International business can be confusing, tremulous and problematic. More than one US company has engaged in international business seeing it as a savior and viable revenue stream only to be destroyed due to unscrupulous international agents/brokers, unintentional violation of laws and regulations and/or agreeing to terms that are not favorable to the company.
What Companies Must Know about Conducting International Business
While international business can be lucrative, it comes with many pitfalls. There is no lack of international people who call themselves “agents” or “brokers” seemingly willing to “assist” the US company in conducting the business. These people will sincerely explain how they are qualified to conduct this action and cite many instances of their success. While there may be some semblance of truth in what they say, there could just as likely be a plethora of issues both with the foreign individual as well as doing business in a specific country. The US Department of State (USDOS) considers it the responsibility of the US company to fully understand all rules, policies, regulations and laws pertaining to conducting international business and will not hesitate to prosecute US individuals and companies they find in violation of any law or regulation.
There are a lot of misconceptions related to doing international business, specifically that of the difference between agents and brokers. While laws and regulations tend to favor brokers, there are places where brokers are not permitted or must meet very stringent requirements making them less available. That said, US companies need to understand the differences and take the requisite actions to properly address the situation they are faced with because failure to do so could prove very damaging.
Develop a Comprehensive International Business Plan
The best defense to the potential pitfalls of international business is a well developed and thought-out company policy and procedures. This international business plan needs to be comprehensive and thorough, additionally it must be reviewed and updated as business, individuals, departments and procedures change. This compliance program/plan does not have to be complicated, it merely has to be actionable and should include a number of company departments to include but not limited to HR, legal and management.
Global Strategic Planning
SBS can assist corporate management to determine objectives and design suitable and effective strategic operations. We can help identify the company international business needs and the development of a comprehensive international business policy/program.