How to Manage Foreign Branches?

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First, I will go there to study the market, to meet people, and to understand their habits, culture and practices.

Second, I will equate how to merge local "doing business" with companies needs and with local market practices, demand and opportunities.

Third, businesses are managed by people. You can have the best system and control implemented, but if you don't have a liaison with key people at your branch, you will not know what actually will be happening there. So, it is fundamental to develop empathy and synergy with local staff.

To not extend too much, well, we need key figures, scenarios and feedback to be able to evaluate remotely. The evaluation needs to consider local environment and characteristics, which means, each place has a story, so each place needs to have a unique evaluation. We can not generalise.

Answering the second part of the question, our leadership presence will always be necessary. That doesn't mean that you will need to be there physically, but you need to be available to discuss any issue, you need, as already said, to have and maintain synergy and empathy with the local staff, and to be updated.

So, if the guidance is clear and understood, and if you are aware of local particularities and cultural differences, your presence, there, can be constrained to special events, or when it is necessary to meet a key client to define a contract that has special conditions, or to the periodical visits that should exist to keep close liaison with the local staff.

To endorse what I said about different cultures and practices, maybe a good reading will be: The Hofstede Cultural Dimensions at http://www.geert-hofstede.com/

International business development is a challenge that requires strong management skills and the knowledge of strategies' development in the context of globalization, but not only.

The component of the human behaviour and the understanding of its nuances in different cultures and in different environments of business practices, it is a fundamental key aspect that must have a special attention and study, to be successful in international business development.

Mario luis Tavares Ferreira is a seasoned senior manager, entrepreneur, with a broad technical background, developed two high tech start-ups, developed business in half dozen countries, has active participation on diverse Linkedin groups and is developing a non-profit project to leverage SMB and Start-up development. For more information please visit my website at  globalentrepreneurship.wordpress.com.

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