Former hospital administrator Juli Goff wanted to live in Latin America, so she opened a language school for health professionals in La Paz, Mexico. Dueñas applied her fluency in Spanish and experience with Mexican culture to help others make a move to that country.

Research your location thoroughly. A successful U.S. sandwich franchise bombed in Guadalajara because locals like bread crunchy, not soft. Don't miss such details.

Realize, too, that there may be good reasons locals do things differently. The way you recruit workers, for example, is likely to be vastly different for a variety of reasons, warns Khanna, as is the way those workers behave once hired. Candace Chandra, president of an Italy-based environmental services firm, adjusts her management approaches to accommodate her workers' different cultural backgrounds.

And don't even think about starting a business somewhere without visiting first - preferably for an extended time. This will help you clue in to things like crunchy versus soft bread.

Learn the language - but don't stop there. Even in countries where English is official, you'll run into cultural differences that you'll need to understand. Robert Cohen, advisor and founder of Doing Business In Canada, says people can tell if a company is truly committed to the market or just trying to make a fast buck, and they'll eschew the latter.