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A Taste of Argentina

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A Taste of Argentina

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Starting a business abroad can be more arduous than establishing one at home for obvious reasons. But of course, there are many advantages.

By David Mitchell

I decided to set up a wine club and wine-tasting service in Argentina. I was aware of a company that was already doing similar work, so my first idea was to submit a couple of ideas to see if they were interested. After a few months with lacklustre responses, I stopped. Very disheartening business. Instead, I began to gather information, capital and a workforce on my own. My brother also took an interest in the venture, and before you could say sauvignon blanc, we had become partners. But we really had no idea what we were in for!

The company name alone proved to be a feat. Starting a business abroad can be more arduous than establishing one at home for obvious reasons. But of course, there are many advantages. It's evident, but cannot by understated: the biggest difficulty is the language and cultural barrier. I've lost count how many times things get lost in translation. But you learn and move forward. It is essential to know what you want, and exactly how far you are prepared to go in any situation. Corporate grey areas are a breeding ground for victimisation, particularly in Argentina. Nationals prefer to conduct business in person rather than by phone or email, and therefore verbal misunderstandings can arise. Writing things means it's recorded, and I thoroughly recommend it. This is especially important when negotiating prices.

Transferring money in and out of Argentina can be horrible. Banks, like other massive bureaucratic institutions, love their rules and, in general, are no picnic to deal with. But like so many things, they are a necessary evil. If you have to bring a lot of capital into Argentina to establish your business, make sure you consult with a casa de cambio, banks, and a lawyer or notary. This will certify whether or not you can transfer capital into Argentina, and more importantly withdraw it from the bank. A lot of capital is useless unless you can use it. I speak from experience.

So get your plan into action! Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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