Big Deal

Come Together

Forming a strong relationship with your foreign partner is essential. Trade consultant Joseph Zodl offers these tips to help you put your best foot forward:


  • consent to a commitment you can't keep. If you won't be able to sell $1 million worth of widgets, don't promise it in the contract.
  • expect the seller to know what you want. Never assume the foreign company understands your expectations.
  • overemphasize the contract. Think business, not legal. Use the contract to lay the groundwork for the relationship.


  • retain a customs broker. An experienced professional will help your foreign shipment meet the applicable regulations.
  • conduct research. If you learn how business is done in a certain country, you can minimize problems.
  • prepare to pay upfront. Most international shipments must be prepaid with a letter of credit.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Big Deal.

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