Have You Planned for International Sales

international sales

Credit: epsos

As your business grows from local to regional and regional to national, you won’t encounter many new challenges with regulations and operations. However, as your business grows to attract international customers, you may find new challenges and obstacles you have not seen before. Here are some common challenges and solutions for new international entrepreneurs.

Currency Conversion

Some companies only accept payments in their own currency. Others accept payment in any form it is offered. While I am a big advocate for taking money however it is offered to you, the choice for how you accept payments is ultimately yours.

If you do want to take payments in international currencies, you have a couple of easy options when starting out.

  1. PayPal – Can handle currency conversions and processing from most countries
  2. Credit card processors – Run a credit card in the customer’s home currency, get paid in dollars

When you scale up and need to accept larger payments, you can also work with your bank to accept checks in a foreign currency or open an account in a foreign bank.

International Shipping

The US Post Office can take international shipments, but it may not be the best option. UPS and FedEx are popular shippers for foreign shipments, and may offer better service of rates.

You should also look at foreign carriers like DHL and TOLL may provide better service. Check with your customer on preferred carriers and check into who is popular in that country. Choosing the right shipping company may save money and get the product into your customer’s hands faster.

International Taxes

In the United States, sales taxes are easy. In your state, you have to pay state sales tax. Shipping over state lines? No state sales tax. (There are some exceptions, but that is the general rule.)

International? Things get more complicated. For example, if you ship to Canada a 13% tax is required for anything valued at over $60. Every country has different rules, so do your research before you send.

International Customs

What you are shipping may not be legal in all countries, and you may be responsible for sending something illegally. Or, your item may never arrive at its final destination.

For example, the United States has rules against shipping some computer and gaming hardware to certain countries. Many countries in the Middle East have a ban on alcohol. The list of issues you can run into is huge, so check on your specific products and where you are sending.

International Customer Service

At the end of the day, it is all about the customer experience. Repeat business is important and happy customers are important. When you take an order, it is your responsibility to ensure the order makes it to the customer as expected. Always do your part to ensure a smooth and equitable transaction for both parties.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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