Set up a business abroad

Last updated 19 March 2019

Once you’ve tested a market with an agent, distributor or other selling method, you may decide demand for your product or service is high enough to set up an operation in that country.

Opening an office overseas is often a long-term project for small to medium businesses. It can:

  • lower your costs over time
  • increase your market penetration
  • send a positive message to the local market
  • improve your customer service and after-sales support
  • make customers feel you’re committed to their market

Plan carefully

Setup costs are likely to be considerable so you’ll need to plan thoroughly. Think about how you will:

  • manage the office remotely
  • manage logistics
  • cope with cultural differences
  • comply with legal, employment and tax requirements

Ways to set up overseas

The main ways to set up overseas include:

  • opening your own office or shop
  • buying an existing local company
  • setting up a subsidiary or standalone company

Get support and advice on getting your product or service to market from a trade adviser in your area.