Maintaining a Business Presence Internationally
Now that we are in the 21st century, we’re well aware that the landscape has changed for businesses. With competition now just a click away, your organization has to be able to accommodate international audiences — or face extinction. However, the traditional methods of setting up a physical presence across a country’s borders can be costly to your time, capital, and resources. This can include tasks like:
- Hiring and training competent foreign staff
- Adhering to local laws and guidelines
- Leasing or buying property
- Filing documents
- Opening up foreign bank accounts
- Waiting for government approval
And so forth. And the worst part is that all or most of these things must be complete before you’re able to make a single profit! This has always been a significant obstacle to startups and small businesses, where every resource has to be used in the most efficient manner. In short, what it comes down to is that the traditional method of business expansion isn’t efficient.
So, what is efficient? As with anything these days, businesses that leverage the power of the Internet to gain a business presence are seeing the greatest success. With fewer barriers to entry, startups and small business owners can get a piece of the action by using “virtual locations.”
Read on to learn about how you can maintain a business presence internationally by using virtual locations.
What is a Virtual Location?
A virtual location is a business’ attempt to create a sense of place that appeals to a geographic target market by leveraging technology through the Internet. Through virtual locations, a business can replace the services offered by traditional brick & mortar institutions. In many cases, virtual locations offer more efficient services. For instance, instead of driving to a bank and handling transactions with a bank teller, online banking allows customers to guide themselves through the bank process (website) and speak to a customer service rep (via virtual phone number).
Elements of a Virtual Location
Let’s take a look at some common elements of a virtual location:
- Website: A website serves as a nexus of your online activities. For many businesses, optimizing a website can be an efficient means of processing customer inquiries and guiding clients down the sales funnel. It can also provide locally-tailored information, both in content and presentation, that shows that a business wants to appeal to customers in a way that they’re accustomed to (i.e. languages used, local guides, etc.). With fully-integrated e-commerce solutions available, your website can function as an automated place of generating revenue.
- Online Collaboration Platforms: Because your business may need to carry out some tasks in the “real world” from time to time, it’s helpful to use online collaboration platforms likes Trello, Teamwork, Slack, and many others to interface with your staff. For instance, you may run a business that delegates maintenance jobs in a foreign country, where workers are assigned workloads daily via a task list.
- Virtual Phone Numbers: Customers are most likely to handle important business calls with a real human at the other end of the phone. That’s where virtual phone numbers come in handy, offering the ability to communicate with anyone in the world instantly and across borders seamlessly.
Understanding How Virtual Numbers Work
Virtual phone numbers are a simple concept to understand: when a virtual phone number is dialed, the call is instantly routed to a destination phone number, which can be any number of your choosing. This means that if you, for example, used Dubai virtual phone numbers in your business, calls to these numbers can be routed to the United States (and elsewhere) to be answered. Best of all, virtual phone numbers match the country code, area code, region code, and number sequences that correspond to each area.
Service providers like United World Telecom (https://www.unitedworldtelecom.com) offer virtual phone numbers that come in a wide variety of types and functionalities that can be tailored for international commerce. For instance, consider ITFS numbers (short for International Toll Free Service numbers), which allow your business to offer toll free calls across countries’ borders. This means that your business can tap into global markets by using the international call forwarding capabilities of virtual phone numbers, ultimately establishing an authentic business presence.
Author: Tom Senkus
Tom Senkus is a global entrepreneur and business writer whose work has been published in more than fifty publications. For a complete list of his published work and writing services, visit www.tomsenkuswriter.com for more information.