running a business from abroad

The entrepreneur’s guide to running a business from abroad

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or started your own business in a different country from where you live, running your business from abroad is no easy task. This guide might help you run your company successfully from another country.

Today’s entrepreneurs know that running a business in a globalized world means a lot of traveling, which means a lot of time away from their company. But leaving a business, you worked really hard for and invested a lot of money in isn’t easy. It comes with a lot of anxiety that everything will go apart if you’re not around.

When business leaders fly from a different country or continent to another, the team is responsible for making critical decisions without their oversight. This is a scary thought, especially for leaders that have put a lot of blood and sweat into starting their own company.

But, here’s something you never actually consider: traveling around the world for your business can actually make you a better entrepreneur and leader, 94% of business leaders agree on this one.

That being said, maybe being away from your actual CEO chair doesn’t really mean that it will all get out of the right track. All you have to do is make sure that you keep your business running smoothly even when you’re not physically there. Here’s how:

Hire people you trust

One of the best ways to rest assured that your business is doing well even when you’re not around is hiring people you trust will make sure of that.

If you hire employees that are self-sufficient and really talented at their job, you’ll never have to worry that your absence will affect your business’s essential processes. Instead, you’d trust that the people at the office have the capability to make good decisions and get the job done just as you’d do it if you were there.

Besides that, hire a team. In other words, hire employees with complementary skill sets and support each other when you’re not around. A job is always better done when completed by a team than a single person who doesn’t have anyone to ask for a second opinion or some help with a more specific task that’s out of their expertise.

Delegate well

Once you hire people you trust to have back home where your business continues its activities, it is time to delegate them well.

Think about it: entrepreneurs aren’t supposed to be superhumans with superpowers and knowledge in finances, marketing, sales, and many others. Even if you were to be where your business is, it’s not like you’d be able to complete all the tasks. You’d still have to get help from plenty of other people to do everything that needs to be done for your business to run smoothly.
So, the same goes when you’re not around. It would be best if you had people doing stuff. Your only job is to delegate who has to do what and provide support to those who need it, but this is something you can do from abroad.

Choose motivated people

It may sound really odd, but the truth is that, as an employer, you don’t need to focus on motivating your team. That’s because when you do that, all you do is actually bribe them to work hard for you. But studies show that such extrinsic motivation is not effective in the long run. Sure, a little motivation from your side is the fairway to get your people to do their best work. However, if you’re working with people that lack self-motivation, your efforts will have results that only last for a short period.

Instead, what you should do if you want your business to do well, even when you’re not around to promise new employee benefits, increase salaries, and organize office parties, is to hire people that are self-motivated and won’t kick back and relax the second you leave the office.

Hiring this kind of person means that you’ll be sure that your employees will keep on doing their best work even when you’re off on an important business meeting or relax on a beach on some exotic island.

Stay connected and communicate efficiently

Just because you have a team who you trust to make your business run smoothly, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep an eye over what’s happening back home. You’re still the CEO of your business, so you have all the right to want to check on your employees every once in a while.

Besides that, it isn’t just about making sure that your team is doing its job right. It’s also about being there if your team needs its leader, whether it’s for an important question, a paper that needs your signature or helps with a task. That’s why you need to stay connected.

Luckily, today’s modern technology allows you to stay connected and communicate efficiently with your team. You can use video calls, texts, emails, file-sharing tools, and many others. So whatever you think gets your message and your employees’ messages better, use that.

Lifehack: If you have to exchange critical documents with your team while you’re away, send all your important business documents in PDF format to make sure that your employees see them just as you see them on your device. The thing with PDF files is that they keep the formatting and details just as the sender sees them, without any modifications. Similarly, ask your employees to send their documents in the same format. When you’re traveling, you may have to open these files from different devices, which might modify the document at the opening and not accept other file formats than PDF. Don’t worry that this file format is too restrictive. There are now many PDF editing tools that you can use for further modifications if needed. For example, if you want to split PDF pages, there’s a tool specifically for that.

Let go of control

If you’ve ticked all the boxes on this list of strategies, it’s time to thick one more: letting go of the control. Give up the “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself” attitude. You don’t need it anymore because you can rest assured that you have people back home who are doing the job just as well as you’d have if you were there. Plus, you’re also efficiently communicating with these people to constantly make sure of that.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.