It's Not Just Business, It's Personal: International Deals

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It's Not Just Business, It's Personal: Starting International Deals

Business has many facets, and Corey covers one of the largest parts of business: deal making; however, deal making itself also has its own set of facets and forms. The larger your proposed deal becomes, the more intricate the process becomes. Once your business begins to take on international deals, there are very specific things that come up when evaluating the potential deal, and it varies greatly from doing domestic deals.

  • It is important to become familiar with business traditions and cultures of regions you're doing business in. Research the region you're doing an international deal within; some regions have very specific traditions they hold when it comes to business, and specifically making and signing deals.
  • It is also important to research the business and deal-making laws of the region you're doing business within. What's legal in your country, may not be legal in the country you're doing a deal within.
  • Some region's laws and cultures change between smaller jurisdictions, so be sure to look at laws and cultures not just of the country, but on a local, smaller jurisdiction scale, as well.



When looking to expand one’s business, a common question a business owner must ask: why are you wanting to expand internationally?

Due to the increasing accessibility of deal-making on a global scale, it becomes hard to avoid international deals. Another reason many businesses have chosen to make international deals, versus keeping business domestic, is due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and lockdowns causing serious supply chain issues. The war of Russia on Ukraine has also had a massive impact on supply chains and access to various goods and resources.

One of the biggest factors of international deals is strictly the availability of the region. Some regions are more flush with certain resources than others. There's more opportunities for certain businesses to grow by doing international deals, rather than seeking resources domestically. 

When deciding if your business would benefit from switching into an international deal, one must look at their business and needs, and decipher whether they can continue healthy growth domestically, or if they should expand and begin looking to make deals internationally. This is the basic concept of "supply and demand," a business looking to grow must look at their demand, and find where the most accessible supply is.



As stated before, international deals have many benefits, but they also have a sense of delicacy, so you must do your best to get it right, the first time around.

Going into any potential business deal with lacking knowledge is a bad idea; this is especially true for international deals.

While having someone stationed within the region you're looking to do business is not a requirement, it greatly benefits your business and your deal's potential of success. A very important tool to a business looking to make international deals is having a trusted, local partner that is either extremely familiar with the region, or even better, resides within the region you're looking to do business within.

A person in the region you're doing business can help you define and navigate:

  • Local culture
  • Local traditions
  • Local laws
  • Local marketing
  • Local economy
  • How to garner respect in the region
  • Language translations, where applicable

Finding a partner that is familiar with the region you're doing business can become a valuable tool to you and your business. They can help you navigate all of the region-specific characters and features. But moreover, you need to trust this local partner. Building a trusting relationship with your local partner is a key to having a successful partnership in the region you're aiming to do business in.

A great example of the usefulness of a local partner for an international deal is for regions like Japan, where tradition and culture are deeply ingrained into every aspect of life, especially business. 

A deal within Japan is a very procedural affair. You build a relationship by having dinners, going for drinks or simply going to sing karaoke, wherein not word of business is spoken. If the relationship before business is discussed is comfortable, then the relationship within the deal is believed to go much smoother. In fact, if you try to force the business conversation too early, it can be perceived as rude or disrespectful, and your attempt at a deal will be shut down.

This is where having a partner that is accustomed to the locale's cultures, traditions and laws comes in handy. They know the intricate details of making deals within that region, and they are less likely to offend cultures or traditions, resulting in losing a potential deal.



One of the biggest hindrances to international deals: not understanding local legal and tax laws. If you're looking to expand your business to make international deals, you must make sure your legal, financial and tax employees are prepared and knowledgeable on the laws and tax codes of the region you're looking to do business. 

Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so ensuring that your team is prepared and knowledgeable will offer you a chance to be successful, and avoid possible blockades, be it legal, tax laws, governmental treaties, or merely cultural disrespect. 



A lot of foreign businesses will set up U.S. based subsidiaries because it's often easier for U.S. based subsidiaries to do business with U.S. companies, versus doing business with a foreign entity. This is not always the case, but it is a widely used tool for foreign businesses to do business within the U.S.

An important thing to note when being a U.S. business doing deals with a U.S. based subsidiary is the legal protections offered. There are many governmental protections put in place for deals made strictly within the U.S. borders, even if the mother company of the subsidiary is foreign. This comes in handy for disputes or breach of contract. 

It all depends on how the foreign company has set up their U.S. subsidiary, so be sure to do your due diligence on not just the foreign mother company, but especially the U.S. based subsidiary you're working with. Also be sure to be prepared and knowledgeable in U.S. business laws, and how they can benefit you when working with a foreign company's U.S. based subsidiary.

Doing due diligence with a U.S. based subsidiary also includes doing your research on the mother company. It is your responsibility to know who and what you're doing business with, even if you're merely dealing with their U.S. subsidiary.

  • Make sure the mother company is not on any ban lists.
  • Make sure the mother company is in line with your own company's beliefs and practices.
  • Make sure there's no outstanding U.S. or international concerns regarding the foreign mother company.
  • Make sure the foreign business owner is not on any ban lists.
  • Make sure the foreign business owner has no outstanding U.S. or international concerns.



International deals are an incredible asset to many businesses, but they also pose inherent risks and road blocks. 

  • Be sure that you are always practicing due diligence, doing your research on foreign companies, U.S. based subsidiaries, and foreign company owners and CEOs. 
  • When reaching across borders to make international deals for your own business, make sure you're acquainted with the region's culture, laws and traditions.
  • Setting up a partnership within the region you're looking to do business is a wonderful tool when making international deals. 
  • Prepare your team for international deals and dealing with international treaties, laws and tax codes. 

By practicing all the due diligence you can, you're going to make your deals more successful and keep your business growing and thriving.

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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.


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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, deal-maker, and business consultant with more than 35 years of professional negotiating experience as a successful entrepreneur and attorney.


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