GENERAL INDICATOR USE CASES
The most general indicator are universal and can be used for strategy development across all market segments. The values typically get updated on a yearly base and are free of charge.
GDP per capita: the higher the better (e.g. UN, CIA factbook)
shall give an idea if people in a country have money to spend on your or your customers products; can also be very misleading in countries where the government has a large income out of e.g. oil, but the wealth is not spent in the country or only distributed within a selected small group. GDP per capita then can be high, but the common citizen has only a small amount to spend which is probably used for basics like food, medicine, utility…
Population: the higher the better (e.g. UN population division)
Getting into a country is costly, so you or your customer want to make sure you can reach as many potential end customers as possible. If you are not operating in a specific niche market, the overall number of population is good enough. Otherwise you might have to search for the detailed information, e.g. number of population age 10-16. Or if you have a high end product, you might want to consider using urban population figures since early adoption will probably start there.
Inflation: the lower the better (e.g. World Bank)
This one gets more important if you are at any stage dealing with a currency exchange. E.g. you are based in the US, your contract is in a foreign country with product prices listed in USD, but services are paid in local currency while parts of your costs accumulate in USD (extremes would be your margin going sky-high or negative). Price adaption based on inflation rates are recommended to be included in the Terms and Conditions of your contract. Currency exchange hedging could also be considered.
FDI (foreign direct investment) – to be used for developing countries: the higher the better (e.g. World Bank)
Can be a good indication on how well the infrastructure in a country is developing. If you want to get access to rural population, it would be good to know if there are streets, water, power, telecommunication …in place. Developing countries with a high FDI typically offer better infrastructure than others.
Ease of doing business index: the smaller the better (doingbusiness.org)
The index ranks and summarizes following categories: starting a business, dealing with construction permit, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency.
The trading across borders category assumes payment by letter of credit – it does not include ‘expatriate foreign currency’. In case you make profits in local currency in one country but want to use the profits for an investment in another you have to expatriate funds, typically done in a strong currency, e.g. USD. If there are insufficient amounts of strong currency in a country or if the exchange is regulated by the government it would be important to include such indicator manually.
Corruption perception index: the higher the better (transparency.org)
Dependent on your company policy this could mean ‘no go’ or additional costs. Can be combined with the ease of doing business one and used as one index in an overall strategy development view.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Bank for International settlements
CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index