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Running an International Business: Challenges and Solutions

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:25
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One of the great things about living in the future is the ability to turn even the tiniest of small businesses into international endeavors. As your company grows, however, running an international conglomerate gets a lot more complicated. International companies–especially those with high profits and large employee pools–have to face challenges that spunky startups don’t. In this article, we’re going to talk about a few of those challenges and how you can solve them to improve company profitability and productivity.

Taxes

Taxes are complicated enough when for a large business that is 100% domestic. When you have to pay taxes in several different countries, that task can get infinitely more complicated. Not only do you have to keep up with tax rates on businesses, you have to keep up with tax rates on employment, sales, property, etc. And, of course, you will want to make sure to take advantage of any tax breaks you can get. Domestically speaking, most business owners fail to properly identify and use these benefits. According to the tax experts at ADP, business owners not only have a hard time identifying all of their potential credits and incentives, they also have problems maintaining compliance and navigating the Work Opportunity Tax Credits screening process.

To properly take advantage of all of the tax credits and benefits available to you, it is in your best interest to hire professional tax experts who can prepare your taxes in each country that houses your offices. Alternatively, hire tax preparers who are local to each of those municipalities. They will be intimately familiar with local tax rates, benefits, etc. Whichever route you choose, do not try to do your company’s taxes yourself. Hiring pros is always in your best interest.

Time Zones

Thanks to conference calling and meeting software, it is possible to hold a company-wide meeting with people all over the world without a single one of those people having to leave their homes or offices. This is one of the advantages that living in the future offers to businesses with global aspirations. Unfortunately, finding a time to meet that works for everyone can be incredibly challenging, depending on where your offices are located. For example, conference calling if you’ve only expanded to the countries in North and South America, you’ll still have a few different time zones to overcome. But what if you have offices in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and scattered throughout the domestic US? It’s always going to be the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning for someone, right?

For the rare instance in which you want to meet with all of your base managers, it is – believe it or not – easier to have everybody fly to a central location and meet face to face. This way you don’t have to juggle the multiple time zones and you won’t have to worry about buffering or lag time.

If this isn’t feasible, consider breaking up the meetings by, at the very least, continent. Record and live-cast each meeting so that if someone does want to wake up at, say, 4AM their time to participate, they can. And for those who don’t or aren’t able to stream in, make the videos and notes available to everyone on your company’s cloud servers.

Productivity

Making sure that your workforce stays on task is a challenge even when everyone works on-site in the same office. When your employees are far flung, monitoring productivity becomes more complicated. This is why it is important to hire people you trust to manage your different company branches. And it is important to provide them with excellent productivity monitoring software. It is no longer enough to simply block a few sites on the company’s web server. Mobile technology has offered employees routes around that.

Remote productivity monitoring software allows the head of each of your branches to ensure that employees are on task as often as possible–especially if the company allows telecommuting. This software needn’t be invasive and you’ll want to protect employee privacy, but knowing they can be checked on at any time does wonders for keeping employees focused and increases their productivity many times over.

These are the most important challenges involved in running an international company. Put these solutions to work and we’re sure you’ll see a reduction in stress levels and an increase in company profitability.

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