Any advice on starting up small businesses in two countries at the same time?

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:

Answered 11 years ago


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!

Answered 11 years ago

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're going to need one of these to do that lol:)

Answered 11 years ago


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.

Answered 11 years ago

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
Good luck!

Answered 8 years ago

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.

Answered 5 years ago

Starting a business is not your concern as I can see in your question, you want to know the specific country where you can base yourself and stay profitable. So, let us look at best countries to do business. As someone who is looking to make business investments in other countries, let us take a quick look at some of the most important economic indicators that should guide your hand in that venture:
1. Gross Domestic Product: representing the market value of all final services and goods produced within any country in a given period of time, a country’s GDP is important because it tells you about how the economy is performing as well as its size. If a country has a growing GDP and inflation is not particularly an issue, then businesses within that country are generally better for it.
2. Consumer Price Index: measuring changes in the prices of typical consumer services and goods purchased by households in a country, CPI is often used as a gauge for inflation. Inflation can negatively or positively affect a country’s currency, which in turn will determine just how expensive it is for you to invest in said country.
3. PMI Manufacturing and Services: this is simply an indicator of how healthy the manufacturing sector of a country is during a specific period. Knowing the PMI of a country will tell you how well or poorly businesses are doing and why.
4. Employment Indicators: this is perhaps the most important indicator to watch. How productive and wealthy a nation’s citizens are directly determining how much money they must spend on goods and services. If unemployment rates go up, these citizens will have less disposable income and as such consumer spending will go down which in turn will hurt the GDP as well as overall economic growth prospects of the said country; this is bad for business.
5. Central Bank Minutes: a country’s central bank directly determines the financial policies that will govern its economy for a financial year. Listening to what is uttered by central bankers or reading the formal central bank minutes releases will give you clues as to the future policy actions that will affect businesses directly.
Ten Best Countries are as follows:
i. GDP Growth: 1.8%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $39,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 89%
iv. Population: 66M
v. Unemployment: 4.9%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: -4.4%
vii. Inflation: 0.7%

This country topped Forbes’ 2018 list of top countries to do business in. They say numbers do not lie and as things stand, the United Kingdom, despite all that Brexit uncertainty, remains one of the best countries in which to start a business.
But apart from the beautiful economic indicator figures, other factors come into play; factors that propel the United Kingdom to the top. These include:
i. Ease of incorporating a company: In the UK, this can be done within an hour and will cost you £14 or about $20.
ii. Tax benefits: The British government offers various tax-related benefits for founders, investors, and even employees that make the country quite attractive from a financial point of view.
iii. Additionally, the UK has one of the lowest corporate tax rates among the G20 countries and as such is quite attractive to business investors

i. GDP Growth: 2%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $56,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 113%
iv. Population: 5.6M
v. Unemployment: 2.1%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: 19%
vii. Inflation: -0.5%
According to the World Bank, Singapore presents one of the healthiest environments to start a business. Apart from the excellent economic indicator figures shared above, the country also has the following going for it:
i. It is politically stable
ii. It is one of the wealthiest in the world meaning the populace has a lot of disposable income
iii. It has a strong labour force
iv. It does not impose any dividend or capital gains taxes
v. It has many free trade agreements that open huge markets
vi. You can easily register and start your business online
Singapore also offers affordable airfare to her neighbouring countries. This means that, as a business owner, you will have affordable access to other exploratory markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia.
i. GDP Growth: 1.1%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $75,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 36%
iv. Population: 5.3M
v. Unemployment: 4.7%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: 5%
vii. Inflation: 3.6%
One of the best things about Norway is that communication with the government can reliably be done online. You can easily register a company, and you will also find that complying with tax laws in this country is a rather straightforward process.
Another added advantage of starting a business in Norway is the fact that they are a highly technologically advanced nation with a majority of Norwegians very willing to adapt, as well as pay, for new technology.
This means that you will easily find highly skilled labor especially in the fields of IT, design, finance and music technology.
Other things that make this nation one of the best for doing business include:
i. The populace is generally wealthy meaning they have a lot of disposable income
ii. It is politically very stable
iii. It has a well-developed communication and transport infrastructure
iv. It is a big player in the EU and has long-standing trade ties with other EU nations
Norway is a very transparent country and has minimal levels of corruption. For these reasons, Norway makes an extremely attractive option for any straightforward business investor looking to build an honest business.
i. GDP Growth: 3.6%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $44,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 33%
iv. Population: 4.8M
v. Unemployment: 5.1%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: -2.8%
vii. Inflation: 0.6%

Apart from the economic indicator figures given above, several other advantages make this nation an attractive destination for businesses:

i. It has a skilled labour force that is not too expensive
ii. There is no payroll, capital gains or social security taxes involved
iii. Incorporating a business takes a day while registering a property could take as little as two days
It also has a wealth of information readily available online through Statistics New Zealand that can help you run thorough research into whatever industry you would like to invest in. This immediately gives you an added advantage as you will get to learn about the culture, spending habits of the population and how well businesses in your niche are doing.
5. HONG KONG (Conditions might change due to the imposition of National Security Law by China)
i. GDP Growth: 2%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $46,000
iii. Population: 7.4M
iv. Trade Balance/GDP: 4.6%
v. Unemployment: 2.7%
vi. Inflation: 2.6%

Hong Kong’s economy has been growing steadily for the past few decades which is indicative of the practical and economically sound business policies being enacted by the region. As a free market economy, Hong Kong is highly dependent on international finance and trade
It has a highly educated workforce and a brilliantly designed and constructed transport and communication infrastructure. Hong Kong’s economy has been doing so well that it has even established itself as the go-to stock market for Chinese companies that want to trade abroad. On the other hand, because Hong Kong has limited natural resources, it imports almost everything from food to raw materials. This might sound a bit discouraging to budding industry titans but remember that Hong Kong imposes no tariffs on imported goods save for four: hydrocarbon oil, hard alcohol, methyl alcohol, and tobacco.
i. GDP Growth: 2.3%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $8,500
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 50%
iv. Population: 129M
v. Unemployment: 3.9%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: -2.2%
vii. Inflation: 2.8%

Considering the high crime rate in many parts of Mexico, not very many investors would immediately jump onto the idea of starting a business there. However, despite these challenges, Mexico still presents one of the best possible destinations in which to start a business. This is mostly thanks to the extensive business registration reforms that have taken place in the country. These reforms have largely led to the increased registration of businesses overall. It is now much easier to register and start a business in Mexico. It only takes about eight days to have your business up and legally running in the country. Couple that with the fact that it has a ready and willing labour force that is considered affordable when compared to other countries in this list and you have Mexico as a wonderful destination overall. It also has free trade agreements with 46 different nations thus opening enormous potential markets for any investors willing to take part in the large manufacturing-oriented economy.
i. GDP Growth: 1.4%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $80,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 33%
iv. Population: 8.5M
v. Unemployment: 3.3%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: 10.5%
vii. Inflation: -0.4%
With an unemployment rate of only 3.3%, a burgeoning economy and a notoriously stable political climate, Switzerland is without a doubt one of the best countries in the world for really anything except the tropical weather.
It has a highly skilled workforce that is ready and willing to work. The country benefits from a highly developed service sector plus a manufacturing industry that has specialized in high-technology and knowledge-based production. It also has one of the world’s most sophisticated financial sectors which makes it perfect for safe, calculated, and steady investment.
Apart from the excellent numbers indicating economic growth and prowess, Switzerland also has other factors that make it an attractive destination for starting a business. These include:
i. A very transparent legal system that is easy to navigate
ii. Consistent economic and political stability
iii. Low corporate taxes
iv. Efficient capital markets
v. Exceptional communication and transport infrastructure
Plus, it is a trusted and valued member of the EU which opens some of Europe’s most advanced and gigantic markets for investors.
i. GDP Growth: 1.5%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $43,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 99%
iv. Population: 37M
v. Unemployment: 7%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: -3.3%
vii. Inflation: 1.4%
Even though the Great White North has high living standards, the country has made impressive gains when it comes to its manufacturing, service, and mining sectors. These gains have greatly helped to transform the nation from a largely rural economy into one that is primarily urban and industrialized. It also has a huge oil and natural gas sector ranking it third in the world in oil reserves behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Canada enjoys extremely balanced bilateral trade with the US which opens a huge market for business investors looking to tap into the US through Canada.
The country has a very stable political climate, excellent health care, and a substantially skilled labour force. All of these make it a lucrative destination for business investors looking to take advantage of the service or industrial sector.
i. GDP Growth: 5.1%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $69,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 73%
iv. Population: 4.8M
v. Unemployment: 7.9%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: 3.3%
vii. Inflation: -0.2%
This small, trade-dependent nation has a strong economy that has gone through the ringer in recent times but has come out stronger for it. After officially exiting the EU-IMF bailout program that saw Ireland stabilize its economy through the economic crisis of 2007, the country has seen rapid economic growth. As such, the government has increased public spending and drastically lowered some taxes which is good news for business owners.
Since the collapse of the construction sector (thanks to the same economic crisis) Ireland has become increasingly dependent on exports for economic growth. This makes it one of the best destinations for any business owner looking to set up a manufacturing company geared towards export-goods production.
The country has a sizeable labour force despite its relatively small size; is experiencing an unprecedented period of economic growth (with GDP exceeding 26% growth in 2015) and is politically very stable.

i. GDP Growth: 1.9%
ii. Per-Capita GDP: $43,000
iii. Public Debt/GDP: 68%
iv. Population: 83M
v. Unemployment: 4.2%
vi. Trade Balance/GDP: 8.3%
vii. Inflation: 0.4%
As one of the largest economies in the world and Europe’s largest, Germany is a wonderful investment destination and a leading exporter of vehicles, machinery, household equipment, and chemicals.
But the biggest selling point for this country is that it has a huge, highly skilled and highly-educated labour force. Although this labour force is not as affordable as is the case in many countries on this list, there are many positives Germany offers. But despite all that, the economy suffers from low levels of investment which makes it a ready and ripe market for foreign investors willing to take on the wages commanded by the available labour force.
As a member of the EU, Germany enjoys strict standards of manufacturing and production. Starting a business there will not only give you a chance to exploit the largely well-funded markets in the EU, but it will also give you an opportunity to raise your standards of production. Standardized across the board, this will give your brand a highly competitive edge in the global market.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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