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Business Essentials - Know Before You Go

HSBC Expat Hints & Tips, a crowdsourcing platform aimed especially at those about to move abroad or currently living or working overseas. The new tool gives users the chance to browse and filter the tips from expats for expats by country, expat life stage and topics to create custom-searches.
With over 800 bite size pieces of information, curated from almost 20,000 individual tips from expats who took part in HSBC Expat’s annual Expat Explorer survey over the past five years, as well as from expat bloggers.
The online resource, allows users to browse and filter the tips by country, expat life stage and topics. This functionality helps expats to find the hints and tips that are most relevant to them, whether they’re looking for tips about leisure activities in the UAE, or finding accommodation in Singapore.

Meet the Expat Experts
Whether it is a move abroad, a return home or preparing others to make the move, the expatriate life has its challenges. Meet the expat experts; Nicole, Claire and Angela who have all found out that there are different ways of doing things wherever you go, but have turned those differences to their advantage.
A reported 5.5 million* UK nationals reside abroad and this figure continues to rise steadily. However, although many would agree that living abroad broadens the mind, moving to another country is not without its challenges and adjustments. From immersing yourself into a new community to learning the language and making a living, three Lloyds TSB International customers that know all about moving to another country are using their experiences to advise others.
What initially drew Nicole Gandy, 37, to live in Spain was a desire to enjoy a warmer climate while putting her Spanish language skills to good use. Seven years on and she has launched her company, earlier this year in the Jerez de la Frontera region.
“My business targets local Spanish companies where I go to teach custom designed English courses to their employees. I also provide a translation service for websites, catalogues, leaflets or anything else that the client needs. The business meets a very clear demand for English language training in this area. In general the level of English spoken here is somewhere between very low and non-existent,” Nicole said.
Although the consensus amongst friends and family was that setting up a business this year would be particularly difficult due to the prevailing economic conditions, Nicole’s venture is going from strength to strength. “Learning English is seen as a necessity, not a luxury, and for that reason there will always be a steady flow of clients,” Nicole said. The longer term plans for her business are to initially consolidate her existing client base and establish some long-term regular clients. “In future I would like to expand and open an academy for the public to attend.”
Claire Snowdon, 46, returned to the UK in 2003 following 20 years of living abroad in various diverse locations including; Portugal, Israel, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. Five months ago Claire set up her company delivering relocation and repatriation training and support for anyone intending to work overseas, or planning to return home after an extended time abroad. Claire built her business based upon her own experiences of the adjustments she made whilst moving to various foreign countries. “Simply not knowing the rules of the country you are visiting can be a significant adjustment. For example we have certain rules in the UK that everyone accepts and, as such, go unnoticed. There is a steep learning curve when you arrive in any new country, some steeper than others.”
Using bespoke tools and training Claire aims to make each move, be it business or personal, a success and minimise the negative impact of change. The services offered by her Company include cross-cultural training, online intercultural assessment and coaching, and expatriate know-how for over 55 countries geared toward ensuring that everyone – whether employer, expatriate or family member – is fully briefed and as well prepared as they can be for what lies ahead.
“Business is slow as I am a start-up and have only been out there marketing since the end of August. I am currently building my company profile and potential customer base. I believe that having exposure to the world makes you more knowledgeable and diverse in your outlook. Because of this I am passionate and know that the services I offer are essential and so I believe that I can build a larger customer base by 2010.”

Claire’s long-term plans include building a sustainable and viable cross-cultural and intercultural training and coaching business, adding an e-commerce area to her website selling quality travel essentials which are recommended and used by herself – to writing articles and raising her profile in the cross-cultural field, in addition to writing a book about her expat experiences.
Angela Milligan, 62, has been running cultural awareness courses since 1991 and is often contacted by large organisations all over the world to conduct training and work directly with families to help them prepare for a move abroad, something that can of course be a huge upheaval.
“I have travelled to France, Luxembourg and Germany in recent times. The courses are designed for single people, couples and families – as all have different challenges in moving abroad and therefore different types of training apply. Each has a specifically tailored programme.”
“Business has been a lot tighter in recent years – there are simply less secondments being handed out. Sending an entire family abroad is a huge cost, even for a multi-national and budgets for secondments have been scrutinised and squeezed just like any others. The difficulty is that individuals must maintain the standard of living they are accustomed to in the UK. So in Japan the company has to stretch to a Western-style apartment, as a standard Japanese apartment does not afford the same level of living space.”
With the Lloyds TSB International Bonus Saver Account (IBSA) Expatriates can enjoy an attractive way of boosting their savings while enjoying the flexibility of withdrawing and depositing at any time. Lloyds TSB International Product Manager Mark Spagnoli says that Nicole, Claire and Angela represent just a small cross-section of the bank’s diverse international customer base. For more information, visit: www.lloydstsb-offshore.com/international/savings/bonus-saver

Executive Traveller 2003