How to Choose the Right Location for Your Business Abroad
No law, rule, or decree states that a business should be solely relegated to its owner’s home country. Businesses can transcend boundaries, borders, and territories. This is especially true in this day and age when the world has become more interconnected than ever before. You can open up a branch of your business in a foreign company or even pack up your back and relocate elsewhere to start a business with the help of an immigration lawyer.
Of course, you’ll need to consider the logistics of whatever approach you choose and one of the toughest decisions would be picking a location for your business.
The location you choose for your business plays a large-scale role in attracting and retaining employees and customers. A good location decision can greatly enhance the long-term performance of a business, while a poor decision can cost millions in lost talent and productivity.
If you currently reside in a foreign country, and one of your goals is to have a business within its shores, then here are the most important things to note before choosing a location.
If you are in a different country where you wish to start a business, one of the first issues to put in mind is the demographics of that location. If you have an in-built demographic profile of your target customers, this makes your decision so much easier.
Now you can take a cursory look at the location you are considering, and ask these pivotal questions: Does a significant amount of that population fit the customer profile to support and sustain your business? Does the community have a reliable economic base? Is it capable of giving you the skills and talents your business requires for its workforce?
If the answer to all three questions is yes, congratulations! You are one step closer to finding the perfect location. If not, you might want to consider somewhere else.
Analyze Your Competition
Depending on what kind of business you want to start, analyze the competition around you before deciding on a location. If for instance, you want to start a Chinese restaurant but there is already one with a heavy monopoly in your desired locale, you might not want to pitch your tent there.
A nearby competitor with a stronghold on the local market might just make your marketing job tougher.
Conduct Thorough Research
Almost every location has some sort of business or commercial history. How has it evolved over the years? What were the experiences of previous businesses? Most importantly, is the area welcoming to foreigners?
If for instance, you’re contemplating opening a dry-cleaning business where two or more dry-cleaning businesses have failed, you might be commencing with a mountainous disadvantage or advantage depending on whether or not the problem was with the business owners or the location itself.
You may have probably found a good location that ticks all the boxes for you, but what about the building’s infrastructure? A lot of old buildings are not equipped to accommodate the high-tech needs of modernized operations.
Find out how old buildings you’re considering for your business are, and if they have adequate electrical, air conditioning, and telecommunications services to meet your needs. It’s best to hire an independent engineer to investigate the buildings so that you can have a professional and realistic evaluation.
Starting a business abroad is particularly daunting on the regulations side of things. For instance, you can’t work on a visitor’s visa but you can do so if you’re on an HPI visa UK.
When operating a business in a foreign country, there are many aspects to consider. Whatever location you have in mind, definitely has laws on taxation, local labor laws regulating the hours employees work, social costs and so much more. It is necessary to visit government offices at the community level, to understand these things better so that you’re not in danger of violating them.
It is also necessary to analyze them so that they don’t become restrictive burdens for your business venture. It’s natural for many business owners to crave flexibility and autonomy to make profitable decisions in favor of their target market. This is extremely crucial when starting in a new location.
In other words, you have to make sure your business is lawfully protected, while you maintain the freedom to run it in your favor. Consider how business-friendly the location is through these factors:
- Clarity of the local government on permits and taxes
- IP protection
- Liberal labor laws
- Independent personnel management
Are you going to have a formal business or an elegant one? Or would it be laidback or casual? The location has to match the style and image you want to project. For instance, you can’t launch a men’s fashion boutique in an area mostly dominated by retired folks.
How accessible is your location? Running a business means you’ll likely have daily operations with customers, your personnel, and suppliers. Is the facility or the building accessible to cars? Will it be on a busy street? What about those who have certain disabilities?
How fast will your supplier be able to find you? Will you be using small package couriers? Or big freight trucks? Will the building be accessible during weekends and public holidays?
Do you need spare keys for the exterior doors? Is there ample parking space for both your clients and employees? These are just a handful of questions you need to answer about accessibility before making your final decision.
Starting a business in a foreign country might seem like a challenging task especially when it comes to picking the perfect location, but it doesn’t have to be.
Ultimately, you want to take your business to an area that can lead you to the easiest path to business prosperity, with minimal risks. Keep these factors in mind, and you will begin to thrive and soar as an entrepreneur in a foreign land.