By Nancy Wu
Our world is becoming ever more connected, and geographic boundaries are starting to matter less for businesses in every industry. Here at Accelerate, we are constantly in contact with clients and candidates around the world, even though we operate from our base offices in Ireland and Argentina. This can pose some difficult challenges that are often hard to anticipate, from managing business across different time zones to understanding cultural nuances.
Managing time zones
Scheduling globally can be a challenge. For example, normal business operating hours in Buenos Aires means that our clients in Asia are probably fast asleep. The 12-hour difference requires us to be more flexible and generous in our scheduling. Taking calls after hours is common, and for our business, it’s a necessary adjustment to be able to access our Asia-based clients and candidates. Tools like Google Calendar, the iOS world clock, and Every Time Zone (link) can be tremendously helpful.
This is a relatively small detail that can lead to unnecessary misunderstanding and embarrassment. When working with clients in other locations, it’s important to specify what currency you want to work in. The client may automatically assume that they should pay you in their own local currency, unless you specify differently. For recruiters, it is especially important to clarify the currency when talking about salary details.
Put your business on every possible platform online. Different platforms are popular in different countries, and since the Internet is a given around the globe, it will make your business much easier to find for your customers abroad. Plus, the more reach your business has across different platforms, the more legitimate and established it will look to potential clients.
When the client is not from an English-speaking country, it’s necessary to take extra care when interpreting their messages and following through with certain procedures. For example, it’s not customary to discuss pricing upfront in some nations, but perfectly normal for others. Do some research and ask around your network for advice on the specific client you are working with. Most of the time, it’s reasonable to ask your client directly, if you need something clarified.
Use your track record
Pitching based on what you’ve already accomplished gives your business more credibility. If possible, mention past international clients that you have already worked with. We have found that emphasizing our scope across countries has been very effective in highlighting our international capability. A history of successful case studies will ensure the client that your business is competent and reputable, even if it is halfway around the world.