When starting an overseas business, it is important to have personal connections. If you find it difficult to expand overseas, why don’t you try building a network first? Sometimes you don’t know what to do first. Here’s what you need to do and what services you can use to connect.
Human networks are important in overseas business
The same is true when you are doing business in Japan, but in order to start a business overseas and continue to be successful, your network is especially important. If you’re in Japan, you can use your own legs to broaden your network by acquiring information through geographical advantage rather than by remote overseas locations. However, in the phase of starting an overseas business, the information gathered by the distance decreases, and the reliability and freshness of the information also decrease.
The situation will improve a little if employees are sent to and stationed in the country in the future. However, we cannot move forward in this situation in the previous stage, in the review, planning and preparation of overseas business. That’s why companies that want to start their business overseas need to first broaden their network.
Advice from people who are familiar with overseas business situations or who are knowledgeable about the market conditions, cultures, and customs of the target country is considered to be more valuable than information obtained through the Internet or magazines. Internet search is now an essential part of information gathering. However, there are still some concerns when considering expanding overseas.
Japanese articles in Japan contain only a very limited amount of information, and the source of the information is not clear, and some of them are unreliable. In addition, not all of the information is new, and the investigation must be carried out while checking when it was written and when the content of the article indicates it.
Even after you start an overseas business and your local business is in full swing, you should value your network. Overseas markets can be more unstable and change faster than in Japan. The advice of local people and people who are skilled in overseas business can be helpful in quickly responding to such changes.
Make connections in overseas business
When starting an overseas business, even if you think “Let’s broaden our network.” you may not know where to start. It’s hard to know what kind of people to connect with and where to connect.
First of all, I would like to recommend you to go to a place where many people who are thinking about expanding overseas gather, such as attending seminars related to overseas business. Reliable communities like social networks are not bad. There are offline study sessions even on the Internet.
In addition, business platforms targeting people who want to expand their network in order to advance overseas are also becoming popular. You can interact with people who are interested in overseas business and connect with mentors and consultants who give advice to your business. It is also possible to find local partners who can provide live information from overseas sites and support local surveys and negotiations.
Services of the public sector
There is also support for networking by public institutions. Some of them are free, making it easier for companies with limited funds to use them. Free services may be limited in scope and level, so you may want to use them selectively depending on the phase.
Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (Small and Medium Sized Organizations)
The Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation (Small and Medium Sized Organizations) provides support services that connect overseas and domestic companies by operating business matching websites and holding business negotiation events. The matching site is free, and you can use it if you apply from the site and get selected. At Small Business World Business Support (SWBS), you can meet international support groups online or directly.
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) invites overseas buyers and intellectuals, holds individual business meetings, offers business matching for Europe, and provides databases. You can also participate in seminars that provide information on business trends by country, FTAs, EPAs, etc., export know-how by industry field, etc., and consult with overseas coordinators.
Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry matches SMEs across Japan with their advisors.
Small and Medium Enterprise Agency “SME Overseas Development Support Measures”
When starting an overseas business, it is important to have a good network of contacts. However, it is often the case that the opportunity to develop a network is not found and the plan to expand overseas is delayed. Take a step forward by considering a variety of ways to build a network. In the early stages of planning, it is also useful to try a free public service. If you feel a lack of information or the limit of information gathering when you go abroad, start by expanding your network.