Americans: Thinking of Moving to Africa to Start Your Dream Business


With the economy becoming ever more globalized, many businesses are starting to consider relocation. Depending on your situation, you may find that another country offers you more benefits than the one you are currently in. Or, perhaps, you are simply looking to another location to your existing business, and would like to do so in another country. Regardless of the reason, if you are looking to start a business in another country, there are a few things that you need to think about before you make the move.

Location, Location, Location

First, you need to pick a location. This goes beyond simply picking a country. Once you have decided on which country you are going to be moving to, you need to pick which area of that country you want your business to reside. Depending on where you move you will incur different challenges and advantages, so you will have to weigh your options.

For example, if your business is going to have a physical location for customers to visit, then you will want to go to an area where you can get a lot of foot traffic. You may find a place that is low-cost, but if it is in the middle of no-where, then your business is not set up for success.

Some other things to take into consideration are local taxes, the demographics of the area, what local transportation is like, and how the local population gets their information. The more you know about the area and its population, the better you will be able to reach them.

You’ll also want to consider the history of your new host country. Clearly some parts of Africa need to be avoided, but also other parts may be far more Western friendly than you would think. And more importantly, the economy has improved, and quality of life has improved.

Employee Costs and Regulations

Beyond business costs, you also have to think about the costs for your employees. What is the standard cost of living for that area? Are you going to be moving there yourself, sending current employees, or hiring people from the area? Make sure that the people who are going to be working there are prepared to live in that environment, both culturally and financially. Your business is not going to succeed if your employees are not happy, so this needs to be a primary concern.

Regarding employment, you not only need to research the necessary documentation for tax rates, you need to consider things like employment status of ex-patriots, termination policies, minor protections, labor protections. For not only your employees, but yourself as the employer; and the best place to start is with various American embassies in the locale you are looking to move to.

Transaction Technology and Currency Issues

Another thing you are going to want to consider is how you are going to handle transactions in this new country. They are going to be using a different currency, and likely different technology, so you are going to need to get up to speed. Most likely you are going to need Point Of Sale equipment that is suitable for that area, along with a way to exchange currency without getting ripped off. While many credit cards are accepted world-wide, you need to have the infrastructure in place to handle those transactions, and you need to be ready if someone is not using a global credit card. You don’t want to miss out on a sale simply because you were unprepared.

Supply Side Logistics

Lastly, if you are going to have a physical store, or if you are going to be shipping out items from your new location, you need to think about inventory. You are going to need to supply your operation, and most likely your current supply system will not work in a new country. This is a vital part of your operation, and some places will be better suited to supply your business than others, so be sure you place a lot of thought into it.

Starting a business in a new country, or moving an existing one, can be a challenge. However if you prepare properly beforehand, then you should be able to pull it off. Use the suggestions listed above when you are planning out where to move to, and hopefully you will be able to find the best situation for you and your business.


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