occasions whether at the workplace or in brand messaging indicates cultural maturity and awareness.
These are just some of the ways an international business can truly be international when reaching out to newer and foreign shores.
If you or anyone you know is part of an international conglomerate or if you’re an entrepreneur wanting to go global, I’d love to chat with you about making the transition and leap as seamless as possible. Connect with me on Facebook or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch.