A lot of attention is paid to long distance relationships with family, friends and spouses. But we sometimes forget that it is also important to pay attention to our business relations back home when we move to a new country.
Many of you might still have strong financial connections to business partners that are now millions of miles away, and you don’t want to jeopardize them because of a misunderstanding or a lack of communication. Fortunately, modern technology has made it very easy for us to communicate across borders, so make use of this technology to nurture your business relationships.
Here is how to look after your long distance business relations.
Clarify your boundaries
Before you even leave, it is important to have a meeting with each of your business partners individually, or together if they form part of the same company. Discuss your communication boundaries.
Time differences will make your virtual meetings interesting, and you’re bound to have them during non business hours, but you have to draw the line somewhere. For example, meetings are allowed any time after 5am and before 10pm in the evening. If you’re going to get Skype calls in the middle of the night it will influence both your business relations in your new city and those back home.
It’s very important to be punctual when doing business in the same country, but it’s almost more important to do so when there’s distance between you. You’ve already lost the advantage of communicating face to face, so don’t put more stress on an already strained relationship by having an entire conference call wait for you.
Schedule meetings for when you know you will be available and be sure to write it down in your planner, on your wall and the fridge back home. If you’re taking the call in the evening while your family is with you, make sure that the kids are fed and happy so that you’re not distracted.
You won’t be able to quickly walk over to your partner’s office when something strikes your attention. Create a Google document that both of you have access to where you can write ideas down. When you have a moment during lunchtime or in between your other responsibilities, try to respond.
During your weekly or twice weekly video call meetings, have that document at the ready to touch on the points that you might already have forgotten about.
Set up a detailed business structure
When all of you are in the same country it’s easy to divide responsibilities op on the fly, but when you’re oceans apart it’s not that easy. Create a detailed document with each of your responsibilities on. This will ensure that all emails are answered to outside parties and that nothing slips through the cracks. It will also ensure that nothing gets done twice, time wasted in the process.
Try not to do business in your pajamas
It’s very tempting to take those late night and early morning calls in your pajamas or your boxer shorts, but try not to do this. It might not happen, but for some people, their demeanor changes with their clothing. If you and your partners maintained a certain level of professional communication back home, then it’s important to maintain the same tone of conversations when you’re abroad. Putting on a button down shirt might just do the trick to put you in business mode.
Keep your finances in order
Doing business across borders also, inevitably, involve transferring money back and forth. Fortunately, services like Ria Money Transfer make this process easy with a minimal amount of extra fees. Be sure to do all the payments from your side punctually, taking into account a delay between when you make the payment and when the money appears in your partner’s account. This may differ quite a bit when you’re transferring abroad.
Doing business across borders with you settling in in your new country and your new home can be challenging, but it’s exciting at the same time. Make the most of this time and your career will thrive in response.