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The Questions Every Business Should Ask Before Expanding Internationally

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The Questions Every Business Should Ask Before Expanding Internationally

Despite the current economic headwinds, global expansion is having its moment this year. It increased by 45% this year compared to pre-pandemic figures, Signifyd data shows.

Read also: Three Tips for Successful International Expansion

International expansion has become a necessity for businesses. Global ecommerce presents ample opportunities for merchants to tap into new markets and increase their revenue. But before attempting international expansion, there are certain questions every business needs to ask to bulletproof their strategy.

In an interview for Signifyd’s commerce report, Signifyd head of global financial services and EMEA marketing Amal Ahmed sat down with Chris Holley, commercetools global director for independent software vendor partnerships to discuss the very important things a business should consider before taking that step. Here are the main takeaways.

Why am I expanding and why now?The time has never been better for businesses to embark on cross-border expansion. That double-digit global ecommerce growth is more than attractive to ecommerce leaders looking to bring their game to the next level. The earlier you make the move and take advantage of the fresh global ecommerce market, the more you will be able to establish yourself and ward off competition once it comes along.

Apart from the time being right for most businesses, you need to consider individually if this is what will benefit your business the most right now.

“One of the questions that isn’t asked when it comes to global expansion is should you even do it? Sometimes you shouldn’t. Sometimes your product isn’t attractive,” Chris Holley said.

If you are a reseller of other people’s products, for example, it’s likely that you won’t have much traction in expanding such an activity. Other businesses, such as plumbing, will also have a hard time competing with the local plumbers in a new country. In that case, you should ask yourself if this really is for you.

“Everybody likes to think internationally, but sometimes it’s not the best idea,” continued Holley.

Where is the place to expand?

Pretty much any market presents you with an opportunity to expand internationally. But each market has its own characteristics that you need to consider beforehand, and one might be better suited for your product and target audience than another.

Think about where you have a cultural affinity? Above research and analysis is your individual business acumen and intuition which can help guide you in the right direction.

Then comes the strategic part. Identify the countries where you think you will be more successful in and create a list of no more than five. Order it by starting with the most attractive one and stop at three. These are your primary target markets with the best opportunities for cross-border expansion. Chris Holley advises expanding into one market at a time. It’s also important that the country you invest into has good macro-dynamics, including a job growth, educational growth, and a net positive growth.

How am I going to get there?

Once you’ve established your target market, it’s time to consider your plan of action.

Chris Holley suggests tasting the new market by expanding through a marketplace at first rather than selling directly into a new country.

While you’re going to have a higher commission cost, the marketplace will do the majority of the work and help you attract a new customer base, thus allowing you to focus on pulling data and analyzing it to form your strategy. Then, try and sell five products on a marketplace in three countries for a year. If you’re willing to risk a certain amount of money, this is a great way to get a sense of who your customers are in the given market and what their purchasing behaviors are, so that you’re well-equipped to succeed when you start selling on your own.

Expanding internationally is not a rapid process with momentary rewards. It will take time until you see results, so use that time to test the new market and see what’s working best for you.

Asking yourself these questions will help your business step into the new adventure prepared and with confidence! Cross-border expansion is a game of trial and error, and the more you practice it, the better you will get at it.



Manufacturers operate complex supply chains that, in many cases, involve the movement of raw materials and resources from different parts of the world into their factories. 

It is an ever-moving puzzle. Indeed, manufacturing firms are often at the mercy of a range of factors outside of their control that can lead to disruptions, difficulties and, in extreme circumstances, halts in production. 

A timely reminder of this came in March when a 400-meter-long container vessel, the Ever Given, ran aground in the Suez Canal, blocking the waterway that is responsible for the safe passage of billions of dollars’ worth of goods and materials every year. Around 12% of global trade, including 1 million barrels of oil and 8% of liquefied natural gas, passes through the canal each day.

The blockage, caused by high winds, took six days to unjam and even took a human life in the process. Hundreds of other vessels were also delayed, a pile up which is thought to have consisted of almost $10 billion of goods.  

Meanwhile, as well as relying on the safe passage of goods from around the world, manufacturers are also having to take sustainability issues more seriously than ever before. 

In November, world leaders, including President Joe Biden, gathered in the U.K. for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP26. Here, several key pledges were made to help move the world toward carbon neutrality, and there is no doubt that private sector organizations will have to play their parts in helping societies to successfully transition. In many cases, this could mean reassessing supply chains and the origin of key materials.  

Indeed, what if such materials were able to be sourced closer to home? 

There are various studies pointing toward consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for more sustainable products. IBM, for example, found that 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce negative environmental impacts, with 70% saying they would pay a premium of 35 percent, on average, for brands which are sustainable. Cheaper sourcing from abroad, it seems, could be compensated by customers who are willing to pay more for home-grown products. 

And the U.S. is home to an abundance of natural resources that are already supporting key manufacturing endeavors. Here, we explore just a few examples across states that can offer certain nearby manufacturers a competitive advantage.  


The U.S. is home to some vast areas of woodland that support key industries reliant on this versatile raw material. 

Globally, demand for wood-based products is steady. Indeed, the wood manufacturing market is projected to reach $502 billion in value by 2027, up from $442 billion in 2020–growing at a compound annual growth rate of 1.8% during the period. 

In America, according to the U.S. Forest Service, the forest products industry is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 48 states. In terms of finances, this activity generates more than $200 billion a year in sales and pays about $54 billion in wages. 

The total amount of land covered by forests in the country is estimated to be around 750 million acres, with Alaska by far the most forested state. Oregon and California follow in second and third respectively. 

Several key industries are supported by this abundance of wood resources, including paper and pulp, furniture and construction. Moreover, around two thirds of American forested land is timberland, which is capable of producing industrially utilized wood. 


States home to a thriving agricultural scene could provide homegrown advantages to all manner of businesses, especially those operating in the food production supply chain. 

While there are many factors which determine the attractiveness of an area in regard to farming, soil quality is arguably the most important. 

In the U.S., mollisols are widely recognized to be the best growing soils due to a range of properties–namely, they are extremely fertile and of neutral pH. 

Resultantly, they constitute a large part of the country’s Wheat Belt and the wheat-growing area of Palouse in eastern Washington, with Illinois and Iowa also home to this favorable farming soil. 

Vermont is another state recognized for its high soil quality. While home to a variety, its official state soil is Tunbridge, which is described as “loamy and acidic” in nature. The state equally ranks highly across several factors such as farming infrastructure and investment. 

Agriculture also thrives in Nebraska. Here, the official state soil is Holdrege, which facilitates high yields because of its natural fertility and excellent moisture retention capacity. This translates into financials, with Nebraska’s corn yields being the third largest in the U.S. and worth $6.3 billion in 2018. 

California, however, is by far the country’s most prolific agricultural state. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, California is responsible for 13.5% of all agricultural revenue in America. 

In 2020, the state recorded receipts of more than $49 billion across all agricultural commodities, nearly double that of Iowa ($26.2 billion) and 2.5 times the value of agricultural activity in Texas ($20.2 billion). 

There are many reasons why California is so well suited to growing crops. Not only is the western state home to some extremely fertile soil, but its climatic conditions also ensure the most is made of the quality of the land. It is the leading producer of a range of commodities, including wheat, lemons, oranges, grapes and avocados, and is among the most prolific grower of commonly consumed vegetables such as onions, lettuce, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms. Indeed, California produces more than 200 varieties of crops, with some being exclusive to the territory. 

This translates into an enticing prospect for businesses which rely on or work with a vast array of farmed ingredients. Rather than ship them in from abroad, setting up or sourcing from closer to home could provide sustainability, financial and risk-reducing supply chain advantages.


As well as abundant forests and vast swathes of prime agricultural land, the United States is also home to an array of minerals that serve all kinds of industrial activities. 

In 2020, mines across the country produced more than $82 billion worth of minerals, according to figures released in the 26th annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report from the USGS National Minerals Information Center. 

“Industries–such as steel, aerospace and electronics–that use nonfuel mineral materials created an estimated $3.03 trillion in value-added products in 2020,” said Steven M. Fortier, director of the USGS National Minerals Information Center.

In terms of metals, mine production in 2020 was estimated to be $27.7 billion, which is around 3% higher than that in 2019. 

Key contributors to this total value were gold (38%), copper (27%), iron ore (15%) and zinc (6%), with a total of 12 mineral commodities each having been mined at a value of more than $1 billion in 2020.

Geographically, several states are home to sizeable mineral mining activities. In 2020, 12 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. The states, ranked in descending order of production value, were: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, California, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, Wyoming and Georgia.

It is also important to note that some industries in the U.S. rely heavily on imports. In 2020, imports made up more than one half of U.S. consumption for 46 nonfuel mineral commodities, with 17 minerals being wholly imported. These imported minerals are key materials for a range of industrial endeavors, including renewable energy generation and storage, as well as infrastructure technologies.

However, there is no doubt that the U.S. offers opportunities for enterprises reliant on a range of mineral resources, as shown by those 12 states that achieved more than $2 billion in output. 

Here, we explore a few of the country’s most abundant and valuable mineral commodities: 


Gold needs no introduction. One of the most iconic minerals, it has symbolized prosperity and formed the basis of currency through the ages. 

However, gold also carries a huge number of industrial uses that stretch far beyond coinage and blocks being stored in bank vaults, thanks to a myriad of special and diverse properties that make it incredibly useful. Some of these include being a conductor of electricity, non-tarnishing, very easy to work and able to be drawn into wire and hammered into thin sheets. Moreover, gold can be melted and cast into highly detailed shapes, offering a unique and appealing color and a desirable sheen.

All of this means gold is highly sought after across many industrial practices and sectors. In electronics, for example, devices use very low voltages and currents which are easily interrupted by corrosion or tarnishing at various contact points. Gold is a reliable conductor that can overcome this problem. Indeed, it will be found in almost every sophisticated electronic device, from smartphones and calculators to GPS systems and home assistants like Alexa. 

In terms of gold production in the U.S., the west of the country is where most deposits are found. Nevada and Alaska are the states that lead the production rankings from both lode mines and placer deposits, these feeding primarily into jewelry, electronics and coin-making activities.

In 2016, around $8.5 billion of gold was produced across the U.S., translating into 209 metric tons.   

Crushed stone 

Somewhat less glamourous than gold, crushed stone is an equally important mineral commodity produced in high quantities and serving critical industrial activity. 

According to USGS National Minerals Information Center figures for 2016 (the most recent available), the value of American crushed stone output, which includes limestone, dolomite and granite, reached $16.2 billion. 

The vast majority of crushed stone supplies the construction and ongoing upkeep of the United States’ transportation network. In 2016, more than three quarters of crushed stone went into road construction and maintenance, with another 11% going into cement manufacturing activities and 7% being used in lime production.  

Companies working with these materials (especially those producing various construction aggregates) will therefore likely be based in states where crushed stone output is highest in order to gain a proximity advantage. This is important, as crushed stone is a heavy material of relatively low value per ton, meaning any savings that can be made on transport will greatly increase financial viability. 

A handful of states are resultantly responsible for more than half of the U.S. production of crushed stone. These are Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. It should also be noted that small amounts of crushed stone are imported from the likes of Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas. 


Another important mineral supplying the construction sector is copper. One of the first metals ever mined and used by humans, it has played an influential role in the shaping and evolution of civilizations. 

It remains the fifth most valuable mineral mined in the United States. In 2016, 1.41 million metric tons were produced, generating $6.8 billion in revenue–most of it deriving from sites in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Montana and Michigan. 

Some 44% of this copper supported construction sector activities, with 19% being used in the production of transportation equipment and another 18% going into electric and electronic products. 



It has been more than four decades since my first overseas assignments in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Since then, I have encountered numerous political, economic, and natural crises around the world. None at the level of disruption that the current COVID-19 pandemic has had. Nor did any of these events cause as much global change to consumer trends, political upset, economic turmoil, company changes or supply chain disruption. 

To move forward with the expansion of your business into other countries in 2022, it is essential to consider the collective impact of all this disruption and its resulting changes to how global business can be done successfully. The good news is that consumer demand and spending have never been at a higher level around the world. The challenge is to focus your limited resources on the countries that have the highest potential return on your global business development investment.

What follows is a list of strategies to help with global business expansion, even in the extremely unprecedented times we are currently facing. 

Place immense care on where you plan to take your business. 

It has always been crucial to carefully choose which countries are optimal for new business ventures for your specific company and brand but coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more critical to relook at all markets to understand what has changed in consumer trends and evaluate economic, political and regulatory changes for businesses in a specific country. 

Governments have enacted COVID-19 related policies and changed tax and foreign investment regulations. As in your home country, these changes have occurred at the national, regional and local levels and will not necessarily be the same as what has been implemented in the country you currently do business in.

Consumers worldwide have learned to buy online and have their purchases delivered. This impacts the entire sales process including retail brick-and-mortar locations. While online buying was present before the pandemic, it accelerated and became the norm in more countries over the past year and a half. Consumers can compare product prices and attributes online before making a buying decision. Marketing and product differentiation are much more critical to a business’ success today.

Cultivate your local partners, distributors and licensees wisely. 

It is important to increase the amount of due diligence when selecting partners because COVID has changed the structure, viability and financial status of most companies. It is essential to find out if who you will be doing business with has the infrastructure and financial resources you require to succeed in a country. 

Do not depend on just what you are provided by the company that wants to do business with you; seek third-party confirmation. This has always been important but given the mass shutdowns of businesses across the globe during the pandemic, it is even more important in today’s international business climate. Spend the money to be sure about who you do business with.

Be prepared to adapt to local culture and changing environments. 

More than ever, clear differentiation by country is essential for your business and brand to succeed. Sensitivity to local business and consumer culture is also a key component. 

Invest up front to learn whether the products and services your business offers fit the current market and project what will be needed to fit in and make money going forward. Expect menu changes, pricing variations, labeling and packaging adjustments, alternate marketing approaches and different costs to do business than here at home.

Given the supply chain disruptions that we continue to see across the globe, it is absolutely critical to work with your logistics specialist to understand the cost to ship products and the timeline for the shipment to arrive in the target country. 

Have strong senior management commitment and a proactive business plan for entering other countries. 

Taking a business into new countries is not typically an instant topline revenue venture, and there are numerous associated costs such as legal, supply chain, training, support and marketing investments to consider. Going global is a company-changing strategy that takes time and strategic planning. 

Devote ample time for developing a plan that projects expected revenue and expenses over time in each country you plan to enter. Note that the cost of doing business varies widely across the world. Labor, cost of goods sold, rent and utilities will be different from country to country. 

Embrace, invest in and implement technology to manage your global activity. The use of technology allows companies to communicate, monitor and manage operations across many time zones in real time and keep in-country training and support costs down. 

Finally, monitor respected international information sources daily to know what is happening in your target country. 

The one thing you can depend on is change coming out of the pandemic. Today, we have to monitor the flow of goods, trade agreements, local regulatory decisions and cross-border trade diplomacy constantly to be able to predict what to do and where to go to make money when doing business on an international scale. As the authority for U.S. companies doing business globally, the daily update at Global Trade Magazine is an excellent source of what is happening around the world.

Bottom Line: I see more global business opportunity than ever before in my career of covering projects across 50 countries. Ninety-five percent of today’s consumers are outside the United States. Two thirds of the new middle-class consumers will be in Asia. Products and services from western countries are highly regarded in emerging markets. With the proper preparation and constant monitoring, businesses with high-quality products and services can successfully penetrate other countries, even in times like these. While it is not an easy process, it can be done with the right strategy and hard work.


William (Bill) Edwards, CFE is CEO and global advisor at Irvine, California-based Edwards Global Services (EGS). He brings more than four decades of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in seven countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands. He can be contacted at +1 949 224 3896 or at

Community Connection Podcast with Special Guest Matt Z Ruszczak

GT Podcast – Community Connection Series – Episode 7 – Rio South Texas- Bordering on a World of Opportunity.

In this episode, join GSLI’s Eric Kleinsorge as he talks with Matt Ruszczak on why the Rio South Texas region is thriving for businesses.  Not only can you access markets via land, air, and sea, but now space.  Learn about the industries that thrive in this region and get answers to whether or not your business should be considering an expansion to this booming region.

For more information on the Council for South Texas Economic Progress visit


Check out more of our GT Podcast – Community Connection Series here!

Great Falls Community Podcast cover art featuring Jolene Schalper

GT Podcast – Community Connection Series – Episode 6 – Great Falls, Great Opportunity

In this episode of our Community Connection podcast, join GSLI’s Eric Kleinsorge as he speaks with Jolene Schalper about the advantages of Great Falls, Montana on both the business side and the quality of life.  Learn about the key advantages and industries that are thriving in Great Falls and why they are proud to call it home!





Check out more of our GT Podcast – Community Connection Series here!


How Learning a New Language Can Help You Boost Business Success

Are you ready to bring your company to new levels of success? Do you want to outshine your competitors more than ever before? There are many avenues you can take to achieve this, from revamping your public relations strategy to spending more on digital advertising, to launching a whole new product or service. However, there is one surefire strategy for maximizing a business’s potential that is often overlooked: mastering a foreign language.

There are so many benefits, both business and personal, that you can gain just from learning a new language. Here are a few ways that becoming fluent in another language will help you and your business succeed.

Reach a Whole New Market of Consumers

Are you looking to expand your business on a global scale and offer your goods or services to consumers in another country? Learning the language and culture of this nation will be key for a successful international expansion. If you market a line of products, you will be able to better negotiate contracts with owners of local stores. If your business offers a service, you can hire and train people in the new country to become representatives who can offer the service to local citizens.

Learning the country’s language and culture will also help you network better with local industry professionals and know which marketing strategies will resonate the best with the nation’s consumers. To get started on your journey of learning the new country’s language and culture, enlist the help of one of the many online tutors who are available 24/7 and adaptable to your schedule. The professionals at who offer tutoring sessions via Skype are one great option for busy entrepreneurs.

Learning a New Language Will Bring Financial Freedom Post-Coronavirus

It may be counter-intuitive during the COVID-19 crisis, but people will have financial freedom once they start traveling again. Many of us have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and companies have seen productivity and work satisfaction (assuming employees’ kids are not home) go up during this time. This means the work-from-home policy may continue for many of us. However, rather than just stay in the same place and work from home, you can peddle this into a 400%+ increase in your spending power if you learn a new language and are willing to be adventurous.

How? The answer is easy: just relocate to a country where the cost of living is a fraction of where you live now. If you reside in a major city in the US and are willing to move to Mexico or Latin America, your money would be worth 400% more overnight. This increase in your spending power can allow you to further invest in services that will help your business. Also, instead of running your company in an expensive city, you could manage operations between surf sessions in Brazil. Instead of spending $50.00 US for your lunch, you could enjoy a full meal of tasty tacos in Mexico for about $5.00 US. To make these moves, feel safer, and really make the most of your experience living in another country, learning the language and culture is key.

Maximize Your Potential as an Entrepreneur

As business owners, we are always looking for ways to improve our abilities. If you want to experience the most personal development and growth, it is vital to continually challenge and educate yourself. Therefore, mastering a new language can be crucial in helping you become the best entrepreneur you can be. Here is how:

It Physically Changes Your Brain for the Better

Our brain has the ability to constantly change due to environmental impacts, thoughts, emotions, or brain exercise through learning. Moreover, learning a new language greatly affects brain plasticity; it changes the brain by building many new neural pathways and connections that form white and gray brain matter. The changes in the brain that learning a new language brings have been studied for years. It has been confirmed that by becoming fluent in one or more new languages, the brain develops seriously enhanced cognitive abilities, multitasking abilities, and improved memory. All of these improvements can help you become a more successful business owner.

It Will Give You a Morale Boost During Difficult Times

There’s no doubt that running a business can sometimes be very stressful, such as when problems with inventory or manufacturing arise. That said, if you are ever feeling depressed or defeated, it’s essential to participate in activities that will give you a much-needed positivity boost. Bolstering your morale can help you stay motivated and uplifted while you’re managing the day-to-day operations of your company. If you have been feeling sad or hopeless, mastering a new language is a logical, holistic, and natural approach to easing symptoms of depression.

Prolonged periods of stress and worries decrease the levels of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins, which ultimately results in negative emotions that induce and amplify symptoms of depression. However, achieving something so great as becoming fluent in a foreign language will make you feel happy and satisfied with the accomplishment. These feelings of self-appreciation and content will help make you happier and physically impact your mental state. Through learning a new language, you are also opening a door to meeting new people and widening your horizons, which can help spark new ideas for your business.

To Wrap It All Up

As company founders, we are always on the lookout for ways to improve our startups. Becoming fluent in a new language can be the ultimate solution for helping you on your journey to achieving greater business success. Learning a new language will help you reach a whole new market of consumers and experience more financial freedom post-coronavirus. It will also help you grow as a person and become the best business owner you can be. Embark on your journey of learning a new language today by connecting with one of the many skilled language tutors who are available online.


Ray Blakney is the CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua, a renowned online language learning platform. Live Lingua offers a unique and immersive approach to mastering a new language, as it pairs users who want to learn Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and more with their own hand-picked, certified, native-speaking tutor for online teaching sessions. An award-winning, Filipino-American entrepreneur, speaker, and podcaster, Ray builds and helps others build 6- and 7-figure businesses on a bootstrap budget using SEO.

american businesses

As China Falls from Favor, Other Countries Attract American Businesses

A confluence of economic, political, and logistical issues is coming together that is changing the dynamics of doing business internationally for many U.S. companies. The result: China may be falling out of the top spot as a location for American companies looking to establish foreign operations, with several other low-cost countries vying to replace it. But the situation is complicated. American companies that already have operations in China are not leaving, at least not in large numbers.

The complex dynamics that are influencing U.S. companies considering establishing foreign operations include the fact that certain countries are more advantageous than others for certain industries. While the popular perception is that American companies take their manufacturing abroad primarily to save labor costs, in reality, they often establish foreign operations to serve growing foreign markets. If you have a burgeoning customer base in Germany, it may be more cost-effective to manufacture your goods in Poland than in Thailand. And if your company is in the technology space, China still may be a better destination for you than if you manufactured consumer goods.

In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. American companies eyeing foreign operations must do their homework and talk with advisors both at home and abroad to determine the best course. Once they do their homework, most companies will find that four broad trends are driving decisions about establishing foreign operations these days.

Digital Game Essential

First, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become a worldwide phenomenon. The more digital and cloud-based your operations are, the more successful you will likely be with your foreign operations. Some general guidance would include:

-Before considering going abroad, evaluate your company’s commitment to technology and determine where upgrades should be made.

-Learn about the technology infrastructure in your target country and make sure it can support your company’s technology profile and needs.

-Don’t forget about workers; you’ll need to ascertain the level of technology skills possessed by your potential new workforce.

Incentives Change with Landscape

Second, every country has a set of incentives in place to attract foreign companies to their shores. Most incentive programs favor certain industries above others.

The Chinese government currently has highly preferential policies to encourage technology businesses to locate in China, especially those related to artificial intelligence and semiconductors. While China is falling out of favor with other manufacturers, if you are operating in one of its favored industries it may still be worth consideration.

While technology companies still find China a viable place to establish or maintain operations, traditional manufacturers in such industries as textiles and apparel are looking elsewhere. Wages in China have doubled in the past 10 years, so labor costs – once the dominant attraction for American companies – no longer provide an advantage.

Consequently, countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Mexico are rapidly rising as sites for American companies due to many of the same factors that once made China attractive. Low labor costs, skilled workforces and fewer regulations are attracting American companies.

Moreover, because of the rising costs in China as well as increasing political tensions between China and the U.S., other countries are stepping up their incentives for American companies to locate within their borders.

Each country has unique advantages and disadvantages, and U.S. companies need to weigh the value that these locations would bring depending upon their industries, products and services.

For example, Mexico offers the benefit of being close to American markets, reducing shipping costs and avoiding tariffs. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam makes it easier than China to move goods into and out of the country and offers the most knowledgeable workforce. India is not far behind in terms of workforce. However, India prohibits the export of many goods to protect supplies for its own massive population. Currently, the material used to make surgical masks cannot be exported out of India – a significant disadvantage for American companies with Indian operations that tried to pivot to respond to the worldwide need for protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies Re-evaluating Supply Chain Strategies

Third, the supply chain and the ease with which goods move in and out of countries must be a part of the evaluation process when establishing operations abroad.

For the most part, U.S. companies moving to the emerging Asian countries and Mexico are those that are establishing foreign operations for the first time. American companies with operations already in China are staying put for now, even though steep tariffs that the U.S. has placed on goods shipped from China are impacting their profitability.

In part, they are staying in China due to supply chain issues. When large companies like Apple went to China, their supply chains went with them. Companies that supply those large manufacturers find it more cost-effective to be where they are. But if a large company decides to pull out of China, its supply chain remains there, and it must deal across borders with suppliers. Hence, companies that are already planted in China – even those much smaller than Apple – can find it very hard to leave.

U.S.-China Trade War

The fourth trend is the ever-increasing tariff war between the U.S. and China, which has significantly impacted American companies looking to establish operations in Asia. Companies already located there are seeing their profitability drop because of the tariffs, and deterioration of the political relationship between the two countries – complicated by COVID-19 – has contributed to China falling out of favor with American companies.

The increasing tensions between the U.S. and China also have started to impact immigration rules, making it difficult for some U.S. companies to get their American employees into China. This is a real-world example of how geopolitical considerations can impact the day-to-day operations of American companies.

Beyond these four trends, U.S. companies considering establishing operations abroad to serve growing global markets should look at several important factors:

Location of customer base

The location of your international customer base is a big driver in determining which country to choose for your foreign operations. You want to minimize transportation and shipping costs, and you also need to consider where your supply chain is concentrated.

Entity structure

Creating a separate entity from your U.S. entity will help keep the domestic and international operations distinct, protecting you from legal and liability issues. A subsidiary structure may be best, depending on the type of operation you are establishing.

Consider the local laws in each country that govern foreign operations, and how they may impact you. For instance, in China and India it’s very difficult for a foreign company to own 100% of a business, depending on the type of company and industry. Those countries, and several others, require foreign businesses to set up entities with at least some minimal local national ownership.


Your entity structure will largely determine how tax-efficient your foreign operations are from both the U.S. and local countryside, but it is still advantageous to locate in a country with a low-income tax rate.

Beyond income tax, you need to consider the tax consequences of repatriating cash back to the U.S.

If you select a country with which the U.S. has a tax treaty, you will find a more friendly attitude toward repatriation. When repatriating funds from foreign operations, withholding taxes often can reach 30%, but if there’s a tax treaty in place the repatriation cost can sometimes be reduced to zero.

Taxes can’t always be the driving consideration in deciding where to locate a foreign operation. There are a lot of moving parts, including workforce, overall costs, logistics (can you get a product in and out easily), quality of internet and technology infrastructure, immigration policy for your American workers, and more.

If you are considering establishing a foreign operation for your company, reach out to your Windham Brannon advisor. Even if you expect to wait until after the global COVID-19 pandemic is safely behind us, now is the time to start planning.


This article was written by International Tax Partner, Nicole Suk 


Here’s How GSLI Drives Economic Development Success

Dallas-based economic development firm Global Site Location Industries (GSLI) continues to redefine lead generation and project success. Founded in 1994 by Eric Kleinsorge, GSLI – formerly known as World Economic Development Alliance (WEDA), represents economic development professionals across the country, serving as the driving force behind 2,000 projects, 53,125 new jobs, and $6.3 billion in capital investment.

“If your board is asking you to grow a pipeline of qualified prospects, the GSLI Project Portal is a great starting point that will take you through the entire process, seamlessly,” Kleinsorge explains. “Our team of dedicated employees paired with our fully automated system works on your behalf to identify and nurture projects that align with your goals.”

In the beginning…

Mr. Kleinsorge was first tasked with identifying ways to support and train the Economic Development Community more than 25 years ago. His main goal of teaching EDCs to successfully market themselves to companies seeking to expand or relocate. Fast-forward to today and GSLI is the result of Kleinsorge’s dedication to bridging the gap between qualified leads and EDCs ready to grow their community.

Company Toolbox.

The company’s monthly Prospect Live webinars are one of the many ways GSLI educates and connects EDCs seeking to add jobs and grow their economy. Live discussions with GSLI’s very own active projects and what location needs are critical for success. Additionally, GSLI’s One-Minute Community Assessment narrows down exactly what projects fit within your community and how the Project Portal can support your corporation.

GSLI further reiterated its commitment to EDCs during the outbreak of COVID-19. In March of 2020, the company announced the launching of its COVID C.A.R.E. Response Program. COVID C.A.R.E. (Coronavirus Automated Response Effort) aimed at supporting communities and local businesses suffering from the economic downturn.

“We have been in the business of helping communities attract new jobs and now it’s our turn to help communities keep these jobs,” Kleinsorge said in a company press release.

Get Started Today.

To learn more about how GSLI can grow your community, or if your company is ready to take the next step in site selection, take five minutes to learn about the GSLI Project Portal here.


For more than 20 years, GSLI has been the premier partner of choice for communities – both big and small, looking to create a solid economic foundation primed for growth and success. GSLI boasts over 75 Site Location Expert offices nationwide and solid success rate in supporting the economic development community through our team of project managers, marketing gurus, web developers, and finance experts.


How Digital Marketing Affects the Growth of Business

Through modern technological progress and evolution, small and medium-sized enterprises do whatever they can to preserve the reality for the remainder of society.

To capture a growing and highly profitable Internet marketplace, brick and mortar companies are either adapting their business model to an online model or expanding established marketing activities through digital marketing strategies.

Digital marketing outsources and innovations give companies the most significant potential for sustainability, survival, and even corporate growth in the digital arena to which they are led.

Digital marketing advantages

Digital outsourcing allows entrepreneurs and companies to concentrate on more lucrative activities, particularly administrative activities, which are costly and do not generate added value.

In this context, multiple and observable short-term and long-term advantages of digitally externalizing accounting are available. Other benefits of digital marketing include improved brand loyalty and online marketing driving.

-Potential for continuous contact with prospects regardless of their distance

-Quality in costing

-Easy brand consciousness and loyalties 

-Quick control of marketing responses and efforts

-Both digital marketing strategies will not, however, work wonderfully and work well.

Online replay standard of digital marketing

The days have passed when company owners still embrace the idea that digital marketing is only for multinationals and big businesses with the money to execute an online marketing campaign.

With digital marketing, small businesses now have open opportunities to outsource.

Cost-effective rather than conventional

Small enterprises have smaller budgets and little capitalization.  Digital Marketing provides them an extra strong and extra economical marketing network with results.

Conversion of Digital Marketing

Business goods and online services calculate success, depending on your website’s intended objectives by the percentages of income traffic transformed into leads, subscribers, or sales. Your traffic is nil without conversion, and your marketing struggles would increase excessively.

Assistance in achieving greater profits

Higher converting rates through efficient digital marketing strategies produce sustainable income for you and your business. In the IPSOS Hong Kong report, Google confirmed the organization that uses digital marketing techniques compared to those not using are 2.8 times higher in sales growth expectancy.

Enables contact with target audiences

The ability of internet marketer platforms to communicate with targeted consumers in real-time is why digital markets are embracing conventional marketing chains. Your customers expect interaction in all ways when they connect with your company.

Reputation Builds Brand

The capability of appealing to targeted traffic is the power of digital marketing. These types of audiences are usually prepared to identify additional information about your brand, goods, or services and may be involved in buying what you sell. Granting what you promised would support you to produce a stronger connection with your target audience and transition into paying customers who go back and engage more often with your website.

People’s trust in marketing

Social media signals, social proofs, and testimonials consist of real customers who previously bought or used a specific brand or company for a product or service. The more accurate these social signals are, the greater the confidence rate of that targeted audience – most potentially consumers – can produce.

Encourages people to do good

While social signals and testimonials help build confidence from targeted audiences, digital marketing uses successful tactics that enable people to follow a positive course of action intended by your brand or company.

The site user continues to conduct conversion to leads or sales and is fully regulated. They are not coerced, but digital vendors can employ creative and inventive methods to promote conversion by calls-to-action.


It would help if you studied marketing through a business management program to take full advantage of digital marketing. After all, to stay on top, you must be successful.

You must understand how you can use it throughout your career with today’s power of digital marketing. So, look for the preparation and experience to succeed in the company now and in the future.

Outsourcing to a digital marketing agent makes sense if you want to take full advantage of digital marketing opportunities and expand a business.


Genc Emini is a Marketing Specialist in SEO for Ajroni Web Agency and has more than 6-years of experience. Genc is passionate about traveling, photography, and reading. Genc can speak Albanian, English, Italian, and Turkish.


How to Expand Your Business Internationally

Running a successful business in a domestic market is easy for experienced business people. Opening a shop abroad is harder, but not very much. What can be extremely tricky is actually attracting foreign potential customers, turning them into paying customers, and surmounting the many challenges that come with international business. These challenges include cultural and language differences, unfamiliar employment and overall business laws, unclear taxation and VAT remittance regulations in different countries, and international marketing challenges. If you wish to expand abroad, you can overcome the said challenges by following these best practices in international expansion:

1. Leverage PEO services

PEO service providers help to expand businesses to hire staff, manage payrolls, and manage employees in foreign territories. Basically, a professional employer organization (PEO) will provide comprehensive human resources support for your business so that your senior executives can focus on actually running the corporate side of the business. They provide your international teams with the professional and personal support they need to be optimally engaged and productive for the benefit of your business. They help you bypass the cultural barriers that overwhelm employers when hiring and managing new talents in unfamiliar cultural settings.

In most cases, PEOs run a co-employment model where they ensure that your business meets all set employment and compliance laws without necessarily having a physical presence in a given country. The advantage of using such a model for your international expansion is that your business can dip toes in multiple foreign markets without committing to building physical offices. It also offers your business a flexible human resource capability; the flexibility and fluidity that businesses need when upscaling/downscaling workforces in new markets. Therefore, if your company operates in India, you can see that partnering with an India PEO would be the proper solution for the rapid growth of your company.

2. Leverage local influencers

The biggest marketplace in the world right now is the digital space, notably social media. That is why you must have a workable digital marketing strategy (and a strong online presence for that matter) whether your business is local, national, or international. A key component of digital marketing is social influencing.

You probably already understand what online influencing is about but in case you don’t, online influencers are celebrities who already command huge followership on social media. People who can influence shopping decisions either by directly campaigning for your products or by sharing their videos or photos while using your products. Studies show that about 66% of all customers across all industries trust the opinions other customers post online, and the surest way of influencing these opinions is through social media influencers.

Now, this is the catch: When expanding internationally, you need to meet your prospective customers during their research phase. You need to capture their attention immediately; they search for products in your niche, convert them to business leads, and close the deal on the spot. It is probably the first time they are interacting with your brand/content, so you have to make the best first impression otherwise they will be lured by the brands they are already familiar with. Subtle product mentions and testimonials from influential people will help you create the best first impression. You, however, have to identify and connect with influencers who appeal to your audience if you are to effectively leverage influencer marketing for international expansion.

3. Find the right expansion partners

It is hard to navigate new markets by yourself. You need the help of local partners who understand the unwritten laws of the land, local supply chains, and distribution channels. But not all local partners are good for your business. You need to find industry leaders who, on top of understanding the nuances of the local market at hand, have substantial experience in international business expansions in other markets. You can always contact their previous collaborators for reviews, something you cannot get from partners who have never been out of their comfort zone/market. It is also wise to choose expansion partners with whom you share a common ground- a company whose business culture doesn’t conflict with your vision and mission.

Now you know the kind of partners to look for, but where exactly do you look? One way to find the partners you need is through your business and professional networks. Your business associates can recommend their international associates to you who’d turn out to be very helpful in your expansion plans. Another source is the government of your current market. If you operate in Europe, for example, you can tap into the database of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) for trading advice and collaborations. Foreign embassies, as well as trade commissions back home, also have databases filled with the knowledge that can come in handy during your quest to find international partners. And if you already have a set base in the foreign market, attending local expos and trade shows can give you access to a pool of potential partners.

4. Leverage government resources

Most governments help their ambitious entrepreneurs to go international as a way of encouraging the exportation of locally-produced products and talents. Your government probably holds Trade Events where successful multinational companies’ CEOs and other industry experts train local entrepreneurs on how to go global and actually succeed. You can learn a lot in such events, from exporting fundamentals, understanding international buyers, working with foreign distributors and product representatives, to how you can market your products or services to customers who don’t speak your language. The events also put you in touch with other ambitious business owners from whom you can gain insight and insider perspective about your chances abroad. Other resources that can help your international expansion plans are catalogs that contain special country-specific market reports authored by prolific market experts. In the US, such catalogs are accessible online through the Market Research Library.


International expansion is, to many people, chaotic and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. You can tap into other entrepreneurs’ experience to formulate a workable expansion plan or, if you have the budget, conduct your independent country-specific market research. Our 4 tips will get you started, but you must consult wider if you are to succeed with your first expansion attempt.