Business Abroad: How to Overcome Cultural Barriers During Expansion

Last Updated on 8th January 2022

Once you have launched a successful business in your own country, you may start to consider expanding your operations overseas. There are several factors that you must take into consideration in order to help make the expansion a success.

Today we will be discussing the steps all business owners should be taking to help make it a success. It’s time to branch out of your own country to help increase that all-important profitability.

Narrow Down Your Market

So, you’ve decided to expand globally, but you need to be realistic. Before you start your expansion, you will need to narrow down your market. After all, you don’t want to go after all of them around the world. Instead, you will need to conduct a lot of research to find where your brand will flourish.

From a quick online search, you will be able to find a list of top countries for global expansion. It is worth asking yourself some all-important questions. Is there a need for my business in the country? Is the demand high enough to make it a success? This will help you to narrow down your search and ultimately make your decision.

Have Awareness of Languages Spoken

It is no secret that many countries in the world have populations that speak a multitude of languages. For example, Switzerland has four different languages. In order for you to assist your global expansion, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the languages spoken in your chosen market. Once you begin to learn specific phrases, you can use them to create effective marketing campaigns in your customer’s local language.

Doing this in your marketing campaigns also shows your new customers that you both respect and admire their native language. It’s showing your customers that your business has taken time to learn and understand their local language and you will find that you will often gain a positive response from this.

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Use A Translation Service

As you expand into a new country, you will of course need to hire a new team. Once you have an awareness of what language is spoken, as previously discussed, it is important to then take translation into account. It is advised that you translate key word documents into the native language for your new employees. This will significantly enhance your communication.

Although machine translators exist, it is advised that you put your trust into human translators as machines are not always 100% accurate. Word Connections are a Japanese document translation service. Their team of expert linguists and industry specialists can deliver accurate, consistent, and audited translations of all keyword documents to help enhance your lines of communication.

Avoid Jargon and Slang Words

The English language is full of idioms, jargon, and slang words. When communicating overseas it is crucial that you avoid using these types of words. Not only can it be very confusing for the person on the receiving end, but it can hinder your communication. It is worth researching some common slang words online so you can familiarise yourself with them.

Some of us use these terms daily and we may not even notice that they are slang words as they feel natural for us to say. It is also worth talking slowly. Depending on where you are from, some of us can have accents that are difficult to understand. Talking slowly will help you annunciate words more clearly.

Prioritise Visual Communication

Language barriers can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. However, instead of constantly focusing on text and how you will translate it, don’t forget about the power of visual communication. Humans are essentially visual learners. So, don’t hesitate to use pictures to help you convey your messages, instructions, or assignments. By giving your team members signs, cue cards and other visual aids, you are making it a lot easier for them to communicate with one another.

It is worth looking at some visual communication examples online to give yourself a clearer understanding of how they should look. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will never need to translate text. However, visual communication will always be a powerful tool and one that can help your expansion flow smoothly.

Learn The Basics

It is a huge ask for both you and your team to fluently learn a new language. After all, you are running a successful business and you might not have the time to dedicate to it. Although you don’t need to learn a new language fluently, it is advised that both you and your team at least learn the basics. When we say learn the basics we mean greeting, work phrases and warnings. By encouraging this in the workplace you are helping to create an environment where employees can co-exist and succeed. It will also help you to better understand your market too which is crucial if you want your expansion to be a total success.

Research Your New Audience

It is crucial that you research your new audience. Just because a marketing campaign received a good response in your own country, this doesn’t mean the same rule applies to the rest of the world. Instead, you should thoroughly research the market to find out what your new audience likes. Interests will differ between cultures. There are plenty of helpful websites out there which can educate you on important cultural things to learn about a country. It is also worth visiting the country that you choose to expand you. Make sure to get yourself out there and mingle with the locals. Really get a feel for your audience and who they are.


Expanding your business to a new country can be quite the challenge. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to make it a success. However, by following our helpful tips above you will be well on your way to collaborating effectively with a new country and significantly expanding your brand. Soon, you will be able to enjoy the many benefits that come with global expansion. The future is looking bright for taking your business abroad.