major forms of international business activity.

major forms of international business activity. Beyond cultural and legal concerns, companies that plan to go international also need to think carefully about the right organizational approach to support these activities. The five common forms of international business are importing and exporting, licensing, franchising, strategic alliances and joint ventures, and foreign direct investment; each has varying degrees of ownership, financial commitment, and risk.

Depending on their goals and resources and the opportunities available, companies can choose from five different ways to conduct business internationally.

Many countries now have foreign trade offices to help importers and exporters interested in doing business within their borders. Other helpful resources include professional agents, local businesspeople, and the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce (http://export.gov), which offers a variety of services, including political and credit-risk analysis, advice on entering foreign markets, and financing tips