If you’re thinking of taking your business to the USA, you’ll have a lot on your plate. Researching what US consumers want, identifying a gap in the market, understanding the taxation system… it’s a lot to contend with. But there are a few people you should consider seeking advice from. As well as asking for opinions (and learning from the experiences) of trusted contacts, here’s who else you should be talking to if you’re considering taking your business to the USA.
It won’t be easy to find investors - after all, it’s a bigger risk than simply setting up a business on your own ‘patch’. However, if you’ve got a tried and tested business model that’s working right now, you might be in a good position to raise investment from US venture capitalists to help ease the transition overseas. Investment will ensure you have access to things you need to make expansion run as smoothly as possible (such as capital, resources and contacts), so consider doing some research to see if investors are willing to back you before you start the process of taking your business to the USA.
International tax advisors
Paying tax in the US is not a straightforward affair, and that’s particularly true if you’re a foreign business that’s only just beginning to understand how it works. Not only will you need to pay corporate tax on the money your business generates in the US, but you’ll also need to make sense of the fact you’ll need to pay tax at three different levels (local, federal and state), and that rates vary depending on the manner in which you’ve incorporated and the US state you’ve chosen to incorporate in.
For this reason, it’s a very good idea to seek the services of an international tax advisor. Not only will they help you to understand how to pay the proper amount of tax in the US, they’ll also instruct you to ensure you’re paying the correct amount of tax in the UK (and any other countries you operate in) at the same time. It’s undoubtedly an expensive investment to make, but paying for the services of an international tax advisor will certainly save you money and stress in the long-run.
Corporate lawyers (attorneys)
Lawyers (or attorneys as they’re commonly known in the US) are critically important to your success in America. It’s likely that you’ll form a subsidiary company in the US at some point if you’re expanding your business to the USA, but this isn’t a straightforward matter. For instance, you have to decide whether to incorporate as a C corporation or an S corporation, and a specialist attorney is the ideal professional to advise you on how your particular business should be structured, among other things. They’ll also be familiar with the rules and regulations relating to business practice in the state you want to operate in, so they’re well worth talking to before you really embark on overseas expansion.
Finally, specialist companies such as Foothold America help non-US companies employ a worker in the USA without needing to take on the risk and expense of setting up a subsidiary first. They’ll simply hire an employee for you through their company, leaving you free to conduct market research, learn from your US employees and start getting close to US consumers.
As you can see, there are a few key people you should be talking to if you’re considering taking your business to the USA. Take the time to seek their advice and be prepared to pay for their services, knowing that your foray into a foreign market is far more likely to be successful with the support and guidance from professionals who really know what they’re talking about.
For cultural tips, read Business West's Cheat sheet to doing business in the United States.