If lucrative business opportunities beckon to you from some place like Abu Dhabi, there is a wide range of services and publications to help you avoid committing social gaffes, contracting exotic diseases, or resorting to sign language in restaurants.
For those planning an extended stay abroad, cross-cultural training has beccme increasingly popular. Moran, Stahl & Boyer Inc., a New York City-based management consulting firm, has an international division in Boulder, Colo., that specializes in familiarizing expatriates-to-be with the business practices, customs, and life-styles they will encounter abroad. Michael F. Tucker, vice-president of the division, says the private sector is now acknowledging that cross-cultural training is "as essential as a briefing on foreign taxes." An unhappy employee who returns home before completing his tour of duty, he says, can cost a company two and a half times the employee's base salary.
The salary itself usually needs to be adjusted to the locale, as well. International Transfers, an annual compendium of information on the cost of living and doing business in key cities in Europe and the Middle East, can help determine those adjustments. International Transfers lists representative prices such as the average salary of a bilingual secretary or the price of a liter of Johnnie Walker Black Scotch in 26 cities. It is published in Belgium and available in this country through Meidinger International Services in Philadelphia. Companies enter ing international markets for the first time may also want to consult Washing ton's Best Kept Secrets: A U.S. Government Guide to International Busines, (John Wiley & Sons), a guide through the labyrinth of government programs available to people doing business abroad.
To insure a healthy, as well as profitable, venture overseas, before stepping on the plane, it might be a good idea to call Worldwide Health Forecast, a toll-free hotline (800-368-3531) that reports on epidemics and noteworthy health developments from around the world. The service is provided by HealthCare Abroad, a Washington, D.C., company that also sells travelers' insurance.
For travelers on a medically prescribed diet, Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pa., has come up with The Special Diet Foreign Phrase Book, serving up questions like, "Which dishes on the menu are salt-free?" in Spanish, German, French, and Italian.
And wherever you may roam, Wanderers' Mail Service will find you. The 75-year-old Seattle company will forward your mail overseas, take telephone messages 24 hours a day, and provide Telex service.
DONNA FENN | Inc.com Contributing Editor
Donna Fenn is the author of Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.