For many UK entrepreneurs, tapping into the vast and dynamic market the US has to offer is high on the agenda.
It’s easy to see why. America certainly offers an immense canvas, bursting with abundant opportunities for growth.
But it’s also a complex and highly competitive environment, where the importance of getting sound advice cannot be understated.
A large population and enormous GDP (gross domestic product) make the US an attractive proposition for anyone seeking to diversify income streams and access a huge and diverse customer base.
Many have done it successfully and are an inspirational example to others hoping to follow in their footsteps, but getting good guidance is key to navigating the challenges.
Texas remains a popular choice for entering the American market, with many businesses attracted by its position as the second largest state in the country both by area and population.
A robust economy, diverse markets, a business-friendly environment – the list of attributes goes on.
According to Texas Economic Development & Tourism, the state offers the lowest business operating costs in the US.
Its 55 Fortune 500 companies, thousands of public firms and some 3.1 million small businesses are powered by a workforce of more than 15 million people.
The state’s economy is the ninth largest, when compared to nations of the world.
Knowing your market is essential
It goes without saying that, long before your business even makes the trip, knowing your market is essential. Entering any new geography without good market research and a carefully considered entry strategy can be financially precarious, and the US is no exception.
Make sure you work hard to identify potential risk and mitigate it accordingly, as well as assessing key factors such as market dynamics, demographics, competition, cultural nuances and consumer trends to literally go in with your eyes open.
Once your decision to take the plunge is made, top of the list should be equipping yourself with sound immigration advice. The process has great bearing on timing for entry into the US market. Obtaining the proper immigration credentials needs the input of a competent immigration attorney to advise on visa options.
There are methods for establishing your presence earlier than your immigration documents allow, but having advice from a US chartered accountant and corporate attorney are necessities.
Next steps towards US expansion
Your next steps should be to engage experienced certified public accountants (CPAs) and a corporate attorney with international experience. A working relationship between immigration, accounting, transactional legal, commercial insurance and consultant will cut through logistical time, reduce fees and enhance communication, plus exponentially increase a successful launch.
In establishing your legal entity in the US you must investigate the state you will be using as your corporate headquarters. America has a multifaceted, intricate legal and regulatory landscape, and things like employment law and business regulations can vary hugely from state to state.
It’s important to educate yourself on what’s applicable to each location, relevant to how and where your business will operate. And make sure you’re up to speed on state and federal law by getting good, local advice from an attorney with international experience.
The commercial insurance market in the US can be a confusing morass of technical and regulatory information and requirements.
As one of our top providers says: “The United States is made up of 50 states and, as such, there are federal rules. But each state also has its own regulatory requirements that must be addressed to correctly cover and protect yourself and your personal and company assets.”
Commercial insurance: Be prepared
Pricing for commercial insurance can be very surprising for international companies that are not fully aware of the litigious nature of US and state level exposure.
Having an experienced insurance representative who can translate American terminology into lay language for an international audience will greatly enhance understanding of the US market and pricing.
And working with a commercial liability agent in conjunction with your immigration attorney, CPA, entity attorney, and consultant will bring a full understanding of what you, as the new international company, is striving to accomplish.
Federal, state, county and local authorities will each have their own tax requirements, and penalties and fines for not reporting timely or missing deadlines can be ruinous.
Terms such as “responsible person” and “known person” provide understanding and options for opening doors in the US.
All businesses work hard to establish and grow a network.
But there’s always the need to start over when you head to somewhere new.
Work those contacts across the pond
Any connections you can reach out to as you enter a new market will stand you in good stead, including in Texas. There might be a key player already in position who can offer you the benefit of their experience, or there may be a potential client or collaborator.
Each and every one can help to fit together the pieces, so use them as your inspiration.
Another win for Texas! Named the Best Business Climate in the U.S. in a survey of corporate site selectors by @SiteSelection, Texas offers businesses the foundation to succeed and freedom to thrive! More here: https://t.co/VhKOp1r3PY pic.twitter.com/jm4JzD7pml
— Texas Economic Development (@TexasEconDev) November 1, 2023
Learning about what they did and how can be an inspiring motivator for others ready to embark on their own corporate journey.
It can seem a little daunting to know where to start, but with the right introductions and a self-starting attitude to networking, the opportunities are huge.
Travis Middleton is executive managing director of Houston-based Texas Global Consulting.