For many entrepreneurs, growing their businesses or expanding into different countries is the ultimate sign that they are advancing. However, I recently read a story that reminded me of one of my entrepreneurial fears: unexpected rules or laws. In many cases, after detailed research and the satisfaction that the time for expansion is ideal, some businesses invest a lot of resources to spread their operations and services in countries other than their own. Nevertheless, an unforeseen circumstance that many may encounter is new laws that countries and cities can implement at any time. Admittedly, the unfortunate introduction of new laws sometimes results because of the establishment of new businesses in the area.
To illustrate how some expanding businesses influence policy changes, Uber, the ride sharing company, can be examined. Uber started in the US and spread rapidly across other cities around the world. However, in Toronto, Uber did not receive the reception the company would have liked. Taxi drivers in Toronto felt that their businesses would be adversely affected by Uber's business practices, which included not charging taxes making Uber cab fares cheaper than Beck Taxis for instance. The taxi drivers simply wanted Uber to be subjected to the same rules and regulations and taxes they had to adhere to. Therefore, to protest the unfair competition, taxi strikes across Toronto ensued, and the city council was forced to create regulations to manage how Uber conducted business. Consequently, Uber had to change the way they do business. As a result, the same happened when Uber entered France.
Another pertinent example is the "Google Tax Law", which directly affects news aggregation sites, that was recently passed in Spain. In the new provision, Google and other news aggregators would have to pay for providing links to news stories. The new regulation was so severe that Google News left Spain altogether. Such a change not only affected big companies such as Google, but it also caused other businesses namely News Letter Breeze to shut down its news aggregation website, move operations to other countries, and change its original business model. NewsletterBreeze was amassing great content from around the web and providing their readers with valuable content. However, the company couldn't afford to pay to share links on its aggregation service, so the business closed down its operation in Spain even though the owners are Spanish.
In many cases, entrepreneurs, especially the small business owners, shut down operations permanently because of fear or a loss of appetite for pursing their dreams. In some cases, businesspersons are afraid to move operations to different countries because they don't want to encounter a similar fate. Fortunately, the internet provides a great opportunity for some businesses to move their operations or diversify their offerings as was in the case of the Google Tax Law.
With the internet and other mediums like social media, it is no longer wise to keep your business focused in one particular location unless it is absolutely necessary. The world is now your business place. As an entrepreneur in the current business climate, having a huge office, fancy equipment, or large budgets to offer your services to clients in other countries is unnecessary. Because of the Internet, companies like Google and NewsletterBreeze were able to rebound and provide the same or similar services to people in different countries after the law changes in Spain.
Nevertheless, I believe the bottom line is that business is uncertain, therefore you should try to be flexible. You may start your entrepreneurial venture with one idea in mind but be mindful that the unexpected is a possibility. You just need to see all obstacles as hurdles to leap over. As stated before, the Internet provides the ideal springboard since a host of opportunities for pivoting your business if the unexpected -- the introduction of new regulations, for instance -- occurs.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be resilient, learn from the unfortunate, inevitable circumstances, and move on from them. Your product or service may be great but success will still not be guaranteed. Instead, you need to be able to adapt to the changing business landscape or die.