4 Challenges Facing Global Businesses With Multiple Locations

Expansion across state and international borders is a sign of success, but it definitely presents some tough challenges. This is especially true when you’re operating in multiple locations. In addition to all the extra time, travel, and expenses that you’ll put in trying to keep your organization unified and consistent, there are several unique challenges that come with operating an international business with multiple locations.

Challenge One: Overcoming Disengagement

When multiple workers meet together in a single location, there are informal, unstructured interactions that build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. The concerns and frustrations of employees routinely come to the attention of management and team leaders. Unfortunately, it’s easy for managers to overlook similar concerns in outlying locations. It takes hard work to overcome this tendency.

One way to avoid disengagement is to create opportunities for remote teams to connect with each and share ideas. This gives team members in other countries collaborative and development opportunities. It helps members in all locations feel like part of the whole. This provides an important boost in your work culture. If it’s impossible to get together physically, it’s important to connect over the phone or through emails. There are several real-time meeting software options that make collaborating across country borders much easier than in the past. There are also software options for transferring money across borders, such as Sharemoney.

Challenge Two: Avoiding Cultural Missteps

There are too many business managers who don’t pay attention to cultural norms and expectations when working with team members and customers in other countries. Small variations in language, laws, customs, and expectations can become huge barriers to further growth and success. This is particularly likely in businesses with multiple locations. The same behaviors could seem confident and positive in one country but abrasive and overbearing in another.

One way to avoid this dilemma is to establish open lines of communication with local management teams. If you have a team in China, for example, make sure your team leader in that country provides you with national holidays to avoid when you’re planning management training events. If you plan to send a Mexican money transfer, be sure that professionals on both ends of the transaction understand the exchange rate, etc. By working with native team leaders, you have access to input from country-knowledgeable professionals. Of course, you must also be aware of time zone differences.

Challenge Three: Achieving Consistent Engagement With Local Adaptations

When working through each of the previous challenges, it is vital to achieving success in both. If you disregard one to focus on the other, your entire business could suffer. Some business experts offer a solution that includes providing a basic framework and then allows local offices to carry out work within that framework. This provides the freedom to adapt to local expectations and concerns. With that said, most businesses have some standards that must remain consistent, such as in product or service quality and financial transactions and records.

Challenge Four: Moving Past Distance Delays

Operating with the same materials and documentation across far distances is challenging. Sending inventory and people through the mail system or transportation system is unwieldy and time-consuming. Fortunately, in this day of electronic communication, it’s pretty easy to fax documents and send money almost instantly. The use of modern technology is a must in modern businesses with multiple locations, especially across country borders. The right systems and the use of new technology is a good way to minimize delays due to the distances between locations.

When your business has grown across state and/or country borders, make sure you’re ready to overcome some of the most common challenges. Remember to focus on helping every member of your team, even those in the most remote locations, feel as if they are valued members of the team. This can go a long way toward keeping everyone motivated and doing their best to represent your company the way you want.