The world is becoming a smaller place. Social media is making it even smaller. We meet people from all over the world and from many walks of life.
Just because you could take on international clients doesn’t mean you should.
Here are 6 things to consider:
1 – Time Zones
So you live in London and you take on a client in New Zealand. You wake up as they go to bed. Are you prepared to stay up late or wake up before the break of dawn to make sure you can service their needs?
2- Different work weeks
Some countries have different weekends. If you take on clients in the Middle East they won’t want to deal with you on a Friday. Clients in Israel won’t talk to you on a Saturday.
How do you deal with clients who’s work week starts on a Sunday? Are you prepared to work on Sundays?
3 – Cultural Differences and Language Barriers
Cultural differences are always challenging. Do your homework on different cultures in order to avoid making any errors and if you don’t know ask your client. They will appreciate your interest.
Dealing with client issues can be a challenge across borders, what may work in the US may not work in China as Jacob Yount found.
Language is often interesting. If you can only speak English then stick to working with Anglophone clients. However, certain things like sarcasm and colloquialisms don’t travel well. Make sure you keep your language simple.
4 – Legal and financial issues
If a client decides not to pay you will probably find that you have little legal recourse in their country. Agreements and contracts may not apply across borders. To avoid issues like these always ensure you are paid in advance.
5. Focus on your core competencies
Boasting a huge portfolio of services and clients is great but it’s not everything. One common mistake entrepreneurs make is not defining their core competency and identifying a niche.
Choosing your niche will help you ensure you only work with clients you can bring value to.
What makes you really different from other providers? It’s your core competency that what makes you different.
Know what you want to offer and only sell it to your ideal clients.
Identifying your niche will NOT reduce your chance at getting business – on the contrary.
6 – Lack of face-to-face meeting
Some clients (and entrepreneurs) feel that in order to give value to their services they need to physically meet the client.
If this is the case opening up your services to a global market will require significant funds to fly around the world to meet your clients which, will in turn be passed on to the client. You will quickly price yourself out of the market.
Some clients may just need educating on the value of online vs. face-to-face meetings.