6 Tips for Succeeding Your US Expansion What every business person with an American Dream needs to know.
Tuesday night, Numa Paris hosted an after-work event in the context of #TechInTheUS. Aviva Markowicz, Managing Director of Numa New York, and Rebecca Neff, Economic Counselor at the Embassy of the United-States of America, shared how they and their organizations try to create links between start-ups and large corporations, and the things to keep in mind while planning an international expansion.
Here are 6 key points that you should know if you plan on expanding your business to the US market.
1. Do NOT consider the US market as a “last resort”
Some business people think that if they haven’t yet been able to take off back home, they’ll just head to America and capture the hearts of the masses.
This approach is all wrong.
American businesses and investors will want to see a solid proof of concept and established traction in the US market. If your business hasn’t taken off in a small pool (back home), chances are it won’t take off in a big one.
Expand to the US for the right reasons, notably because your clients are already there, and because it’s an good location for you to work with an internally dispersed team.
2. Have an international vision from the get-go
Start your business with the vision of expanding internationally. Dream big, and take small steps from the start to help support your dream, such as:
- Make sure all your content is in English. And not just translated. Be sure your content is pertinent for an English market.
- Be easily scalable to adjust to different markets.
- Act globally via social networking and not only locally via networking events.
- Get to know early on your audience and your competitors in different markets.
3. Be prepared for high operating costs
Don’t underestimate how expensive it is to expand your business internationally, especially if you are headed towards a city with high cost of living, such as New York City, the Bay Area in California or Silicon Valley. In addition to salaries, you will have to pay rent and office fees, lawyers and/or notaries, and taxes.
The Numa incubator recommends having the funds to cover your efforts for at least 8 months, which should give you enough time to meet investors and to pitch and test your idea in the US.
4. Be on-location
At least one of the co-founders should physically move to the country or city where the business is expanding. Hiring someone locally to develop the project and spread the dream usually falls flat. Only a co-founder will be able to communicate the vision of the company.
Move there. Hire there. Surround yourself with the right people.
5. Learn to sell (yourself)
In the US, it doesn’t matter what school you went to, what country you’re from or what kind of accent you have. If you have an idea – a good one – and can get that idea across, that’s all that matters. Americans will give you a chance so long as you can catch their attention.
So, be confident. Be aggressive. Learn to sell your idea and yourself. And remember, you have a limited amount of time to do so, so cut to the chase.
If you need help with this, Numa offers a course on pitching. Check it out.
6. Learn the culture
Don’t underestimate the impact of cultural differences, especially when it comes to modes of communication in a business context and hierarchy. Before landing, read up on the culture and ask for help from others who’ve made a similar move. It will make your introduction into the new market all the more easier.