First ask the fundamental questions…
Should you expand abroad?
• What is the potential in the home market?
• What are the limitations in the home market?
• Do customers demand global services?
Should you enter the US?
• Do you have inbound leads from the US?
• Do you have a deep understanding of productmarket fit in the US?
• Will investment in the US hurt the domestic business?
• What does the competitive landscape look like? Is the timing right? •
Is the US your primary market?
• Are you focused on a market where the US is substantially larger than Europe?
• Have you saturated your home market?
• Is the team at home strong enough to grow the business in the absence of a founder?
[IMAGE OF BUILDING IN NYC WITH FIRE ESPACE AND SHOPS]
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And think about the critical details…
What milestones and timeliness must you meet?
• Which measured tests can you deploy from your home market?
• Are pricing assumptions still valid in the US?
• What market share targets are realistic?
What are the industry dynamics in the US?
• What does the value chain in the US look like?
• Do US players control any resources that are crucial to your expansion?
Who is your competition?
• What are your key differentiators?
• What moats can you build around your offer?
How do you know you have product market fit?
• Do you have product-market fit at home?
• Do you have significant inbound requests from US customers?
What is your US ideal customer profile?
• What specific business pain are you trying to solve for your ideal customer?
• What results would they like to achieve, on an individual, department and company level?
What is your regulatory burden in the US?
• Is your business operating in a regulated sector?
• Are you subject to both federal and state regulation?
What legal considerations are key?
• Have you found experienced local counsel?
• Are you prepared to deal with a more litigious culture?
Which visa do you need?
• Would an E-1, L-1 or O-1 visa be suitable?
• Do you need to apply for a H-1B Visa?
What is your budget?
• How much sensitivity have you modelled in your projections?
• Do you have the support of your investors?
Test the market…
How much do you like flying?
• Are you invested in testing the market on the ground?
• Have you planned an entry phase of at least six months?
Have you built a local network?
• Do you have a soft network to help refine your strategy?
• Have you looked into US incubators or accelerators for your sector?
Can the industry name your brand?
• Do you understand how reputations are built in your industry?
• Have you mapped out relevant conferences for your sector?
Can you sell like an American?
• Do you have a replicable sales strategy?
• Are you prepared to sell more aggressively and have more direct conversations?
How will you price your products?
• Have you established your US-specific pricing model?
• Are you willing to adapt your pricing when necessary?
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Who is leading your team?
• Can you spare a key member of the domestic team to lead the charge in the US?
• What is your plan for remote communication and decision-making?
Who is on your US advisory board?
• What specific expertise do you need to bring in?
• What objectives can you set for advisors?
How do you set up in the US?
• What is the best legal structure for your business?
• In which state should you incorporate?
• What banking and insurance choices must you make?
How do you protect your IP?
• What is the level of risk associated with your IP in the US?
• What are investors’ expectations about IP protection for your product?
Where will your office be?
• What are the costs and regulatory burdens associated with ideal locations?
• Does your location align with your key considerations as a company?
• Should you locate in the usual startup hubs, or several other US metro areas?
Which taxes are you liable for?
• What federal taxes will you need to pay?
• What state and local level taxes will you need to pay?
How will you build a talented team in the US?
• How will you manage working in distributed teams?
• What state regulations and requirements apply to your business?
• What is your remuneration strategy in the US?
• How will you determine stock options for your employees?
• What benefits will you offer your team and how does this relate to your size and location?
• How will you manage your team culture?
How can you successfully fundraise in the US?
• Do you need a US investor, and can you get European funding?
• What are the expectations of US VCs?
• What experiences have European founders had in fundraising in the US?