I've lived in 7 countries; and believe I have a good opportunity/client-base in two of these locations; my unique niche I have is being able to translate both language & business relations between these two places. My dilemma is where to base myself? Obviously as a lean start-up, this would affect the team I work with, the clients I'm able to meet face to face, traveling costs etc. I can't quite make a decision and was wondering what would be a good few indicators to base my business decision on.
Please realize that my suggestion would be slightly different if I knew which two countries. However, without knowing that here's what I'd suggestion:
1. Since you're just getting started figure out which country provides the best legal benefits for starting a company. This should include tax benefits, legal protection, and ease when it comes to filing paperwork (incorporating, managing payroll, taxes, etc.). This will undoubtedly save you time and money moving forward, and staying lean.
2. Once you've established your home base country, you'll still need to hire people in the other country as you scale. You may want to think about using a service like oDesk or Elance, not necessarily to recruit people but to manage ALL the paperwork associated with hiring international people. They will of course be given contract status.
If you are going to be providing employees equity then I'd suggest consulting a lawyer for how people in the non-home base country will be treated.
3. Reporting revenue. You need to be very careful about whether you are providing goods and services. If it's goods keep in mind that you might be subject to tariffs. If you're providing services then I think you might be in the clear, but please double check. Finally, some countries might have an issue with where the revenue was actually made i.e. are you sitting in your office in your home based country while servicing clients in the non-home base country, or are you actually in the non-home base country.
4. No matter what you'll need to setup a remote working environment for yourself. Invest in the best technology you can, and find clients who are willing to utilize your services on a remote basis.
Here are a few additional posts on running a remote team that I've written:
Starting a business is difficult, mostrly because mos startups fail to get paying customers. When choosing where to start your business, choose the place where it is easier for you to reach your early adopters and be close to them.
Once you ger your business rolling with your early adopter showing traction, then you go to the other country.
It is very important to habe focus in one place at a time.
Hope it helps!
I did this...spent 1 yr in one, 1 in the other but they were next door. Go where they are going to get your biz faster first. For me it was NYC, build some traction then go to the other....just keep your presence in both alive via address or whatever. You can do way more than you think remotely so don't let that stop you. Oh and knowroaming.com ....you're going to need one of these to do that lol:)
Starting up in two countries can yield great legal benefits from a U.S. immigration perspective. Locating in multiple countries can be very useful for moving founders and employees to the U.S. later on. There are particular visa types designed to facilitate the movement of transfers between branches of a company, as well as visa targeted at assisting the movement of employees of particular foreign nationalities if the US company is owned by a foreign company or foreign individual.
I would be happy to discuss the strengths of locating in particular countries and specific corporate structuring from a US immigration perspective.
Agree with Mijael Feldman Sabah, don't do it. Focus on one country first. Even if you are very rich, and you can cover investments in both countries, the traction will be much faster if you focus on one market. Your resources will also get a better ROI if you can focus.
Selecting one market over the other should depend on your business model and where it has the highest chances to succeed - for that, you might be interested in Customer Seduction, a simple yet proven business model course I've created on serenademaio.com
It is a usual situation that one market is a role model for the other one. So instead of doing 2 starts at a time it could be better to start on the market which is the assured model one. The secondary market will be served easily then.