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Guiding Questions

13 Nov 2018 By Octopus Ventures

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?



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?


Then Do

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?


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