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3 Challenges of Flexible Hybrid Work for International Business 


3 Challenges of Flexible Hybrid Work for International Business 

Spurred on in part as a necessary reaction to the recent global pandemic, as well as in response to continuing advancements in the development of smart technologies, it appears that more modern businesses are seeing the value in employing international teams working within flexible schedules.  

Recent studies seem to suggest that highly skilled workers across many major industries actively seek out flexible roles as an employment incentive, with 87% of surveyed workers claiming they’d be in favor of these positions if they were offered such a role, but flexible schedules can present a number of unique challenges for global companies to contend with. 

For leaders of international businesses, effectively managing, instructing and taking care of dispersed teams can prove to be a difficult and frustrating task, with staff frequently reliant on well implemented smart technologies to ensure that operations can continue to run smoothly. For employers that may be considering such developments, here are 3 challenges of flexible work for international business. 

  1. Finding suitable office space 

Though some international business leaders may be content with allowing remote teams to work from home, there are several notable benefits that can be gleaned from providing workers with a dedicated office space in which to perform their duties. For example, teams reliant on frequent collaboration may require the use of a communal office space to help create and strengthen a positive company culture

Research shows that employees working in communal offices spend around 52% more of their time collaborating on ideas than they would if restricted to virtual communications, with 86% of employees blaming a lack of collaboration for workplace failures, so how do international businesses avoid this? 

For global employers hiring small teams in foreign countries, the steady growth of coworking spaces could prove to be an ideal solution. New hires can receive all the benefits associated with traditional office environments without employers budgeting for increasingly expensive commercial real-estate. 

2. Delivering effective onboarding programs 

HR professionals employed by international businesses may struggle when it comes to suitably integrating new hires into an existing company culture. Traditionally, effective onboarding strategies are known to benefit from face-to-face communications, though for remote workers this isn’t always possible. 

Of course, modern smart software tools can be leveraged to support flexible workers by virtually providing new hires with the information required to perform their roles. However, staff that take part in virtual onboarding procedures may feel less engaged with or connected to the company’s unique culture. 

In terms of employee retention, data shows that a well-executed onboarding process can prove vital, with studies showing that 69% of employees who receive a great onboarding experience will remain with that company for at least 3 years. With this in mind, international businesses intending to hire teams in remote or flexible roles must commit to developing well-planned and researched remote onboarding programs. 

3. Development and performance monitoring 

There has been a significant amount of discourse surrounding employee engagement, productivity, health and wellbeing in recent years, with most modern companies now taking steps to support their teams through personalized performance monitoring and dedicated employee wellness programs. 

For on-site teams, these procedures can be performed by in-person representatives carrying out frequent staff meetings and bond-forming conversations. However, ensuring that international teams engaged in flexible work are able to benefit from dedicated performance management will require business leaders to develop intelligent software solutions capable of analyzing a wide range of relevant work-related metrics. 

It’s important that international businesses utilize virtual employee wellness tools to support flexible staff, as without a clear vision of professional progression, teams may begin to become disengaged in their roles. In fact, 45% of workers claim they’d stay with a company longer if they felt that leaders were invested in their development, with 92% agreeing that these programs positively affect engagement. 

Final word 

Though the growing popularity of flexible and remote work continues to provide staff and employers with several wellness and productivity benefits, transitioning to such schedules or branching out via the hiring of international staff in flexible positions can expose a few significant issues for global business leaders. 

Employers must consider how important in-person communications and collaborative efforts are to the success of their own operations, and act to supplement the potential loss of these processes in flexible arrangements through the implementation of intelligent technologies. By developing virtual systems designed to support international teams, flexible workers will be better positioned to thrive in their roles. 



An American Businessperson in a Global World: Rethinking Your Cultural Business Etiquette

In the American business world, there is a generally accepted, and often unspoken, etiquette that most businesspeople follow. Be on time, dress professionally, use a firm handshake, make eye contact, show initiative, be respectful of your superiors and so on. Take a look around the world, however, and you will find widely diverse protocols that can quickly lead to cultural barriers, misunderstandings, and possibly lost revenue.

From punctuality to attire to physical contact and personal space, the code of behavior varies wildly across different cultures. When doing business in a global, geo-political world, these differences can be tricky to navigate, especially in virtual meetings. But the broad representation of different cultures goes a long way toward making businesses more competitive. Culturally inclusive and diverse companies are shown to see higher profits. Diverse teams are more innovative, better at making decisions, and are more likely to capture new markets.

Cultural awareness can have a big impact on the growth of your business. More importantly, though, it is a matter of showing respect and earning the trust of your international partners and colleagues. It is about establishing common ground so that decisions, deals, and relationships start from the same foundation.  And to build that foundation, you may have to make some adjustments in how you do business.

Below we will look at 8 changes you can make to foster cross-cultural intelligence and improve the way you conduct international business.

Do Your Research & Be Prepared

Over 80% of CEOs recognize empathy as a key to success. Before meeting with any international business associates, invest time in learning how they act, speak, dress, and conduct business. Even if everyone speaks English, make the effort to learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” in their language. Be aware of what titles, if any, should be used. The simple awareness and empathy of what they do and why it helps you better adapt to their needs. Also, the planning you do before the meeting is often more important than what you do in the actual meeting. In many cultures, meetings are not where the decisions are made; they are an opportunity for asking questions and exploring possibilities. Therefore, distributing all necessary information prior to the meeting gives everyone involved time to review so that they can comment on it intelligently. In an ideal world, the materials should also be translated into their language to make things easier.

Hire your own Interpreter

Even when you have all materials translated, if you are not fluent in each other’s languages the potential for miscommunication is high. To prevent any misunderstandings, it is a good idea to have an interpreter on hand. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to comprehend everything that is discussed. Even if the other party has an interpreter in the meeting, always have your own interpreter on hand, as you never know what the other side may discuss!

Tone Down the Assertiveness

Americans are known for being direct, assertive, and loud. Some countries, like Germany, share this quality when sharing ideas and doing business. In other countries like Japan, however, people tend to speak softly and are not as forthcoming when making suggestions or sharing their ideas. Doing your research will help you know if being assertive is appropriate or if you are coming across as pushy and aggressive. When in doubt, use a neutral tone and be considerate of everyone’s input, even if they communicate in a way you are not accustomed to.

Beware of Nonverbals

A mere 7% of what we communicate is expressed with words. The remaining 93% is conveyed with body language. Nonverbal communication can be complicated in any setting, but with so much business taking place virtually these days, it is more important than ever to be aware of what you are saying with your body language. From intense eye contact to large hand gestures to loosening your tie in a meeting, there is a minefield of ways you could inadvertently insult an international colleague. Learning and practicing nonverbal cues that are common in your associate’s culture will be worth the effort to avoid coming across as rude and offensive.

Watch What You Say

Avoid using slang, local idioms, or “Americanisms”. For example, sports metaphors like “that came out of left field” or “can you pinch-hit this one for me” are not universally understood. Your associate may not understand what you’re talking about, and it is unlikely they will tell you, which can make them feel isolated and unaccepted. Be careful making jokes as well. While a good sense of humor is an asset in any potentially awkward cultural situation, jokes can lead to misunderstandings and possibly be offensive.

Don’t Try to Multi-Task

According to a survey from Intercall, the largest international conference call company, “65 percent of people do unrelated work during a meeting, 60 percent read or send e-mails, and 43 percent admit to checking social media.” While it may be easy to slyly multi-task in a virtual meeting, if it’s noticed, you’ll come across as rude. In addition, when meeting with an international client or colleague, whether virtually or in person, there’s a lot going on. From considering their cultural norms to understanding the interpreter in the background, to making important business decisions, you don’t want to get distracted from your main objectives. Save yourself a lot of trouble and keep your attention on the task at hand.

Consider How Other Cultures View Time

Many countries place a high level of importance on starting meetings on time and keeping to strict schedules. On the other hand, punctuality is treated casually in countries like France or Argentina. This fluctuation can affect how much relevant information you have time to share. Understanding your client’s culture can help you prepare and organize the meeting agenda accordingly.

Time is also a consideration in the decision-making process. For example, the UK has a slower process than the US. Germany also takes its time, being very thorough in early stages, but once they have made a decision, things move quickly. Understanding and managing your time expectations is critical.

Recognize Hierarchical Structures

Hierarchical structure can impact the way business meetings are handled. In many East Asian, Latin, and African cultures, decision-making authority varies according to age, gender, family background, etc., and team roles are allocated accordingly. Even the way the meeting is conducted in these countries is affected. For example, in China, you should always allow the host to leave the meeting first. Virtual meetings may minimize these issues since there are no seating arrangements, but because the rules and protocols can be complicated, it’s a good idea to explicitly outline the expected formalities ahead of time so everyone knows how to interact.

Cultural Awareness is Your Competitive Advantage 

Embracing cultural awareness and diversity is a crucial part of doing business in an ever-expanding world. Cross-cultural intelligence inspires creativity, encourages inventive thinking, and fosters better problem-solving. The local market insight you get makes your business more competitive and profitable. It allows you to better adapt your products and services to be more meaningful and valuable to all your customers.

study done by McKinsey and Company showed that companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits. When you make a genuine and concerted effort to understand cultural dimensions, you can build a greater understanding between the different cultures in your organization. This ultimately leads to understanding, trust, respect—and competitive advantages— in a very complex world.


Susanne Evens is the Founder and CEO of the St. Louis-based AAA Translation (founded in 1994), the President of St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities (since 2006), and a board member of the World Trade Center St. Louis. Susanne is also a board member of the German-American Heritage Society (since 2007), a member of the St. Louis Mosaic Project Immigrant Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and a member of Explore St. Louis Multicultural Committee. Her advice regarding global business development and communications has been featured by national media outlets that include BusinessWeek, National Public Radio (NPR),, and more. Under her leadership, AAA Translation has grown to serve business clients the world over, working in more than 300 languages, to provide translation, interpretation, and cultural consulting services. For more, please visit


Making Inroads Overseas: Strategies for Winning International Business

While the U.S. may have the largest third-party logistics market of any nation, there’s plenty of global opportunity to capitalize on. Companies that can break into international markets could reap considerable rewards.

The rise of e-commerce and other internet-based businesses has made the world more interconnected than ever. Consequently, there’s a rising demand for fleets that operate between borders. Smaller, up-and-coming economies with less saturated markets pose an enticing growth opportunity, too.

While expanding into overseas markets can be highly profitable, it’s also often challenging. These six strategies can help companies overcome these challenges to win international business.

1. Research Ideal Markets

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is expanding into new territory without researching first. Different countries come with different legal restrictions, economic considerations, and market atmospheres. Companies must understand these before choosing where to start their international growth strategy.

For example, Germany has the world’s highest-performing logistics market, which would make it seem like the ideal place for expansion. But since it’s also home to DHL, which holds 39% of the global market share, it may be hard to succeed there. Preliminary market research would’ve revealed that, informing more effective expansion.

Businesses should research the local markets in different countries to find the most profitable area to expand into. That includes looking at tax considerations, competition, and customer needs. Without considering all of these factors, globalization initiatives will likely cost more than they bring in.

2. Understand the Local Culture

Similarly, after deciding on the ideal market, businesses should understand any cultural differences they’ll encounter. Tapping into the local culture can make marketing initiatives more effective and help impress potential clients. Alternatively, if businesses don’t understand these differences, they may accidentally offend or disinterest customers and partners.

Understanding cultural divides can make or break a company’s success, especially when meeting potential international partners. For example, while it’s a rule of thumb in the U.S. to show up five to 10 minutes before a meeting, it may be longer or shorter in other countries. Not understanding that could hinder a meeting’s productivity.

Other countries may have differently structured workweeks and holidays that could affect business, too. The United Arab Emirates, for example, observes the weekend on Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday. Knowing this before going in can determine whether a business thrives internationally or struggles to get its footing.

3. Partner With Regional Businesses

Another crucial strategy for expanding internationally is partnering with overseas businesses. Companies based in the area will already have the cultural and legal knowledge needed to navigate the local market environment. They will also already have consumer and business connections, giving U.S. companies a foot in the door.

An important step in this strategy is to meet these potential partners in-person as much as possible. Taking the time and money to fly out to meet them shows a willingness to invest in their company. This can give businesses a leg up on any other competitors for the partnership.

Without a local partner, it can be challenging to succeed in a foreign market. Companies will have to establish their brand name, build a customer base, and navigate potentially complicated legal considerations. Foreign partners can cover all of these factors early, letting businesses get off the ground sooner.

4. Adapt Your Marketing Strategies

Since every country has its own culture and values, effective marketing materials are rarely universal. As such, logistics companies trying to expand into overseas markets must adapt their marketing strategies. Research and international partners can reveal local customers’ habits and preferences, informing more effective ads and promotions.

Large restaurant chains serve as excellent examples for adapting international marketing strategies. In France, McDonald’s offers a free illustrated book with every Happy Meal purchased on the first Wednesday of the month. This doesn’t make much sense in the U.S., but children in France don’t go to school on Wednesdays, making this an effective strategy.

Promotions that work in the states may not be as appealing overseas. Similarly, other countries may have holidays, customs, or trends that present unique marketing opportunities that wouldn’t succeed in America. If companies want to be as successful as possible overseas, they must adapt.

5. Localize Your Website

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having an appealing website in today’s market. In many countries, the number of internet users has doubled in the last three years, and websites often serve as customers’ first impressions of a business. While this may be true across borders, what constitutes an ideal website may not be as consistent.

Businesses must localize their sites to fit global audiences. The most obvious step in this process is translating all of the text, but that’s not all localization entails. There are also various cultural connotations and preferences about design and business practices to consider.

Some colors may be appealing in the U.S. but carry a negative connotation in other cultures. While English reads from left to right, not all languages do, so websites in some countries may need to be mirrored to account for this. Turning to contacts in these countries or localization firms can help account for these differences.

6. Capitalize on Local Resources

Many globalization strategies involve taking steps to navigate unique challenges in overseas markets. While these are crucial, the most effective international expansion efforts also look for other areas’ unique benefits. Every country has unique resources to offer, so businesses should take advantage of these opportunities.

One example of a company implementing this strategy is the grocery store chain H-E-B. When H-E-B went international, it bought blueberries from Chile and Peru, giving it access to fresh blueberries year-round. Capitalizing on these warmer climates helped the company expand its offerings, pushing revenue higher.

Businesses should look for what resources different areas have, such as relaxed tax codes or cheap transportation markets. Taking advantage of these instead of keeping business models the same across all countries will maximize international success.

Make the Most of International Expansion

As the world becomes more interconnected, global expansion becomes an increasingly enticing strategy. Companies that can capitalize on it early will see the most success in the future. These six strategies provide a roadmap for doing so.

Winning international business can be a challenge, but it also presents several opportunities. If businesses can act on these steps, they can expand into foreign markets more effectively. They can then enjoy all international business has to offer.

Qatar compliance growth global trade

Qatar Trade Summit: Setting the Course to Surge the Economic Development

With the GCC coming closer and one of the largest sports world cups hosted in the country, the summit will provide a platform to explore the investment options to yield everlasting trade relationships with the world

Qatar Trade Summit will place the event in a stronger position to bring the EMEA industry together on 9th and 10th November 2021, where the nation’s key stakeholders will showcase exclusive development made in the past few years. The summit will accentuate the parameters attributing to the country’s vision in economic diversification.

Qatar is aiming at becoming the global hub of trading and international business investments. New advancements are in progress in the space of transportation infrastructure, building smart seaports and air cargos, improved supply chain and logistics, disruption in free zone innovations and implementing various technologies in trade finance for a holistic approach. With all the developments underway, the upcoming FIFA world cup 2022 functions as a cherry on top. This biggest support will gain the traction of millions of football fans all over the globe that will promote tourism and investment opportunities. This summit aims at gathering the key stakeholders and industry evangelists under one roof to network with fellow industry experts, learn from interactive discussions and explore business opportunities” stated Parul Rana, Conference Director, Qatar Trade Summit.

Qatar possesses a competitive advantage based on its stable foundations represented in the form of globally efficient institutional frameworks, a stable economic environment and the possession of an active market for goods. Qatar’s economy is characterized by its ability to maintain its rapid growth, as it becomes one of the world’s fastest-growing economies due to the economic policies adopted by the state. During this summit, the guests will not only engage in the discussions surrounding the logistic businesses but will also discover multiple aspects country’s future models, upcoming projects and potential business investments in primary sectors such as financial services, healthcare, sports, oil & gas, shipping, airways, technology and logistics.

Based on the theme “Facilitating Qatar Economic Surge beyond 2021” the summit will bring key concerns into the spotlight: recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic; accelerating the infrastructure developments to be prepared for FIFA Worldcup 2022; rethinking logistics and supply chain to meet the increasing import/export demand and building smarter ports for increased efficiency.

Under the government support of Qatar Tourism, the summit will be hosting dignitaries such as Lim Meng Hui, CEO, Qatar Free Zones Authority, Ahmed AlObaidli – Director of Events, Qatar Tourism, Glyn Hughes, Director General, TIACA, Rami Al Haddad, Group CIO, NAS, Lori Ann LaRocco, Sr. Editor of Guests, Business News, CNBC and other market leaders across the globe who will be indulging our guest in interactive presentations and panel discussions.

Qatar Trade Summit will assist in building better trade relationships to achieve the economy’s vision 2030.


About Organizer: © Qatar Trade Summit | Email: | Qatar Contact: Tel: +974 6677 4955 | Tel: +974 33834548 |

UAE Tel: +971 55 283 3112 | LinkedIn: Qatar Trade Summit | twitter: @tradeqatar


Economic Recovery in Germany Marked with Fierce Rise in Inflation and a Stronger Green Transition

When examining a recovery for the German economy as the world rebounds from the events of 2020, it’s important to realize that many sectors will continue to struggle throughout this year. Although the response from the government was fast and strong at the start of the pandemic, three main challenges remain top of mind for Germany this year throughout the recovery process as businesses adapt to a withdrawal of government support and the economy reopens. Many of them took up debt last year and are more vulnerable than before the start of the pandemic. In addition, supply bottlenecks across several sectors will affect exports, and lastly, they will face rising inflation, which is forecast to rise to 4% later this year.

At the onset of the pandemic, the German government provided an immediate response to support businesses, which led to a sense of stability for most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Now, as vaccinations progress and cases go down, the government will evaluate its existing stimulus measures and begin to pull back on fiscal support. The German government’s generous support has already provided for approximately $400 billion in direct support (11% of GDP), higher than most countries in Western Europe. Much of what happens next will be decided during the September parliamentary elections but in the meantime, businesses are preparing to say goodbye to the generous financial aid provided.

One government support staying in place is the suspension of the Debt Brake Rule. This rule – which limits the federal deficit to 0.35% of economic output per year, by adding an investment rule to secure enough public money for climate protection, infrastructure, health care and education– has recently been officially suspended for 2022. Not only does this temporary suspension this rule ease the burden on German businesses and the wider economy, but helps transatlantic relations with the U.S., which has been running a trade deficit with Germany. The suspension of the rule has and will continue to help with the U. S’s high current account deficit with Germany, however, it is only predicted to be suspended through 2022.

Businesses globally are struggling with some of the worst supply chain issues to date. This is hitting German sectors particularly hard, as there is a national shortage of shipping containers and semiconductor chips. Supply chain issues are expected to be mainly short-term for the manufacturing industry, especially the automotive industry, and opportunity lies ahead in the medium-to-long term as demand grows for German exports in China and the U.S. The need to spend more on sustainability is the broad consensus among the German population and the main political parties and it is predicted the green party will be a strong contender in the September election. Demand for electric cars is growing, and the Germany car industry was able to play into this trend pretty well, helped by their strong financial position.

There are business opportunities in Germany for companies providing products or services for digitalization and sustainability, as Germany is striving to catch up in the digitalization process.

In general, the German economy is in good shape. While many businesses adapt as the stimulus pulls back, a few sectors will be struggling – such as textile and retail, where margins were already thin prior to the pandemic. The metal and steel industries are generally in good condition, with some upset from strong competition and small profit margins.

Keeping in mind that despite stimulus and support, businesses operating in Germany will have to protect their trade receivables in anticipation of the economic changes this year will bring.


Theo Smid is a Senior Economist for Atradius based in the Netherlands.


How is Coronavirus Changing the International Moving Industry?

International moving companies all around the world are affected by the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. With the increase in infected people and the ever-present rules of social distancing, it becomes more challenging to function as we were used to before 2020. With that in mind, how is Coronavirus changing the international moving industry? What can companies do to save their businesses and continue to provide exceptional service to their customers?

Understanding the challenges of the moving industry

What is essential to understand is that this pandemic should not be looked at as an individual event. The Coronavirus definitely is an unprecedented event in our history, and it will forever change how we look at the world. All future processes, procedures, and actions in the international moving industry must be sustainable in this new environment.

The industry is suffering permanent changes to how companies do business, and it becomes crucial to manage the negatives and focus on the positives of these changes. The most important fact is that the current situation is the new normal we all have to get used to.

How serious is the current situation, and what will the repercussions be?

We are witnessing many changes to how people do business now. The logistics industry is restructuring its business operations, and we see a substantial number of changes. But the good thing is, the industry is moving on.

When it comes to international moving, we can safely say that there is no danger of people stopping to cross borders. The need for a better life and more secure jobs will always be the main drive for people moving internationally. The virus does exist, no matter where we are. With that said, the moving industry is focusing more on making relocation safe.

How are employees affected by the pandemic?

It is not only customers who are affected by the pandemic. People providing moving services are also exposed to the virus. For international moving companies to thrive and continue to do business, the main focus should be on keeping employees safe.

The number one approach to accomplish this is transitioning to remote work. People can still do their jobs from home; there is no need to come to the office and do paperwork and administration tasks.

When it comes to the employees who come in contact with the customers, it is crucial to focus on following social distancing rules. As an example, if packers need to come and help packing, everyone must wear gloves and masks. Furthermore, the clients can communicate exact packing instructions before the packers come, and they don’t even have to be present during that time. It is vital to develop a sense of trust between the clients and international moving companies, and that should be the primary focus when it comes to taking care of your clients.

What will the next five to ten years bring for the international moving industry?

There is a famous saying that what does not kill you makes you stronger. We can already see that in how the market changes. Some companies had to close their doors; however, that left more space for others to thrive. The reality of the future is that there will be new competitors on the market. Moving companies that find a way to overcome the hardships of COVID-19 will climb to the top of the relocation industry.

There is an increased need for the advancement of technology and improved business operations. Above all, it is crucial to understand that the customers’ needs will never go away. However, the customers are changing, and we need a new approach to keep up with those changes.

Another important factor to consider is that not all countries are affected in the same way by the crisis. All international moving companies need to learn the potential hardships when moving clients to different countries. That’s the only way to be prepared and provide high-level service.

The main takeaway for the continuation of the business is that those who are not well prepared to meet the expectations and comply with all the unavoidable changes will lose the race against their competition.

What are the practical steps to embrace the change in the international moving industry?

All moving companies need to maintain a connection with the government and understand the regulations required for moving. There must be a communication channel where all companies can quickly learn about important changes regarding these regulations.

When it comes to moving clients, it is important that they have a person of contact the moment they cross the borders. There should be someone in a sanitized vehicle with all the protective gear to take them quickly to their destination.

Furthermore, it is essential to have standardized procedures that explain to your clients how you do business and tackle the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They don’t want to be in the dark, and you need to inform them every step of the way.

The key takeaways to how is Coronavirus changing the international moving industry

Is this enough to say how Coronavirus is changing the international moving industry? It is impossible to give a 100% correct forecast for what comes next. However, by understanding the need for a change and focusing on the safety of employees and clients, the business will continue to prosper.


Ross Ingram is a business analyist and a freelance blogger for Through his articles, he focuses on exploring the need for a change in the moving business, and how it affects future business operations.

latin business

Uncovering the Biggest Myths for Business in Latin America

Conducting international business is not what it used to be. In the post-pandemic era, resilient regions throughout the world are at an advantage now more than ever. Unfortunately, business climates are at the mercy of a media-painted reputation impacting future economic growth. Latin America is no stranger to this. Businesses and workers in Latin America have been misrepresented in the media, particularly when it comes to corporate corruption and compliance. In this exclusive Q&A, Global Trade Magazine learns about the biggest misconceptions of doing business in Latin America by Pedro Freyre, chair of Akerman International Practice.

What are some common misconceptions for conducting business in Latin America and how does this impact the region’s economic reputation?

Pedro: One of the biggest misconceptions is that Latin American businesses are not up to speed on the use of technology. These misconceptions – or what some could call biases, are that businesses in Latin America are unsophisticated and they lack understanding complex issues. This is absolutely incorrect.

Latin America is a resilient, tough business environment with a lot of ups and downs, but also very global in that it deals with various jurisdictions in its trade relationships. I have found Latin American clients to be sophisticated and understanding of issues and nuances. There are always legal cultural differences and part of our job is that we are the interpreters that bridge this gap.

Latin American business and businessmen have lived for many years in difficult and volatile environments, making them very adaptable. They are fast on their feet and work with different cultures, buyers, and sellers, and various interlocutors very well because that is what they had to do to survive and succeed. This is one of the competitive advantages found here because that’s what businesses had to do to survive in the past. Latin Americans are incredibly open to dealing with different nationalities, markets, and opportunities.

How does your firm support Latin American clients in combatting issues with noncompliance and corporate corruption?

Again, our job is to bridge that gap – the legal cultural gap of raising awareness. Now more than ever there is a new and evolving set of stricter global standards in compliance, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering. The web of those types of regulations is extending and becoming highly integrated. So, you have the FCPA in the U.S and the other anti-money laundering provisions, the UK anti-bribery act, the Brazilian anti-bribery act, and the Mexican anti-bribery act. All of these work to add layers of regulatory compliance..

Another factor coming into play is that we help clients deal with non-governmental regulators that look for compliance. For example, financial institutions ramping up their compliance department to act as guard dogs for the government. So, when a Latin American client comes over to the U.S and wants to open a bank account, we help them understand that there is going to be due diligence on the part of the bank and that they’re going to have to provide a lot of information. That is where the added value comes into play by emphasizing that compliance in today’s world is far more pervasive and necessary for any business.

What role does technology play in combating this corruption?

Technology is just as integrated in the effort. I will give you an example. We recently had a wire come in from one of our clients in Latin America and OFAC flagged it and started doing more background checks to identify the source of the funds because the name of the remitter was similar to a company that was on the Specially Designated Nationals list. The software picked up the name, tasking us to explain the situation.

What are some of the benefits of collaborating with Latin American-based businesses?

Latin America has vast natural resources. For example, Brazil is a leading provider of all kinds of natural resources. Back in the forties, Argentina was a main provider of grains and beef to Europe. The region was a tremendously powerful provider of these things. Currently, the Chinese are making inroads over Latin America in their search for raw materials and agricultural products. It’s part of the natural wealth of Latin America. Latin American businesses are now becoming much more integrated, enabling cross-border business.

How has the pandemic exacerbated the negative reputation for Latin American companies? What can companies do to overcome this?

This is a challenge because part of what happens is what companies predict in terms of government action. If a business climate has a government with a clumsy response to the pandemic, then the assumption is everybody in that country is at risk. It is not working, and things are in disarray, creating the need for uprooting and taking business elsewhere. And again, we go back to the point of resiliency and adaptability. Latin American businesses have been there before, they come from an exceedingly difficult environment, stability has always been a challenge. So, even in the pandemic, these businesses have been able to adapt and move forward. Adding to the misconceptions list is if the government did not react well to the pandemic, then the businesses are not able to function. That is simply untrue.
It is important to remember that this is a business climate fraught with peril and difficulties but is also full of opportunity. As the saying goes, out of great problems come great opportunities.

I anticipate a reshuffling of assets and business orientation and interests soon. We are seeing more flow out of Latin America and more flow to Latin America. This year is going to be a year of takeoff, although I do think Latin America may lag behind the U.S. I’m also keeping my eye on Brazil, which is going through great difficulties. Brazil is a major powerhouse, however, and I am betting on it overcoming these difficult times.


Pedro Freyre is the chair of Akerman’s International Practice, a full-service team advising multinational and global corporations on a wide range of cross-border M&A, joint ventures, capital markets transactions, syndicated and secured lending, project finance, debt restructuring, trade, compliance, as well as complex construction and other international disputes. He is an internationally recognized authority on the U.S. Embargo on Cuba and the evolving regulations enacted since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.  In addition, Pedro represents clients engaged in inbound foreign investment in the U.S. and outbound U.S. investment in Latin America.


25+ Outsourcing Statistics for 2020 and Beyond

When work becomes overwhelming, there’s nothing else to do but consider outsourcing. Hiring a third-party company to perform services saves time and money, but that’s not the only benefit. Companies that outsource have increased efficiency and are more focused on essential strategies. 

They also enjoy increased flexibility to face changes. With this option, businesses have wider access to professionals and the freedom to choose from various talent pools. Combined with affordability, it’s no wonder that the industry is worth $131 billion. 

According to our report, America enjoys the largest revenue share from outsourcing. However, the market is fluctuating. 

Even though many believe outsourcing is the way to solve business problems, it involves some challenges. When used only to solve a problem without considering it as an investment for growth is a wrong approach. 

Other risks include slow turnaround time, language barriers, time differences between time zones, and lack of control. Since more than half of small businesses were outsourcing in 2019, business owners believe it’s a great way to reduce costs and save time. 

We’ve covered the most important aspects in the statistics below for the US and global markets. Keep on reading to find out more. 



How to Use Localization Services to Improve Your Global Trading Prospects

One of the most difficult aspects of global trading is the language barrier that businesses face. The famous cultural faux pas of brands trying to operate overseas never reflect well on the companies concerned, unless you subscribe to the theory that all PR is good PR.

Cultural missteps are a major reason global brands can’t simply stop at translation. They also need localization services. Localization is the process of preparing all parts of a product or message for a certain region. Below, we’ll look in more detail at what localization is, why it’s important, and how it can help your business.

What Is Localization?

Localization covers far more than translating a message from one language into another, although that is part of what it entails. Localization is about making sure a product or a piece of content fits into another market or location.

Localization must take many factors into account while converting a message or product. First and foremost, it makes sure that the item in question stays consistent across cultural barriers while also fitting into the new culture.

What is the localization process? Well, it adapts a message in several ways. It also addresses graphics. The content itself might be modified to suit the habits or expectations of the new market.

The layout of the text could be altered to fit a new language. Some cultures read right to left instead of left to right, so localization takes this into account. Formats such as phone numbers, measurement units, currency symbols, and addresses might be updated as part of the process as well.

Another large and integral part of localization is making sure the message or product conforms to new market regulations and consumer habits. For instance, different jurisdictions have different privacy laws, seller licenses, or censorship rules that a company must adhere to. On the business side, what works in one market for a product might not work in another market.

Why Is Localization from a Translation Company Important?

Given how much localization handles, it’s a necessary service if you wish to do business in a foreign market.

Why is localization important? Business ventures are notoriously risky as it is. Business dynamism records the number of firms that are born and fail. A positive business dynamism means that more firms are born than fail. However, in the US, 12 new firms per business establishment were created in 1978; this had fallen to 6.2 by 2011.

If you plan to do business globally, it’s important to use a translation company for your localization efforts. No business can afford to fail in a new region simply because it didn’t take local cultural nuances into account!

How Can Localization Help a Brand?

Professional localization services can make the difference between a company succeeding and struggling in a new overseas market.

Groupon has become a major case study in how not to expand into overseas markets since it began trying to do so back in 2011. The company rushed its service into the Chinese market without understanding Chinese consumer habits or culture. It accumulated $46.4 million in net losses and $2.1 million in revenue.

One issue Groupon failed to realize was that it pushed margins on deals too much for the Chinese market. In the US, Groupon makes 40% margins on deals. In China, no competitor makes more than 14%.

One of the largest factors localization takes into account is consumer and business habits within the new market. Without a strong localization team, it’s hard to understand certain details about a new culture, its purchasing habits, and its business trends, as Groupon showed.

Products and messages cannot simply be copied and pasted all around the world; localization is necessary for successful expansion in global markets.

How to Find the Best Localization Services

Many translation agencies also specialize in localization, especially larger agencies. You may want to start by checking with prospective translation agencies to see how they handle localization

When searching for services online, make sure the company has a professional website and proof of past work. A professional agency will have testimonials or a portfolio showing past work. Some smaller agencies or individuals may also have references that you can call.

You can also check around your professional network to see if anyone in your industry has worked with, and can recommend particular localization services.

When looking for localization agencies, be sure to check to make sure they have a background in business localization. Ideally, they should have worked with marketing messages and global business expansion in the past.

Finding a top-notch localization service is important; it can mean the difference between a strong entry into a certain market and a dismal flop.


How the Coronavirus Pandemic has Diversified UK Business

As the Coronavirus pandemic has altered our ways of living and working – potentially for good – it has sent shockwaves through areas of UK business previously thought untouchable.

The thriving food and hospitality sector has steadily grown over recent years but faces an uncertain future as social distancing becomes a new norm of everyday life.

Of course, some industries have enjoyed something of a boon during the lockdown as their products, services, and expertise have come to the fore, or been adapted to suit the needs of the population.

How have businesses altered their offering?

Many eateries have kept afloat by switching their sit-down service to take-out or delivery, while robotic delivery of food and drink in Milton Keynes could offer a glimpse into the future of the industry, long after Covid-19’s grip on our daily lives has subsided.

The airline industry has been similarly decimated as planes have been grounded but swapping passengers for cargo has allowed some to maintain business.

Land-based delivery services have thrived, especially those connected to online shopping, like our trips to the high street or retail centers have been curtailed by the lockdown.

This has not come without the need for a change to regular services, however, with health and safety now more paramount, businesses have needed to be agile in swiftly adapting sanitary and sterile methods of delivery especially when dealing with at-risk customers.

Can businesses help in the fight against Coronavirus?

Some of the biggest swings in business have seen entities completely change their line of work in a bid to help fight the virus.

Producing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gowns, and gloves, has become a priority for many textile companies.

In the bid to build more hospital equipment, Formula 1 teams used their engineering might take on the task. World champion outfit Mercedes produced a ventilator which was used in a trial by the NHS and made the plans freely available for other manufacturers to build their own versions.

As the need for clear public communication has risen, printing business instant print was marked as NHS supply chain critical, producing an adapted product range including posters, signage, floor stickers and more to be used in a host of healthcare settings.

Will UK businesses recover after Coronavirus?

This is a tricky question to answer, as to how our daily lives will look once the pandemic subsides remains a grey area.

As scientific exploration into the virus continues, the threat of a ‘second wave’ of illnesses sweeping the world is set to make the resumption of our previous ways of life something that is implemented slowly, if indeed some things we used to take for granted ever do return to our daily routines.

Work settings may change, infrastructure will likely have to be adapted to suit a more socially distant population. How crowds gathering in shops, restaurants, bars, concerts, sporting events and more will be managed is almost impossible to predict as simply containing the virus still remains the highest priority.

As some countries begin to tentatively emerge from lockdown and try to get to grips with a ‘new normal’, the world will look to the likes of Australia and New Zealand for cues, while China has also looked to restore many of the social liberties that were taken away when the virus began to spread in its Hubei province.

If your business has been impacted by the Coronavirus, perhaps some of the examples above can help guide you through the rocky times or inspire a change of direction that may bring greater success once the pandemic passes.