Many businesses, either large or small have a desire to grow internationally. To be able to trade in more than one country not only can generate an improved income stream, but also creates considerable credibility. On paper, opening up offices in different countries may look like a piece of cake but in reality, there is a lot more to contemplate, and in many cases a priority to consider is that of language.
English Folly. You may say “So what, all business is done in English” and while this is true to a degree it is also not the truth. Sure, one of the primary languages of business communication is English, but when it comes to the day to day, and gaining a strong foothold in whatever country a business is venturing into, knowing the mother tongue matters. Going into Spain, France, Japan or any country that does not natively speak English and expecting things to be done in English would be pure arrogance and therefore speaking the native language is vital.
Language gets you started. When a business is expanding into another country it is taking its products and services to a place where its own native language is not the same as the country that is the new customer base. Communication and marketing when entering a new country both need to happen in the now foreign language and being able to discuss your requirements with local agents requires you to be understood. Even prior to establishing a base on foreign soil, discussions and negotiations need to occur and these are best done in the language of the country being entered. Speaking the language shows that the business is taking its expansion into different countries seriously. Furthermore, in the often delicate, initial discussions and negotiations, speaking the same language, preferably the native language, room for error or misunderstanding is removed. Speaking a language ensures a swift and more effective expansion into a new country.
Language gets you down to business. When expanding into a new country a business will employ locals that are often managed non-native language speakers and the process of opening up operations is overseen by staff from the home office who may not necessarily speak the language of the country they are in as their first language. It is important to understand that language plays a critical role here and speaking the language is of paramount importance. Not only does speaking the language help in the day to day office or factory operations it goes a great deal further to ensure a strong foundation is created where misunderstanding, for example, becomes less of a problem with face to face discussions.
Language beyond to office door. The biggest thing about language that helps a company expand into foreign territory is outside of the business. Few companies expanding into a new country take full cognisance of culture, tradition and social behaviour, of the place they are setting up shop and these easily overlooked elements of working and living in a new country are very much the fabric that drives success when expanding internationally. Speaking a language ensures a company and the employees tasked with establishing operations blend in. Blending in is powerful when it comes to morale in place of work and high morale means the chances of success and high productivity are exceptionally better than they could otherwise be. Language matters!
Expanding a business internationally all begins with the spoken word and being able to speak the language of the country where a business is venturing into is by far and away the most critical part of the entire plan.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.