Where in the World (1,824 words)
A. Population. If your target country has a large population but not much monetary wealth (e.g., Ethiopia), be cautious of how much weight you give that large population. But if it's the reverse, such as Singapore, where there's a small population (3.5 million) but a high per capita GDP, consider giving population a higher ranking. Perhaps the most important consideration is the size of the population segments that meet your historic target profile.
B. Political Stability. This is extremely important if you're going to set up within the country. For instance, your marketing strategy may call for in-country service support and income stream, or you may be dealing with a product or service that's sensitive to political winds. Dramatic shifts in power also will affect foreign exchange rates and tariffs.
C. GDP/Inflation. Gross Domestic Product and purchasing power are closely related. And both are dramatically affected by inflation rates. Look for year-to-year trends going back at least five years.
D. Distribution of Wealth. Follow the money trail. In some countries, 10 percent of the population holds less than 2 percent of the wealth, while the top 10 percent holds more than 50 percent of the wealth. If your product or service is aimed at the wealthy, then fine. But if you're selling something closer to a commodity, you may not have a viable market if the wealth isn't more equitably distributed.
E. Age Distribution. This should include longevity as well as distribution by age bracket. You might be amazed by the number of countries with longevity peaking at age 50. Also see if there are viable numbers in the age brackets fitting your target profile.
F. Currency & Collection. This should include convertibility and ease of exchange, inflation rates, long term trends and credit card penetration. There is little rationale for expanding into a country if you can't count on a stable currency and a choice of collection systems, particularly credit cards and bank (or postal) debit systems.