Local, National or International

When you’re putting together your initial plan for your business – or deciding on the best and most sustainable way you can grow – then you need to think about the scale of the business you’re putting together. Will you look for customers (or clients) at the local level, in the community you live in, across your whole country, or on the world stage? Starting an international business is not as difficult as you might think – tools like Shopify make it surprisingly easy for even a small-scale e-commerce business to market and ship all over the world! Likewise Shiply, a shipping and logistics platform that allows a shipper such as you get your quoted amount from a simple search on the load board.

You need to find the right model to suit both your business type and your own aspirations – even if you can launch a global retail business, it doesn’t mean you want to or should. A lot of this process of deciding the right course of action for your business requires research. Some of this research can be simply looking at other successful businesses and deciding which ones you really want to aspire to, and which aren’t attractive. Others need more specialised help: some preliminary international research from a market research company can help you to understand the likely success of your putative company on the world stage by comparing the projected demand for what you have to offer with the cost of delivering it. Some products, for example, are costly to ship or come with heavy customs duties attached which means you’d have to raise your prices unrealistically to even break even on shipping!

In other cases, the nature of your business can dictate the answer to you. If you’re planning to set up your own hair salon, then you may one day build a big enough brand to expand from a local concern to a national chain, but launching as a global retail business is unlikely to be a successful move, however easy online storefronts might make it!

There is also the question of the resources you are able to command: the bigger base you build for your business, the bigger the initial investment you will need. Opening a single bricks and mortar store requires far less than a retail company with a national reach, even if that retail business has no presence on high streets: a national business means you need storage for your stock on a matching scale. You also need marketing with a country-wide reach, rather than being able to concentrate on a single area.

For many first time entrepreneurs, the most practical achievement plan is to begin your business at a local level, even if that’s to acquire your first few clients and prove your concept works and can be scaled – after that bigger stages await you!