Your company has the wind in its sails and you’re ready to hit the global marketplace. Congratulations! This is an exciting milestone. Now it’s time to deal with some of the rules of the road when it comes to a successful international launch and a profitable future.
One of the first realities you must face is the language barrier. International means English, so be honest: Are your key employees fluent enough in the language of Shakespeare to meet the demands of foreign customers? You’ve got to make sure they are before you make your entrance onto the international stage, or you may not make it past opening night.
To inspire you to action, here are 7 reasons showing why it is necessary to have employees who speak English if you’re serious about the international marketplace.
speaking english For the North American market
For a company based in Québec, your logical first foreign markets are your North American neighbors. Expanding your business into the surrounding provinces in Canada and the United States is a great first step on the way to the rest of the world.
The estimated combined population of Canada and the United States is 350 million people. The overwhelming majority of these people express themselves and trade in English. If you want them to buy what you’re selling, you’d better learn English. Offering online English courses to your employees might be a good investment.
English is the universal language
Ideally, it is always better to speak the language of a country if you want to do business or simply communicate with its inhabitants. In practice, however, it is an impossible dream for everyone to be able to speak every language.
The world’s solution to this problem has been English. It is the most taught second language in the world, and has truly become a universal language. An estimated 1.5 billion people use it regularly in their daily lives. Expect to haggle in English at that bazaar in Thailand. The vendor will know at least enough English to swear that he’s giving you a great deal, so your employees should know enough to tell him you’ve got a better one!
For all intents and purposes, English is the international language. So, if your employees can speak English, they can always find someone to speak with, understand them, and help them, no matter where you want them to set up shop.
English is the language of business administration
In addition to being the most convenient language to know when you’re traveling abroad, English is the international language of business administration. Almost all commercial transactions are done in English, from estimates and quotes to follow-ups, orders, contracts, and invoices.
If you want to sell internationally, your company must have an administrative staff that speaks English. It’s the only way you’ll be able to manage orders and correspond with your customers in a professional manner.
To develop your e-commerce
If you want to sell internationally, you’ve got to go all in on electronic commerce. To do this, you need to sell online in English, and to do that, you need a good English website. It’s the only way that you’ll truly reach a global audience. Having only a French version of your site will seriously limit your earning potential. To have a viable Web presence, it’s essential that you have people able to manage the English content on your website and process your orders.
Eventually, you will probably want to translate your site into several other languages as well, out of respect for your different audiences. Starting with an English version will allow you to limit your initial investment, and will provide you the revenue you’ll need to identify and fund your next steps.
To open a window on the world
By developing your employees’ English skills, you’re giving your company an open window on the world at the same time. Indeed, few people are aware that English offers links to several other languages and cultures, making the language a very profitable investment.
Knowing English instantly gives you an entrée to a huge amount of news and resources. In fact, some studies suggest that about 80% of the content on the Internet is in English. That’s huge! Being able to access this information can only contribute to a better knowledge of the different foreign markets.
To stay in touch with what’s hot
English is also the unofficial language of the hottest sectors of the economy, like new technologies, various applied sciences, aeronautics, artificial intelligence and even communications.
If your company works in one of these areas, or wants to develop partnerships with one of them, you will be at quite a disadvantage if you don’t offer English training to your key employees. Be sure to offer English courses in your company in order to see their language skills improving. Your odds of landing bigger contracts, with more prestigious clients, will immediately improve.
For a 'win-win' relationship with your employees
By providing English training for your employees, you will develop their personal and professional skills. It will be beneficial for them, of course, but also for your company, which will benefit in turn from their talents. Everyone wins!
Plus, your newly-trained employees will be stimulated and energized by their new skills. They may even be motivated to learn in other areas, which can open other new doors for your company. Online courses are a great way to help your employees reach their full potential.