10 Easy Steps To Launching A New Business In A Caribbean Paradise
“Please give me your opinion regarding a plan my son has to start a business in the Dominican Republic. He is retiring in a couple of months from the City of New York job he has had for 26 years. He is 53 years old, and he has friends in the DR. He has visited the island a number of times.
“His idea is to open a store with computers and a telephone service for people who want to contact relatives out of the country.
“Do you think he could do this and be successful at it? I thought maybe you could encourage him or perhaps discourage him from this type of business.”
Our entrepreneur abroad expert Kerri Salls replies:
“Years ago, I researched setting up a similar business in West Africa, so I believe I have an idea of your son’s plans.
“I’m the optimist who believes that, if you believe in something, you can achieve make it work. From that point of view, I would indeed encourage your son to pursue his entrepreneurial adventure abroad.
“However, even taking a more conservative position, I would encourage your son.
“He has a strong work ethic and a lot of staying power (as evidenced by 26 years working for the City of New York). These traits will serve him well starting his own business.
“He has been to the Dominican Republic a number of times and has friends there (who, we assume, will help him). He’s not trying to do this alone in a place he doesn’t know.
“He has a passion for the business he wants to create.
“I’m assuming he believes he’ll enjoy living and working on the island as much as he has enjoyed his visits there.
“That said, I understand your reservations. Any entrepreneur will tell you in hindsight that it’s much easier to build your dream while you’re collecting a steady income. To that end, here’s my best advice for your son: Work now to get his new venture off the ground while he’s still drawing a paycheck.
“Your son should:
- Formalize his vision and mission into a basic business plan.
- Do the market research related to the demand for an Internet café in particular locations in the Dominican Republic.
- Identify his target audience. How much traffic does he need daily?
If his market is tourists, what about the off-season? Many hotels offer Internet access; how will this impact his opportunity?
If his market is locals connecting with family abroad, he’ll need to understand and to prepare for the level of computer literacy among his clients. How much education should he plan to provide?
- Identify a location–a city or town with the infrastructure in place to support his business (reliable power, high-speed Internet, and available phone lines); the support services he’ll need (IT professionals, parts) at hand; enough qualified population to allow him to reach the daily volume levels he needs; and an easily accessible and well-trafficked store front (maybe in the center of town or maybe along the airport road).
- Check out the competition. Are there other Internet cafes on the island? What do the hotels offer? What works? What’s missing? What unique niche can he fill (and make money at)? His friends on the island could do much of this legwork for him, visiting the local hotels, as well as established competitive services and potential sites for your son’s business.
- Investigate licensing requirements/costs/lead-times/logistics for the space, the utilities, and necessary equipment. This research also builds relationships on the ground with people who can become invaluable resources for getting things done the island way.
- Draft a marketing plan of how he intends to announce and invite people into his business. Build it and they will come is not a plan for success.
- Identify the technology and the technical skills required to set up and run this type of business. Does he have those skills or will he hire/outsource that work? Is the technology he wants to use compatible with available local services, utilities, and service providers?
- Put together a financial plan that supports the marketing plan. What is the required investment? What sources of funding will he use or apply for? When will the business break even? Will it provide for the lifestyle he wants as a resident in the Dominican Republic?
- Put together a timeline of everything there is to do to start the business, including costs, efforts, and responsibilities.
“This planning and research isn’t rocket science, but it requires focus and dedication. It amounts to the sweat equity that builds the strong foundation of any business. And, with the help of his friends on the ground, your son should be able to get these pieces in place in a matter of weeks.
“Finally, your son should document each step of this business-building process. This not only adds clarity and legitimacy to the dream, but it also demonstrates conviction. And these documents will become the foundation of his portfolio and sales tools when he is ready to apply for licenses, bank accounts, loans, leases, etc. This level of professionalism and preparation opens doors and opportunities.
“Your son is in a great position right now, because he can start his business with virtually no risk, from his kitchen table in New York before actually investing in the move.
“I can’t say if your son will be successful with his business in the Dominican Republic, of course. I can absolutely guarantee, however, that he will have a great adventure trying.”
P.S. Kerri is the author of a complete course that lays out everything you need to know to launch a new business overseas, including the resources and tools to realize each step, in her 90 Day Expat Entrepreneur program. You can read more here.
This caught my attention this morning. If I had time to follow up today, I would:
In Abruzzo, Italy, right now, a typical property, on three floors (160 square meters), including three large cellars, has been reduced in price from 54,000 euro to 29,000 euro.
This is the kind of thing that gets my imagination working overtime. This old stone house retains all its original features–terra-cotta floors, stone balconies, stone carvings, fireplace…
The two-bedroom place is reported to be in good structural condition but needs a new roof, new systems, new bathroom, etc.
Meantime, it sits in a panoramic position, in the center of a charming little town between the National Park of Gran Sasso, Majella, and Abruzzo, only 35 minutes from the sea.
29,000 euro…23,400 pounds sterling…US$36,600…
Hard to beat.
Offered by House Around Italy, a full-service outfit with more than a dozen years helping foreigners buy in this beautiful region of the world. They even offer renovation support services and rental and property management.
“Kathleen, you are right when you say that health insurance is a major stumbling block for Baby Boomers who would like to move overseas. If your man, Kevin, is indeed the authority on this issue, he needs to share his knowledge.
“Health insurance is easy for the young and healthy, but I am neither any longer and have had to do research because all of these sites say the same thing–buy BUPA. For those of us with pre-existing health conditions, the international policies are worthless.
“However, the recent stimulus package passed by Obama contains a clause that will allow the government to pay 65% of Cobra for those who qualify. This means that, when I leave my job, I can continue my coverage (which has no cap for coverage related to pre-existing conditions, pays for all my meds, and covers me worldwide, including in the U.S.), and the premium will be less than for the international policies for more coverage.
“The trick is to qualify for Cobra; previously, I wouldn’t have considered it because of the expense, but this is a great benefit in the stimulus package for those who qualify. I hope this is of use to your readers.”
— Connie B., United States
Indeed, Kevin is prepared to share the full extent of his long experience with international insurance of all kinds, including international health insurance, during both our How To Retire Overseas Event (May 12-13) and our Live & Invest in Panama Conference (May 14-16). Attendance is limited, and the Early Bird Discount expires this Saturday at Midnight. Register now here.