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Why Start A Business In Turkey And Not In Silicon Valley

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Date: 05.07.2014

Silicon Valley and other developed regions are great if you want to find investment for your next big “Facebook idea” or start a business for your new high-tech drug. But if you are starting a low-tech business from scratch, manufacturing a physical product, or starting a new service business, the place to be is in a newly industrialized country (NIC). Turkey, China, India and Brazil are examples of newly industrialized countries where a very small investment on a good idea can really skyrocket. Once you go national in one of these countries, you could then turn to a developed economy to go global


  1. Turmoil: Continuous turmoil and discontinuity may seem like a disadvantage because of unpredictability, but the constant change going on in the society and economy brings a lot of opportunities with it. Imagine this to be like a cake mix and as you mix it in the blender, raisins (opportunities) constantly keep appearing on the surface.
  2. Weak competition: Most markets have a lot of potential for better designed products with better customer service. This is such a huge advantage when it comes to starting a new company. People are so hungry for great design and great service that you immediately stand out.
  3. Strong consumer spending: The last couple of years have been amazing for consumer spending in newly industrialized countries. The young population loves great brands and don`t think twice before spending. Trends and fashion quickly take off among youngsters. People love spending on whatever is new. In Turkey, like in other NICs, there seems to be a “Secret Switzerland” that spends a lot of money on luxury goods and services. Any global luxury brand will tell you about how their sales have taken off in these countries.
  4. High retail prices: The retail prices for products are same or higher from what you would see in US. Most great brands that come from developed economies are more expensive because of tax and customs. If you create a local brand that people love, you could still have a high margin while pricing your product lower than the competition.
  5. Low operating costs: Starting salaries and the cost of labor is still relatively low. Starting a business in US or UK will cost you a fortune compared to Turkey. Each year, over half a million students graduate from universities. Starting salaries stay extremely low when all of these students are looking for jobs. These students should really rather try starting businesses instead of looking for jobs because the economy is so hungry for entrepreneurs. Another great opportunity lies with low-cost suppliers. There are a lot of capable generic suppliers who do not charge a premium for their products and services because they do not have brand equity. This creates a great cost advantage when sourcing products and services from them.
  6. Local manufacturers: It is very common to locate manufacturers close to where you operate from. When you have an idea, you could easily drive or take a bus to a local manufacturer and they will be more than willing to help. They are so nice and supporting, that most won’t even charge for simple prototypes. The minimum order quantities are so low that you can usually fund the first run yourself.
  7. Unpenetrated markets: It may be difficult to find an original idea in a saturated developed economy. Most of the time you need to innovate something out of this world to break in to the market. Whereas in countries like Turkey, there are opportunities everywhere. It may be hard to see them from the stand point of a local, but if you have lived outside Turkey for a few years or are a foreigner, what is missing is obvious. The different culture and way of living provides inspiration for ideas that could start there and go global. Some entrepreneurs research successful business models that have worked in developed countries and replicate or adapt them to the local market. Occasionally they even get acquired by the foreign company that had originally inspired them.

In conclusion, newly industrialized countries provide a very fertile ground for ideas and businesses that start with little to no investment. It may have been less attractive in the past, but now, with enough resources and a spending population, they have become extremely attractive.

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