What you need to keep in mind before taking your business to the USA
The sprawling US of A – the golden land of opportunities – has been in the news a lot lately, although not always for the right reasons (hint: a certain someone tweeting away at the oddest of times). Yet, despite all this, the list of reasons to take your business to America has grown even longer in the past few years. Sure, there’s a lot going on politically, socially and even economically, but if we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that times of uncertainty can actually present the best opportunities for growth. So if you’re a savvy business owner who knows how to take calculated risks, this may just be the daring move you’ve been looking to make.
Overwhelmed? Consider these points and relax a little:
- Contrary to a lot of alarmist beliefs, the country’s economy isn’t dangerously volatile by any stretch of the imagination (come on, it’s America, the leader of the free world). In fact, a Reuters end-of-the-year news report illustrated that the US economy grew at a faster rate in 2017 compared to the couple of years preceding it.
- The American attitude towards work is, quite honestly, unmatchable. The dedication and zeal your US-based team (or those you deal with) will bring to the table will be impressive. You will get a chance to work, and hopefully grow, with some of the best talent in the world.
- Belgium and the US maintain friendly relations, which makes things a lot easier. While the average American may not know too much about Belgium (apart from the craft beer and chocolate!), rest assured that this is the great ‘melting pot’. Americans are quick to embrace new people, new ideas, and definitely new products that may benefit them.
But hold on and go over a few important cautionary points before you take the leap across the pond:
The US is not a single market, so please don’t ever treat it as such (think of it instead as a web of smaller, linked regional markets that have very different characteristics). We may see it as a somewhat homogenous region at times, thanks to mass media depictions, but it is a huge geographical area with mind-boggling amounts of diversity. Each state (and sometimes, each city within the state) needs to be researched separately.
- Taxation is complicated, as are other technicalities such as filing fees. These details vary from state to state, too, so – again – don’t rush. Do some sound research first.
- While there’s a lot of talent in the US, it’s often quite hard to employ people as a foreign entity. And even if you manage to work all that out, remember that salaries are usually higher there than they are in Europe. Factor that in.
- Most important of all: it’s an intensely competitive business field. After all, America is the heart of capitalism, the hub of consumerism – and while the rewards may be huge, so could the pitfalls.
Needless to say, surviving and thriving in USA is not a piece of cake, but if you do your research, craft and implement a solid expansion plan, and put in the required work, it will certainly be well worth it. So go forth and conquer!