When starting up a business and coming up with a plan of attack, there are numerous factors you have to take into account. Many of these have a dollar figure involved, such as operating costs, manufacturing, design, website upkeep, and so on and so forth. But there’s one factor that I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t take into account. For some, it’s simply because it never really comes up. Their business dictates their actions with no other consideration on their part. But for others, they simply never think of it, but that can end up being a critical mistake.
You see, when people such as yourselves are starting up a business, they’re often focused almost entirely on the what, how, and why. But another factor to keep in mind, is where. Where are you going to start your business? What’s your target area? Who are you marketing to? These are all critical to success, and can inform some very key business decisions. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say your golden idea involves opening a retail store. Entrepreneurs the world over do this all the time. It’s one of the most common DIY businesses going. Where are you going to open it? Your hometown is a good choice, assuming you live somewhere where there’s a market for what you’re selling. Since your business is (for the time being) centralized to a single location, there are numerous steps you don’t have to bother taking. A website and social media presence is universally key, but you won’t have to do things like say….translate your website into other languages. You won’t have to take out advertising space that targets other cities. Everything is very central, very localized, and that’s what you should be focusing on as you grow your business.
Now take that idea of a retail store, but apply it to the Internet instead. You want to open an online store, in the same vein as Amazon. You have to consider where your products are going to be ordered from. Do you want people the world over ordering from your site? That means potential product localization, site translations, currency exchanges, accounts with courier services, marketing in multiple language across multiple countries, and enough quality assurance to make sure it all comes together. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with import/export laws in all the countries you’ll be shipping to, to make sure everything’s on the up and up. It’s a lot to think about, and a lot more work. It may be prudent to, for the time being, choose to only market to certain countries (say, North America), and then grow outwards from there.
While the retail example is somewhat specific, the same basic ideas apply to any business. For many of you, the nature of your business will automatically dictate the area you intend to hit. Your battleground is chosen for you. However, for others, you will have to think long and hard about what geographical location you intend to target. Localization of your products and services can be a hugely expensive endeavor, and it may be prudent to wait until your business is up, on its feet, and seeing some growth before taking that step.