Top tips for moving your international business to the UK

The decision to permanently move or expand your business at an international level can be in reaction to many different factors. Whether you’ve spotted an unmissable opportunity, had the long-term objective to expand, or believe that the UK is more suited to your business, careful consideration over how this can be achieved will determine your success.

The UK has an established economy, exciting business opportunities and progressive policymaking, meaning that it is an ideal target for foreign investment. However, as is the nature of the business world, you will face competition both from locals and other international companies. Ultimately, the UK wants your business, and there are many skilled workers in the UK who will be able to help you grow. You just need to make sure you’re prepared for everything and don’t get bitten by a nasty surprise that sets you back time and money.

1. International business preparation

When moving your business abroad, it is important that you have outlined the whole process so that you can understand the costs involved. The more accurate your business plan is, the easier you’ll be able to truly gauge how much a move abroad will cost you. Whether you’re working individually or in a team, a business plan is the perfect planning tool to achieve goals and objectives.

Your international plan will constantly change, but it is a great tool to help guide decision making in the business world. This may seem daunting and, with so much information, it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, entrepreneurial organisations such as The Princes Trust provide templates and advice free of charge to support anyone taking the next step. You can download their free business plan template here.

2. Business opportunities in the UK

One of the most confusing and restrictive barriers to entry for anyone looking to move a business abroad is understanding local laws and regulations. For some businesses, this may translate into minor changes on packaging, but for others, it may require the development of a completely new way to deliver a product or service. Understanding the regulations that impact your sector and following business updates is a sure fire way avoid any breaches and stay one step ahead. The UK government have provided this page where you can view and search for related policies, and here you can find direct contact information, forms and news stories.

3. Managing your international move

An important factor when moving overseas is finding and establishing relationships with new suppliers. This can cause you issues for several reasons:

  1. You require physical samples that are expensive to receive internationally.
  2. You’re entering a new market and don’t know which suppliers you can trust.
  3. There is a language barrier making it difficult to communicate effectively.
  4. You don’t know where to start.

Fortunately, a range of tools are available to make this process seamless and to help your expansion go smoothly. You can search for suppliers by name, keyword or industry using this tool, all of which have been approved by the UK Government. Other tools, such as Checkatrade, provide checks on specific industries and are useful when looking for local suppliers.

If you are having difficulty translating any correspondence, Dropbox offers an option to translate files (you can find out how here), alternatively, you can upload text into Google Docs and use their translation tool.

4. Foreign investment in the UK

A move overseas opens up many possibilities for your business, and the local infrastructure plays an important role in any future successes. The growth of your industry can be helped a long way if infrastructure has been developed to support it, and the UK offers some of the fewest barriers to entry for entrepreneurs in the world. The UK is constantly committing investment into the growth of its sectors, which makes it an attractive prospect for foreign investors. You can follow long-term plans, confirmed investments and past publications to understand how you may be impacted.

5. The UK economy wants you

Securing investment into the economy is important for every country. To support this, they offer attractive subsidies, grants and tax reduction laws to help your overseas move. Understanding the options available to you can help offset costs and make the prospect of expanding abroad much more manageable. A complete list of finances, grants, loans and advice can be found in the UK government database, and for help with understanding how taxes may affect you, click here.

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6. Stay up-to-date on business news

The role of politics for businesses moving abroad is often overlooked and misunderstood. Entering into a new region means a new political climate, which heavily influences your ability to carry out your key operations. You can expect any manner of the following to differ amongst political parties:

  1. Health and Safety regulations
  2. Employment law
  3. Tariffs
  4. Regulation of industry competitors
  5. Data protection legislation
  6. Policies impacting the economy

Typically, politics is difficult to fully understand and obtain unbiased updates on, and whilst you can use media outlets to find your information, the official government gateway will provide you with the most insight. Brexit is arguably the most important UK political change that will affect businesses, you can sign up for updates and read up on guidance here. For businesses wishing to obtain Brexit insights and updates from a non-governmental source, KMPG are here to help.

7. Global talent acquisition

A great workforce is arguably the reason some companies succeed so well in comparison to others, but how can you effectively manage this when moving overseas? Thankfully we have access to Linkedin and it has become easier than ever, especially as they offer a recruitment tool to aid companies. Unfortunately, recruitment is still an extremely time-consuming process and gauging potential candidates without meeting them, or without previous recruitment experience can cause a huge delay in expanding overseas.

Recruitment agencies within the UK place over 100,00 employees in jobs annually and are highly qualified in finding appropriate candidates for all manner of jobs. Whilst this may save you time, be aware that you pay a premium for this service. You can find details of the 13 best UK recruitment agencies in this blog post to help guide your decision moving forward.

8. Register a UK company address

Realistically, any business looking to expand or move internationally is going to need time to plan and prepare all of their operations. There are many difficulties attached to this, however, there are also many solutions on offer. You can use skype for conducting interviews with candidates, international accountants to calculate your moving costs, government resources to help you with legal queries, and a world full of suppliers that can be found through a simple search query.

However, one issue that remains unanswered, and is just as important, is registering a business address and the management of mail in an overseas country. UK Postbox is here to help and offer registered business addresses that you can use to access and manage your mail, from all over the world. Whether you’re early or late in the planning stages of moving your business abroad, it’s never too early to register a UK address. Find out exactly what a UK address can offer you.

Are you ready?

If you’ve taken all of these points into account and know how to approach them, maybe you’re ready to enter the UK business world. Regardless of your moving date, establishing your UK mailing address is a positive first step that will continue to provide value throughout the entirety of the process.

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