When someone should focus on local market or go for the big catch?


Hello there is an old saying that says "you should better be first in your village rather second( or thirth or fourth) in your town".

My question is something that a lot of people think (maybe all) at the beginning of their startup.
The biggest percentage of people and therefore startups, are not Silicon Valley residents but live in a more moderate areas. I mean is more difficult for an Italian/Greek to grow his startup globally as happen in other places in the world.

So having those cons, what is your opinion. Should I -or anyone- try to hit the global market from the beginning or stick with my country where I know people and how stuff works?

If he is successful, should he try to hit it globally knowing that he has titans to fight?

I must say that my idea exists with global success but mine has someinteresting additions and changes.

Getting Started Planning

asked Sep 10 '11 at 03:46
125 points

2 Answers


As a lovely coincidence, I wrote a blog post about this issue several weeks ago. We are also a small startup that had the exact same question in our minds. :-)

I strongly recommend you to go for the low hanging fruit first. If it is easier for you to find a customer in outer space you should start from outer space. However, for startups it is almost always easier to find a customer locally then internationally. Despite the Internet, the hype of globalism and world getting smaller every day, proximity still plays a big role in making sales even for big businesses. Every international software company has a local office in the countries they do business. For startups, local focus is much more important.

Remember, as a startup you are in search of a business model, part of which is a repeatable sales process. Until you create a repeatable sales process (Steve Blank’s book everyone ) that will assist you closing a sale with a customer 5000 miles away, the experiments are easier and cheaper to execute locally than internationally. Are there exceptions? Of course. But they are what they are…Exceptions.

answered Sep 10 '11 at 22:33
81 points
  • Hi Zuly. Why would you remove the reference to my blog post? It has very relevant information about the topic who wants to know further about what we have gone through? – Yalimgerger 12 years ago


The decision of the target market for your business launch should be based a bunch of variables -- of which geography is one. But it is not the only and rarely is it the determining variable.

If one has the capital, product and team to support an effective "hit the global market from the beginning" -- then go for it. It seems rare that will be the case. Usually the source of the capital would like to see traction in a -- shall we say: "smaller scale"

The complexities of an effective and strategic global launch make it nearly impossible. Think of translation, localization, natural laws, different competitors. . . .

That being said there are specific markets where there is not national segmentation. If you are launching a company into a market that only comes to scale with customer volume in a global marketplace -- then out of necessity you will be launching internationally. Perhaps you have such a unique product and unique market segmentation that in order to get the 50 potential customers that want it you will have to go global.

There are many old sayings -- for your start up I would follow "A journey of a thousands miles starts with a single step"

answered Sep 10 '11 at 12:52
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
  • Thank you for your info. – Nikolai 12 years ago

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