International Business Pre-Flight Checklist: V

We’ve covered four vital steps on a reliable, affordable pre-flight checklist. Like a good pilot, we’ve checked off Get Executive Thumbs-Up, Analyze Market Horizons, Prove Demand, and Allocate Resources. Fifth and final entry on this short-but-sweet pre-flight checklist discusses how to Select a Team.

Who will be part of your trusted crew? Build up a trustworthy and reputable group of strategic partners, employees, alliances, vertical channel setup, key customers, spokesmen, and analysts. Work your network of former and current colleagues and converse with industry partners through your company’s trade associations. LinkedIn, the free social networking site for the business world, has proven to be an excellent site for forming what I call “virtual tribes” of actual and potential colleagues, very targeted groups whose membership is full of professionals who know what you need to know, and who want to learn from you, too.

Are you hiring non-US staff who will work and live overseas? Ensure that your company’s HR team is qualified to recruit, hire, train and compensate foreign nationals. Ask your CEO (he’s your cheerleader, remember?) to engage a recruiting consultant. Again, a good place to start is at your local US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center. They help to remove the mystery of engaging with internationally-based professionals who want to work with you or to be your new employee.

Once the core team is in place, if you’ve taken these recommended steps you’ll likely find that your new international team meshes well with you and your company. Shared values and priorities, style of selling and supporting, and standards for quality and service to name a few. Whether you’re hiring an international sales manager or joining the alliance program of a Fortune 100 partner, the same rules apply.

Chances are, another company has already forged the trail that you need to follow.

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