3 Tips for Fostering a Bilingual Business
We live in an interconnected world and to be a successful businessperson in the modern age, more than one language is required. The norm is globalization: more business, more communication, and more transactions across borders. If you are considering making your company more global-friendly, read on to discover how to keep your business (and yourself as an employee/employer) on the cutting edge of the world’s interconnected web through bilingualism.
1. Define which language matters to you.
When it comes to becoming a bilingual business, you first have to identify which languages would benefit your type of company the most. English may be the prominent language of business, but in many cases you won’t get very far if you employ only English speakers. Studies show that the four languages business should be using (in addition to English) are: Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Mandarin. But, there are specifics depending on your region or audience. For example, if you work in the medical or educational sectors, especially in the United States, Spanish should be your main focus.With 35 million Spanish speakers in the US alone, it’s easy to see why that’s the case.
2. Hire the right people.
It can be tempting to hire that English speaker with the Ivy League education and years of experience under his or her belt, but if you want to make your company truly international you’ll have to cast your net a bit wider when it comes to hiring. Put up ads on recruitment sites specifying exactly what you’re looking for. And don’t discredit the tried-and-true method of newspaper ads: find bilingual or foreign language newspapers in your area to place an ad, and you’ll streamline your search for the perfect employee.
3. Decide where your business will be going next.
If you’re striving to make your business a bilingual one, then you are most likely wanting to expand overseas, and outside your home country. Before jumping the gun and going on a bilingual hiring rampage, do your research. Look to where you want to do business and curtail your hiring and expansion methods based on the market in those countries. For example, if you want to enter Brazil’s fast-paced economy, then Portuguese is the language for you. Or perhaps you plan on being in frequent contact with China: then Mandarin is, obviously, your best bet. Either way, carefully define your goals and where you envision your company before going bilingual.
These days, two-thirds of company executives speak at least two languages. And in order to keep up with the diverse and competitive demands of the business world, you’ll not only have to create a bilingual business, but become bilingual yourself as well. Doing so doesn’t have to be a pain, you can take a free online placement test to get your level just right before you sign up for some top-tier language classes. So whether doing business in Brazil, or working with Spanish speakers in the US, managing a bilingual company will set you apart from the pack and make you all the more ready to tackle our global melting pot.