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Emigrating and Starting a Business: Do I Have to Start from Scratch?

The experience of emigrating to another country can generate fears, doubts, and questions for those who leave behind a successful professional career, an established business, or special skills acquired through a hobby. Often, we wonder if we need to start from scratch when arriving at a new destination, as is the case for those who have emigrated to the United States. Although much has been written on this topic, the question continues to resonate in our minds: "Do I have to start from scratch?"

There are various opinions on the matter, but we personally align with the idea that we do not start from scratch. When emigrating, we carry with us a background, knowledge, and skills that are part of our capital to invest in the new country. However, it is important to note that, in most cases, our resume will be blank in the new place, as few people know us, and we must demonstrate our abilities to perform a job, solve needs, or be part of projects through concrete actions.

When starting in a new country, it is common to be unsure how to properly apply what we know from our home country in the new environment. We may not know the laws regulating the field, the best business practices in the sector, the market in which we want to operate, the costs, and the prices, among other important aspects. Additionally, building a network of contacts (networking) is essential, but upon arrival, this network is often limited. This last aspect is a key to success.

In summary, we do not start from scratch, but we need to fill our resume with positive actions and achievements. We must show that we are reliable and necessary and have an in-depth understanding of the area in which we wish to start a business. Although we have extensive knowledge from our home country, we do not fully understand what it takes to carry out that activity in the new country.

With these premises in mind and a spirit of service to others, we want to offer some recommendations to entrepreneurs who wish to continue developing their skills in this wonderful country that offers countless opportunities for those who focus on doing things well.

One valid option, if you want to continue developing your career in a specific area, could be to work for a company that offers similar services in the new country. This experience will allow you to understand the business from the inside and, most importantly, learn how it is practiced in this place. You will be able to evaluate the market, best business practices, complementary services that may not be offered in your home country, the communication strategy used to reach potential customers, customer service policies, suppliers, products, and other relevant aspects. This option is ideal when you do not have significant capital to invest, as it allows you to progress gradually and jump into the market when you feel prepared.

On the other hand, if you have capital and want to shorten the time frame, we recommend seeking specialized advice to minimize risks and avoid common mistakes in starting a business, especially in a different market from the one you know. We firmly believe in the importance of creating a multidisciplinary team of advisors to help you establish the legal, operational, and financial framework necessary to steer your business toward success as quickly as possible. During the stage of understanding the market, it is important to receive appropriate advice, as it is constantly changing due to different seasons, holidays, customs, and other factors that should be considered in your business plan.

In addition to the above, two fundamental aspects for success in any country to which you emigrate are your ability to adapt and your resilience. Understanding success not as an end, nor as a path, but as a duty to yourself and for the well-being of your family.

Many times, those who emigrate want to continue doing things as they did in their home country, without respecting the laws, customs, local etiquette norms, or best business and credit practices, forgetting that they left their home country because things were not working well for the same reasons. It is important to understand that many things do not work the same way everywhere, and the lack of adaptation can cause problems integrating into the new society. Learning the language, no matter how difficult it seems, respecting the rules of coexistence, paying your taxes, and generating a network of personal and business contacts are strategies that can yield good results in the short term.

Regarding resilience, many have developed the habit of believing that things are built overnight. However, in most developed countries, things take time and require consistency. Here, a seed is planted, watered, and cared for to later reap the fruits. The good news is that, in a country full of opportunities, the harvest will be proportional to the sowing. In other words, if you sow properly, focus on doing things well, with respect, hard work, honesty, efficiency, and responsibility, and time will work miracles; positive results will come. It is crucial to remember that this country is not designed for people with poor work habits, bad financial habits, dishonesty, or lack of respect for the laws. Those who follow the philosophy of "we'll see as we go" often struggle to adapt and thrive.

In conclusion, if you want to start a business in something you are good at, consider the advice we have shared with you. Additionally, seek the support of experts, such as a good lawyer, a marketing and sales advisor with experience in your market, and a business advisor to help you build and implement your business plan. Join chambers and networking groups, like the one regularly organized by El Venezolano Houston newspaper, where we have had the opportunity to participate and meet extraordinary people with a great spirit of service and experience in their respective areas. Remember that, with dedication and effort, you can achieve your goals and contribute to your family's well-being and your development. Starting a business in a new country can be challenging, but it can also be exciting and full of opportunities.

We close with this quote from Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."

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