If we can make it here, can we make it there?
As the largest global marketplace, the United States of America naturally draws all aspiring entrepreneurs. Although setting up shop in a foreign environment has its hurdles, the USA embraces investors and innovators from all over the globe.
In 2007, two former Technology students left Iran for San Francisco with only a prototype to their names. This later became the top dating social network Zoosk, now worth an estimated $50 million. Today, among other successes, they join a growing list of immigrant founders and key personnel in America’s top 100 companies.
And here are five ways to make this work for you:
1. Be realistic & know your market.
Understanding your audience is essential when moving into new marketplaces and a sense of realism is vital. Before considering a move, make sure that your product/service is up to scratch, your delivery is impeccable and your strategy, finances and business model are strong enough to withstand a bit of a wobble.
Romanian born Christina Gheorghe, now thriving as a Silicon Valley CEO, ensured that he understood the business analytics market by teaming up with Andrew Saxe to help build his small company, Saxe Marketing. This provided him with a solid foothold from which to climb into the world of entrepreneurship and start multi million dollar software companies such as Tian and Tidemark Systems.
2. Understand your new marketplace: competitors and audience
The competition in the United States is likely to be very different to what you are used to in your home market – in most cases you will experience a fierce increase in other companies with similar offerings. That isn’t to say that what you have to offer won’t work in the US, it simply emphasises the need for you to understand your competitors and really know your USP and audience inside out.
On establishing a presence in the US, Remington Business Group’s founder Yoav Amiri said “be flexible enough to adapt your ways, approach, marketing, service and product. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Start with something that you really like and are good at doing – if it’s unique then all the better.”
Although knowing your existing offering and customers well is essential, it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve carried out a thorough competitor analysis, you should be able to identify who your target audience is within the US and identify how they vary from your current customer base.
3. Money, money, money
Clarifying your finances is vital. This means working out how much money is needed to set up, how much to operate, how much income you need, and where the money is coming from. Make sure your forecasts are sturdy and your entry strategy is foolproof– in Zoosk’s case, this was through venture-capital backing after garnering second place in an entrepreneurial competition; however proceedings did not run so smoothly for the co-founders in other areas.
4. The Legalities
Firstly, establishing your immigration route is essential. The Zoosk duo fell into some difficulty here: having initially “ignored the immigration aspects”, the reality of US immigration law put company activities on hold as the duo applied for employment-based visas.
You can eliminate stress beforehand by considering routes such as the E-2 Visa for Treaty Traders – specifically designed for entrepreneurs investing in a US business.
Getting additional legalities of your big move right are also essential – why not make a checklist of must-do tasks. This will include aspects such as registering your business, getting a tax identification number, registering for state and local taxes, taking out workers’ insurance, obtaining business licenses, and much more.
5. Seek advice, commit & embrace the challenge
No matter how well you know the American market, you can never predict all the financial, commercial, and legal peaks and troughs that your company will face. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek out advice – our team of IncPlan professionals are always on hand to provide expert help, so do not hesitate to contact us here today. Visit our International Page for more information.