7 Tips for Starting a Business Abroad

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

It’s often considered very difficult to start your own business. Let’s be honest, if it was easy – pretty much everyone would do it. Starting a business in your home country is often hard enough, however, setting up shop in a foreign country might be even harder. See it as a  challenge because nothing is impossible and many others have done it before.

I have successfully built a furniture manufacturing shop overseas, which wasn’t easy but ultimately became one of my biggest accomplishments. Read my 7 tips for starting your own business abroad based on my personal experiences:

Local laws and regulations

In every country business laws and regulations are different and unique. In some countries you might be able to register, file all required documents and have your business set up on paper within 1 day. In contradiction, in some countries it might take weeks or even several months to go through this procedure. You have to be aware of the local laws and regulations. Next, to the duration of the process, you to want to be familiar with the incurred costs of any required procedures.


Regardless of any country, you have to be aware of the latest political developments and news. Obviously, a stable political environment is always better and a safer opportunity when entering. Being an entrepreneur, you want to avoid unexpected events, taxation or sudden change of rules for cross-border business. For example, in Indonesia it’s impossible to own a piece of land or a business under your own name. This can be very tricky as you basically have two options left:

  1. Find a trustworthy local partner and register under his / her name.
  2. Marriage allows you to register your business under your partner’s name.

Both options are not an ideal environment for starting entrepreneurs. There’s always a possibility this causes issues in the future. Be careful with certain rules and regulations as such and explore different options to compare what environment would be best for you as an entrepreneur.


Every nation has its own culture. Its own market and business demands are different anywhere you go. In Europe, healthy lifestyle and fitness may offer a lot of opportunities right now. This certainly doesn’t mean the Asian market shows high demand for this industry. You need to be aware of cultural differences that could be of influence to your business. Therefore you must always research the market thoroughly to determine whether there’s a market for your product or service in the country you’re entering.

Different demand and a unique market infrastructure are not the only cultural differences. Language, business ethics, networking are only a few examples that will present difficulties for entrepreneurs. The entire business community as a whole is completely different in comparison to your home country. It’s highly recommended to at least visit your chosen destination a couple of times to get a better understanding of the local business community and build a network with the local community.

International Health Insurance

When moving abroad, alone or with your family, you have to explore the different options for health care coverage. Traditional health care providers will most likely not cover any medical expenses while living abroad. Therefore, make sure you to pick the right international healthcare plan for yourself and/or for your family. Apart from individual healthcare, you probably want to have some kind of insurance coverage for your business too. It’s always better to me safe than sorry.

Local network

You will most likely have to register yourself at the Chamber of Commerce or a similar institution in order to conduct business. Before doing so, building a local network and getting in touch with local business owners or other entrepreneurs can be highly valuable. You can get in touch with your trusted contacts for any questions or advise. People usually say, making mistakes is the best way to learn. However, avoiding mistakes when starting your business is even better.

Legal guidance

When you have decided on a country to move to, make sure to get in touch with a lawyer. You ideally want to acquire an expat lawyer who has a ton of experience in helping foreigners to set up their business in a specific country. Their knowledge and awareness of local laws, regulations and business environment will be a great asset to guide you through the process.


Rushing is business or an idea is almost never a good idea. Allow yourself a fair amount of time to research the local environment, economy and find trusted partners. Establish a small network and gather information. Registering your business will take time, but also your own visa application might take some time.

Every country has its advantages and disadvantages for entrepreneurs. Research your chosen destination carefully. Don’t be scared by my article but rather inspired and be aware of the above-mentioned factors while you climb the road to success and living the dream!

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