As the world becomes a more global place, businesses are increasingly building relationships with international clients, which can often be difficult. I would like to share an article from mashable.com about six ways to manage international relationships online.
This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.
Sometimes the hardest part of having international clients is finding a way to connect with them. Small businesses often have to worry about different time zones, different languages, and even different customs and traditions.
While there’s no catch-all, golden resource that can solve every problem a small internationally-minded business could have, there are some easy ways to keep your business up-to-date and in the overseas loop.
Here, we’ll help you through the basic steps of interacting with overseas clients, from translating pleasantries to tracking shipments to making sure you don’t accidentally call them in the middle of the night.
1. Basic Information
Before you even get started, it’s important to know the basic information about your client’s country. Usually the most thorough and reliable way to bone up is through the country’s official webpage. England, for example, has a good site with lots of information. Unfortunately, most of these sites are geared towards tourism and less so the time-pressed businessperson.
Wikipedia can actually be a great, quick and comprehensive alternative. Wikipedia pages exist for most major countries and include a helpful info bar on the right side of the page (usually just below the country’s flag). This information includes official languages, government make up, population estimates, GDP, currency, time zone, and calling code.
Also check out The World Factbook, maintained by the CIA. It includes “information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities,” according to their website.