Expanding into the US Market
Work with a trusted partner in the United States
Know how to surround yourself with specialists on-site. Find one or several partner(s) to help you with strategic planning, commercial or logistical support. A local partner on the ground is invaluable when it comes to expansion. Not only will this person or US entity be a great point of contact on the ground, but they can also provide first-hand knowledge of the American market, connections with business partners, or prospective clients. In addition, you can also tap into other various resources available such as the Chambers of Commerce, which will help you learn more about the market and help connect you with valuable experts.
Due diligence: do your Research
First, analyze the local market and its specificities. It is important to prepare for your expansion ahead of time. For example, keep business and political environments in mind which could have an impact on tax and tariff policies for example. It is also crucial to understand cultural and business differences between the US market and your country of origin. Research and select the best market to start with based on your target audience, regulatory requirements, competitiveness, geography, and logistics. The U.S. is not a homogenous market. It is a complex market. You can have different regulations in different states. It is highly fragmented so you should adapt your sales and marketing tools accordingly. In short, you need to have a solid understanding of the opportunities and the challenges for your business before launching your development.
Budget for your expansion
Make sure your costs are in control and budgeted for (e.g. distribution costs, margins, and marketing budgets). Expansion into the U.S. can be more expensive than expected so having a good marketing budget can make a huge impact on your company. It is important to make projections and plan ahead. Before you start investing, make sure you have the necessary financial resources to support your launch or development.
Understand customs regulations, laws and documentation requirements
It is important to ensure that your labels comply with regulations. Pay attention to tariffs and laws governing your product category. Documentation should be in English and should contain necessary enclosures such as invoices, packing lists, airway bills, customs declaration forms to name a few.
Choose the right export model for your company
Carefully study and evaluate the best distribution channels to suit your expansion blueprint. Is it best to go through an importer, an agent, or to hire a local business developer for your company? Should you set up your own US subsidiary? There are different ways in which you can set your company up in the U.S. You can choose to set up a branch office or create a subsidiary as long as it is relevant to your business and objectives. Moreover, E-commerce presents enormous opportunities for any startups or established brands. This trend has been on the rise year after year and even more so during the pandemic months. It is an important part of any F&B business model today and something to consider for your expansion strategy. As online retail is becoming increasingly more important in the U.S., if you do not have a good online presence, you will need to step up your game.
Remember, to sell in the United States, you must have a solid knowledge of the sales process for your product(s), an excellent marketing strategy for market penetration, and a communication plan adapted to the customer demand.
Don’t forget, preparation is key! This is a great time to prepare your development: take advantage of this opportunity! Involve the whole company in the export process.
This #MemberInsights article was authored by FACC Member, Mike Arresta, Managing Director at Impact Business Development. If you are looking to launch in the US market, Mike and his team are here to help you! Contact them at email@example.com or connect with Mike on LinkedIn to start the conversation!