If you’re an entrepreneur planning to start a business outside of the United States, you might be looking for assistance and resources that are available in your specific country.
On Bplans, we often share information about United States’ specific resources, like SBDCs (small business development centers), but those resources probably aren’t as helpful to global entrepreneurs.
There are plenty of local resources and services available to help entrepreneurs in their local areas around the globe. But instead of giving you a list of links that are likely to quickly become outdated, we want to share some tips for finding the best, most up-to-date resources, as well as some resources that can help you get your business started, no matter where you’re located.
How to start a business anywhere in the world
The general process for starting a business is pretty similar, wherever you are. Our startup checklist can help walk you through the steps to getting your business up and running. But the specifics, especially the legal, tax, and trade regulations, vary by country.
As you’re getting started and working on your business plan, you’ll need to look into and understand some of the specific requirements in your area:
- Obtaining business licenses and permits
- Getting a tax ID and understanding your tax obligations
- Things you need to include in your business plan to get a bank loan
- Research on your target market
Use Google to find country-specific information
If you’re looking for information for specific business planning or startup resources in your country, there are a few ways to do that. One of the fastest is to use Google to search for it.
First, what’s your question? Maybe it’s “What kind of business plan will a bank accept in my country?”
Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur in India. You should type something like this into Google:
“banks in India business plans”
It’s even better if you can make your search specific by including the name of the bank you’re looking for information on. For example, you might try:
“What kind of business plan does United Bank of India require for a loan?”
Search results: How do you know if you’re looking at an ad?
After you type in your question, you probably get thousands of pages of search results. Usually, the best results are on the first pages.
Just make sure you can spot the advertisements: Look for “Ad” on the left side under the name of the website.
You don’t have to avoid ads altogether, but make sure you look at the resources under the ads too. The sites that appear below the ads are there because other people have found them useful. They’re more likely to be high-quality resources.
Look for titles and descriptions that relate to your question
Now, look at the articles below the first few ads. Look for article titles and descriptions that seem like a good answer to your question.
You might have to re-word your question, or just take a look at a few different search results before you land on the best resource.
For example, the search for “banks in India business plans” brought up the first result “Business Plan for Banking Industry—Business Maps of India.” It looked promising.
But when you skim the article, you see that it’s not actually about what an Indian bank would expect to see in a business plan if you’re looking for a business loan. It was actually about how to write a business plan for a new bank—not what you were looking for.
If at first you don’t find what you’re looking for, go back to your search results and look again. If nothing on the first few pages is relevant, try rewording your search. You might also use Google to help you find a phone number or address so you can get the information in person.
Keep in mind that search results are constantly changing. You could make the same Google search, “banks in India business plans,” one day, and get different results the next day. So if you find a resource you want to return to, bookmark it. If you’re not sure how to do that, Google “how to bookmark a website.”
How to decide if a website is a quality resource
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. It’s always a good idea to verify that the information you find on the web is up to date and accurate.
Keep these criteria in mind as you look at your reach results:
- Who wrote it? If the author of an article isn’t clear, there’s no real guarantee that a website is from a reputable organization. Sometimes looking for an “about us” link at the top or bottom of a page can help. The “about us” page should tell you who owns the page and what their main purpose is.
- Is it up to date? Look for evidence that the website contains current information. If you find a resource on bank loans dated 2002, for example, you’ll probably want to verify that the information is still correct by comparing it to other pages in your search results.
- Is it a sales pitch or an opinion? Is the purpose of the article to deliver unbiased information or to sell you a product or convince you of something? One good way to tell that you’re looking at a quality source is that it provides both sides—pros and cons. If it includes statistics or ideas that belong to someone else, quality sites will link to the original source.
Finding country-specific resources: Incubators and accelerators
If you’re interested in finding offline resources to help you grow your business, you might want to start by looking into local business incubators and accelerators. They can provide workspace, offer mentorship, and assist with finding investment opportunities.
To find information about a business incubator in your country, try to use specific keywords in your Google search.
Try variations on this formula: [industry name] business incubator/accelerator in [city, country]. So, if you were the founder of a green energy startup in Sydney, Australia, you would Google “green energy business incubator in Sydney, Australia.”
The first search engine result that is not an ad appears promising: EnergyLab. The EnergyLab website’s “About” page includes information about its founding and sponsors, indicating it is most likely a legitimate operation.
Once you have decided the incubator or accelerator is trustworthy, look for a list of services or resources to make sure it also fits your business. Look under “Contact Us” to see if you can call or email for further information.
Finding a business plan writing service
Sometimes we hear from entrepreneurs outside of the U.S. who are looking for someone else to write their business plan for them. Bplans does partner with a business plan writing service—but they only serve customers in the U.S. If you’re starting a business outside of the U.S., it’s best to go to Google and search for a plan writer in your area.
At Bplans, we believe founders know their businesses best. We want to empower you to write your own business plan, but we know that there are times when it makes sense to hire help. Keep in mind that you probably don’t need a formal business plan written by a professional unless you’re seeking a bank loan or outside investment.
If you’re not looking for funding, it might make more sense for you to put together a Lean Plan which you can do in less than an hour, using our LivePlan software or with our free Lean Plan template. A Lean Plan can help you get a handle on the most important aspects of running a successful business.
To find a business plan writer in your area, use Google to search for something like “professional business plan writing service in India.”
And before you hire someone to write your business plan, consider how much you are willing to pay and what kind of results you want to see from them. Here’s a guide on how to get the most out of your business plan writing service.
Resources for entrepreneurs around the globe tend to come and go quickly. Your best bet for finding helpful information is to use our tips for searching on Google. Also, look for resources affiliated with your country’s government. They can sometimes be more reliable.
Here are a few examples to help you get started:
The Institute for Small Business Entrepreneurship (ISBE) publishes its journal of research six times a year, provides funding for research activities conducted by businesses, and offers benefits to members through its network of contacts and access to its special interest groups.
The SIDBI serves as the Principal Financial Institution for Promotion, Financing, and Development of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise sector in India. It is committed to meeting the financial and developmental needs of the small business sector.
United Arab Emirates
Created as a division of the Department of Economic Development, Dubai SME seeks to help new small and medium business with everything from finances to “establishing your business from start to finish.”
This non-profit organization seeks to improve the economic climate in the Philippines by helping small businesses.
The Local Enterprise Office provides support and advising to anyone starting a new small business in Ireland.
Australia and New Zealand
SBAA is committed to helping small businesses grow and prosper. It attempts to influence economic policy, provides educational and networking events, and offering support and referral services.
The SEAANZ serves as a source of knowledge about small business policy, research, and practice in Australia and New Zealand.
GEN Nigeria offers a variety of programs for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs alike, including programs like their Startup Huddle, a variety of competitions, and events geared toward connecting entrepreneurs with leaders in their communities.
The SAIE provides an array of articles and other resources for small business, with an emphasis on education, agriculture, enterprise development, and information technology.
Endeavor South Africa furnishes an array of opportunities for entrepreneurs such as access to markets, participation in networking events and industry tours, and options for investment.
This webpage summarizes guidelines for selling products online and shipping internationally that apply to 29 countries, including the U.S.A., Australia, and the United Kingdom. These guidelines include using fair advertising and marketing practices and addressing consumer complaints.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of resources in over 170 countries with the goal of helping global entrepreneurs. The Global Business Angels Network, one of the many programs GEN leads, recruits investors to bring financial support to areas with underdeveloped angel networks.
Keep in mind online resources are always changing. Even government sources can change. Some links might stop working. Some incubators will stop operating and new ones will take their place. Searching for your own resources is almost always a better way to get the information you need.
Business guides on Bplans
Bplans offers a few different guides to help entrepreneurs write their business plan and get started. These guides offer some US-based suggestions, but a lot of the information in them will apply around the world:
- Bplans Guide to Finding a Good Business Idea
- Writing a Business Plan Guide
- Complete Elevator Pitch Guide
- Business Funding Guide
- Starting a Business Guide
Market research resources
If you’re looking for resources on how to do market research in your area, check out this guide to doing international market research. This article also suggests checking with your local business development agencies (Google business development agency in your country), business schools, and industry trade associations (Google search for trade associations for your industry in your country).
If you want to learn more about the market research basics or identifying your target market, these resources can help too:
Now you have a list of best practices for online research. You have access to organizations that promote small business growth around the world, and links to our own Bplans articles on global business.