International Impacts on a Business Plan

International business plans require additional study compared to domestic ones. These require additional expense and time to resolve. Here we will discuss four critical ones for a business plan.

First, we must decide on the business structure. Countries have favorite structures that evolve slowly. When considering international companies, different structures might be required. Typically, the type of business structure must be discussed with a business consultant in the country itself. This will most often be a lawyer from that country. It's possible that a lawyer in your home country would know the laws of another, but it's not very common. This information is critical for the correct filing of papers, company organization and other important details. As we are deciding which structure to use for a foreign country, the decision on how to control it is also important. Will the foreign company be a stand-alone? Will it be a subsidiary of another company? These questions can only be answered after much consultation. The research answers will heavily influence the resulting business plan and the resulting company.

Next, we must evaluate the government and legal environment in our home country and the new country. Our business plan must account for and demonstrate an understanding of challenges. It is common for countries to place severe restrictions on how foreign companies are organized, operated and owned. Some require a resident citizen to be involved in a company, while others require varying amounts of capital and social spending to operate. Too, the tax structure of the country may place restrictions on how capital flows into and out of the company and country. Also, taxes must be levied, collected and remitted according to laws of all the countries involved.

Some countries allow capital to flow in freely but don't allow capital to flow out. Another concern is the stability and freedom that the country enjoys. Many countries have whimsical or tyrannical dictators that change policy at their leisure. This can create an atmosphere where investment is encouraged and then after all the hard work is done, they nationalize or repatriate the company. This is very common place in third world countries and should be factored into any decision for the business plan. Too, there are many other financial facets in operating internationally, such as: currency valuation and devaluation; import and export taxes; inflation and deflation; and world economic changes.

Third, we have the movement of funds. Earlier we touched on it in relation to putting capital into the company or moving it out. All countries have laws related to the movement of funds. Most also track fund movements and force financial institutions to collect and supply information concerning funds moving across international borders. Some of this has happened because of the fight against world terror, but most as evolved over time with the terror struggle being an excuse to collect information. These laws may restrict the amount, form and the timeliness of funds transfers. It is proper to discuss fund acquisition in the business plan; but for an international company, fund transfers and currency concerns must also be covered items.

Finally, extended control of an alien company must be determined and discussed in the business plan. It costs time, money and other resources to control a company far from the normal environment. People must often travel there to evaluate and monitor progress. Personnel must do accounting and reporting within the guidelines of the country where the business is located. This control and monitoring function is daunting for international companies because it brings together differing ideals, cultures, laws and experiences plus often there is a language barrier to be traversed. This leads to a challenging business environment. It's not one that is impossible, but it is one to be scrutinized and considered carefully during the business plan development and feasibility reviews.

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