How to Become an International Businessman

Last Updated on February 16, 2023

How to Become an International Businessman

Have you ever dreamed of having the power to make meaningful decisions about buying and selling products, ideas, companies, and services all over the world? The ability to determine the future of different entrepreneurial efforts across borders has attracted men and women for centuries.

The problem is that becoming an international businessman seems overwhelming. The names of famous businessmen we know through history always seem to have some magical ability to be and do things the rest of us don’t understand.

The truth is, anyone can become an international businessperson if they apply their skills, mind and are prepared to tackle new challenges. With a bit of added grit and a lot of guts, you too can start at the bottom and become an incredible force of commerce.

Need proof? Think about Steve Jobs from Apple, the fashion designer Ralph Lauren, and even Oprah Winfrey, who all started with next to nothing and became successful in their fields, often operating more than one business. That is why we know if they can do it, so can you.

What is International Business?

If conducting business is trading goods, services, ideas, and technology for capital like cash or equally valuable items, then international business is doing the same thing at a much bigger level and in different countries.

International business involves cross-border transactions of goods and services between two or more countries. An easy example is the fast-food chain McDonald’s. They operate thousands of restaurants everywhere, from the coast of California to bustling cities of China.

Another good example is any cell phone in production. They may be advertised in the United States but are designed in Germany and created from materials in India, China, and Africa. An international businessman in charge of that kind of operation would have to manage each country’s different supply chains, rules, and laws to get the cell phone made and sold.

Who is an International Businessman?

Being a businessman has more to do with creativity, networking, and ideas than education and experience. Those last two can help, but they are not required at all. The most important thing is to learn critical thinking and be able to read people.

There are many examples of famous businessmen we can rely on to define the role. Think about Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Richard Branson of Virgin. Both have substantial international brands that do business across many different industries

What Skills They Possess

International businessmen have to clearly communicate their needs, ideas, and concepts to many different individuals who also hold some sort of value or power. To get his done the right way, they will need more traditional skills like: 

  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Know how to build a network of people
  • Be able to collaborate
  • Have a way to influence others
  • Creative thinking and adaptive reasoning
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience

As well as the lesser-known abilities like grit, determination, drive, and confidence. It also doesn’t hurt to be able to speak two or more languages, especially in the countries you’re hoping to conduct a business deal.

How They Dress Up

Traditional international businessmen were expected to dress in the latest suit fashion from famous tailors all over the world. However, that has shifted somewhat over the last couple of decades. With the tech world leading the way, a lot of business is conducting virtually or with a more relaxed style.

It has more to do with what country you’re in and the time of day. For example, in the US, a light suit without a tie is acceptable in the evening. In Japan, a formal suit and presenting a gift for your host is expected. Every place you go has its own business etiquette.

What Gadgets/Devices do They Use?

Every international businessman will carry around a mobile device and an excellent watch of some sort. That is a given. What is more important are the apps on that mobile that really make an international businessman. They will always leverage modern applications that make their work easier. Those could include:

  • Translation Apps
  • Financial News/Stock Tickers
  • UPS/FedEx
  • Todoist
  • Some sort of notes app
  • Slack/Discord/WhatsApp
  • Expense Tracker
  • Office365
  • Dictation App
  • LinkedIn Pro
  • Evernote

And the list goes on and on. One last item should be a budgeting app and one that we recommend is Simplifi.

What to Study to Become an International Businessman

While having a solid education isn’t necessary for how to be a successful businessman, it certainly can help open doors and provide critical thinking skills. There are endless resources online for free educational tools that can help you develop an idea of economics, sociology, marketing, and business. 

You can also help yourself by:

  • Reading international news like the Financial Times, BBC, or WSJ.
  • Study the local traditions, habits, and cultures of countries you wish to do business inside.
  • Study abroad as a student and soak in all a country has to offer.
  • Be a mentee to an already established businessman.
  • Network at every opportunity on the local, state, national, and international levels.
  • Join business organizations and fraternities.
  • Obtain a degree in Management, International Relations, Marketing, or a specific field in Business like Accounting or Information Systems. 

The keys to the educational kingdom is an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) from a highly reputable school like Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, Yale, MIT, Thunderbird U, or Bentley. The networks you develop at these schools will last a lifetime and often provide you with countless benefits, but they are not absolutely necessary. 

How Much Does an International Businessman Make?

How to be a good businessman has more to do with your income than the actual industry you are working within. Most businessmen have multiple operations and companies from which they draw income, making it impossible to find out their actual income level.

The general rule of thumb to being financially independent is to have 7-9 streams of income. The same is true for businessmen. Maybe they work as employees at one company but run 2-3 others as owners and have international investments and shipping interests.

The point is the sky is the limit. Your income will define your businessman credential more than your actual role in the companies you own or operate.

How to Succeed with Qualifications in International Business

The degree does not make a good businessman. There are countless threads on message boards and social media about recent business school graduates who cannot find work. Most agree that having a general business management degree does not get you as far as it used to 20-40 years ago.

In today’s world, you need more of a specialty like marketing, accounting, or the law. When you study those subjects through the lens of business, you get a more rewarding experience and, often, a better network of people willing to hire you fresh out of school.

Shifting your mindset goes a long way as well. Being able to step back from a typical business operation and “see the bigger picture” is a skill still high in demand practically anywhere in the world.

Who Are Some Well-Known Businessmen?

We’ve already talked about a few famous businessmen, but if you really want to see the elite, you need to think about asset management. Modern business is all about leveraging different assets for something of value.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and creator of Facebook leverages our public information to sell advertising to anyone willing to pay. That is how he made his millions and grew the company from his dorm room to an international tech juggernaut. The same could be said for the founders of Google, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.

Then you have geniuses like Warren Buffet, who leverage the power of compound interest to reinvest their money over and over again until it becomes incredibly valuable.

A more interesting example is the media mogul Tyler Perry. This actor and comedian leveraged his entertainment income to create a film production company, ownership in BET, and more minor property interests. Many actors now leverage their big paychecks to purchase companies like Ryan Reynolds and his vodka company or George Clooney and his vodka creation.

International businessmen are built on their ability to leverage ideas and value across any border to get a high return on their investment. That is a challenging skill to learn but rewarding if done well.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, your ability to become an international businessman will depend on your grit to overcome significant odds. You will have to learn how to create a team of people that you can count on to fulfill your goals. You’ll have to figure out what products, goods, assets, and services have value from one country to another.

While you do not have to have a formal education, it can help. No matter what, you will need to read many books and keep up to date on current events. International businessmen like Tim Ferris, the famous 4 Hour Workweek writer, always speaks about the daily habits of successful business people he interviews, and almost always, reading is at the top of the list.

The best thing to do is get started right now. Decide on a side hustle or small business idea and get to work. You never know where the next million-dollar idea will come from until you get your hands dirty and put in the effort.

As always, be sure to check back with our blog for the latest insights and answers to popular questions being asked all over the internet. We at HundredFoot even have special sections on money and business that select the best blog posts about finance and changing the business world. Thanks for reading!

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