For some businesses, the question of where their startup should have its headquarters centers on one town or another. Some businesses have the luxury of choosing between states. And still other startups, for whatever reason, are considering relocating their business to an entirely different country.
The biggest reason that a company might be considering moving to a different country: there are some countries struggling to build their entrepreneurial ecosystem, and they will pay a business to relocate.
But before you start packing boxes and doing online applications, think through the implications. Will your business survive in another country as well as it does in the United States? Here are some factors to weigh.
Research rules and regulations
Every country has a different set of rules and regulations which govern how a business will operate. Just because something works in the United States does not mean that it will be legal and acceptable in Japan, Chile, or Ireland. Before considering whether or not you should relocate your business, consider whether or not you can.
One source of information can be the Internet; the International Labour Organization, for example, can give entrepreneurs a great deal of information about hiring workers in other countries. Through websites, businesspeople can also connect with employers in their field within other countries and ask questions about how the business world works across international boundaries.
If you plan to continue to sell products within the United States, you should also learn about what tax penalties could be applied to your business.
Actual cost of moving
Of course the actual cost of moving needs to be factored into the decision to relocate your company. Depending on the anticipated revenue benefits of your business in its new home, the government of your new country might be willing to assist you with some of those costs, but if moving your business will cost double what the country will give you, that needs to be factored into your decision and planned for.
You also need to consider the cost in terms of trust with your current clients. The climate in the United States is such that businesses which move out of the country are often not looked upon favorably. If you intend to continue to sell to your current clients, you need to have a persuasive argument for why your startup needs to be relocated outside American borders.
Whether or not your business makes the decision to move outside of the United States, make sure to do your research before you make any definitive announcements. Consider the financial pros and cons, and weigh whether an expansion might be a better decision than a formal relocation. By expanding into another country, you might be able to retain many of your current benefits and clients, while opening up a new market.
Ultimately, make sure to talk to many experts in both your current country and the one you’d like to move to, to make sure that you understand what you’re choosing to do.
Consider language barriers
Another factor to consider is language barriers. Even if you’re considering moving to another country where a high percentage of the population speaks English, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of other languages spoken in the country. And make sure to learn the right dialect of the language. Chile is a Spanish speaking country, for example, but the Spanish that is spoken there is very distinct from the Castilian Spanish that many people learned in school.
And even if you’re moving to a country that basically speaks English, such as Ireland, it’s still a good idea to spend time familiarizing yourself with local dialect, slang, and turns of phrase. Before you consider moving your business to a new country, consider a long vacation there, where you can learn more about the culture, and think about how well your business might fit into the existing entrepreneurial ecosphere.
Ponder marketing strategies
Because cultures are different all around the world, selling products in the United States is different than selling products in other countries. Marketing efforts are different because the audience is necessarily different. If you don’t understand the local culture, you will struggle to understand how to market to them.
Even if you plan on bringing your entire team with you to your new country headquarters, it might be a good idea to plan on hiring a local expert to work with your marketing team. Study local businesses which are experiencing success, and understand how their marketing works. Even if you have a great idea to shake things up, it’s often a good idea to establish yourself first, just in case your great idea hits wide of the mark.
What would it take for you to move your business to another country?