Yesterday a good friend of mine came over for lunch to talk about his new business.
He has a very simple and compelling concept that easily helps restaurants make more money and creates a win/win for everyone– restaurant owners, diners, and the business itself.
This is exactly the type of model that I like to invest in.
Best of all, though, the business he’s creating isn’t new. There’s a company based in Asia which started a few years ago that is doing something similar.
This Asian company is flourishing. And since they’ve been in business for a while, they’ve already built the software, tested the market, and worked out the kinks in the process.
All my friend really has to do is mirror what they’re doing over here in Latin America.
This is, by far, one of the easiest ways to start a successful business: import a business model that’s already working into a rapidly developing country.
Make no mistake, starting a business is always challenging. And there’s always some level of risk.
Customers might hate your product. You might not be able to raise the investment capital you need. You might not be able to hire the talent that your business requires.
But when you’re essentially mirroring another business model that’s already been proven to be successful somewhere else, a LOT of that risk disappears.
I’ve seen this done so many times before.
One of the most successful entrepreneurs here in Chile used to live in Silicon Valley several years ago.
Back then there were a number of Peer-to-Peer lending sites being launched in the US, and he immediately realized that he could bring this idea back to Chile where the concept of Peer-to-Peer lending didn’t exist yet.
Today his company has become incredibly successful and has helped dislocate the local banking monopoly.
Clearly there has been a lot of hard work in growing that business.
But he didn’t have to start from scratch– he was able to build his company from the foundation of a business model that was already working well in North America and Europe.
This is one of the many great things about living overseas, especially in countries that are still developing.
You’ll find that there are ALWAYS products and services that are ubiquitous back home which don’t even exist yet overseas.
And savvy entrepreneurs can jump start their businesses by importing a proven model or idea that’s already working.
So if you’re an aspiring business owner trying to figure out your next move, start by looking around at what’s already working… then find a foreign country where that business model doesn’t exist yet.