5 Startup Ideas for Expats Abroad

7 August 2014

 

Photo: Cristian Eslava

There are many opportunities that open up once you start living abroad. You may have started out as an expat employee or even as an intern, but living abroad can help widen your perspective about your career and your life.

 

There are many reasons why venturing on a startup business while you’re living abroad can be a good thing, for example, finding cheap local talent can help you and your service or product be a little more diverse and you will have a wider reach in terms of partnerships and opportunities due to your global experience. Franchising can also be a good way to start your business with enough backing from the big guys in the industry you want to pursue. To get you started, here are 5 startup ideas for expats overseas.

 

1. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing)

Photo: Richard Blank

1. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing)

The BPO industry is a thriving industry among global companies particularly around Asia and Eastern Europe. BPOs relies heavily on manpower, so there is an advantage in starting up a BPO as an expat, because you have knowledge about the local talent in your host country, as well as an international vantage point. BPOs can be a simple call centre for local businesses in your host country or it can be as big as a web development or software development team for big clients. If you would rather start with a big name on your door, you can also reach out to BPO giants that offer franchise opportunities.

 

The key to a BPO startup in your host country is to know the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the local talents, so that you may know what type of businesses you can promote to outsource for your future clients.

 

2. Social e-Commerce

Photo: witflow

2. Social e-Commerce

Social e-Commerce is basically the selling or retailing of product, goods and services through electronic media (social media). E-commerce can cover retailing of items such as books, DVDs, clothes, shoes etc., as well as services such as food and flower delivery, advertising, auctions and travel assistance. Social e-Commerce also has a lot of franchise startup opportunities. Merry Maids is a good e-commerce service company that offers franchising startups abroad with franchise opertaions in the US, UK, Australia and even all over Asia.

 

As an expat, not only will you have good knowledge about the local talent, but you will also get a good look at the local market. You will have a better understanding of things that will work in a different culture, as well as having a view of the market from your home country. You get a wider range of ideas and a wider reach for partnership opportunities as well. You may have a bit of an edge for global partnerships just by having a much diverse perspective and approach about your business.

 

3. Software Development

Photo: Heisenberg Media

3. Software Development

Software development can be a very lucrative startup business in your host country if you have the right background and team for it. This can also be a part of a BPO or a specialty BPO company— if you want to ensure clients that your focus is for software development. First of all, you have to gauge the local talent if they have an apt for software development. As of the moment, countries in Eastern Europe such as Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia, and countries in Asia such as China and India are the world leaders when it comes to software development and software development outsourcing. Companies like Focus4IT and many other companies also have good franchise opportunities if you decide to go in the franchise direction for your startup.

 

An expat’s good advantage when it comes to a startup software development companies, is the assessment of needs from different cultural and social point of view. You may also have cheaper labour costs and good local talent if you launch this startup business overseas.

 

4. Local Expat Consultancy Firm

Photo: plantoo47

4. Local Expat Consultancy Firm

Maybe the act of setting up a startup business can already be your startup business. Consultancy firms have been quite trendy in recent years, especially with global businesses, which can help if you want to tap into global consultancy firms. If you are an expat who is familiar with setting up a business or hiring foreign and local employees in your host country, then you can start a firm with the right mix of local and foreign talents that can help you organize and setup new businesses for foreign investors looking to enter your host country’s market.

 

The important key in opening a consultancy firm is the legitimacy of your information. If you're not too confident with your own team or getting your own startup, you can opt for a business consultancy franchise to aid you with starting up your business. You have to be very particular when it comes to information and process and make sure that you only hire credible and experienced local and foreign talent.

 

5. Global Recruitment

Photo: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

5. Global Recruitment

Recruitment is an extensive industry that can really be profitable when you have the right skills and people for the job. Companies like Hays, Adecco and Robert Walters plc have a global reach when it comes to recruitment, but there are still innovations that you can strive for in your startup, which can catch the attention of global recruitment giants. For example, social recruitment like networking on and offline still hasn’t been fully utilized and explored by big companies. As an expat in your host country, you may already have the adequate information when it comes to hiring and finding employment for foreign and local talent. Use your own experiences as a tool to give you an edge and make your startup standout.You should also try to compare the difference of starting a recruitment franchise vs. building your own recruitment network.

 

The expat lifestyle is a good platform to develop more ideas to make your startup marketable in the local and global community. You should weigh your options well and arm yourself with proper knowledge about the industry that you want to pursue. At the end of the day, being able to see and experience different cultures and markets abroad will give you an edge to attract investors and partners for whatever type of startup you wish to launch.

 

 

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