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: