Realise the American dream with your UK business

By: Rachael Matthews

Date: 19 November 2018

Realise the American dream with your UK businessDespite the huge growth of China, the US is still arguably the world's largest economy. It's obvious why expanding there is a goal for many UK businesses.

In reality, of course, it's not - and should not be - that simple. Undoubtedly, expansion to the US could be the making of many a business, but only when sound analysis has indicated it is the way to go. Vanity or broad-brush assumptions will never form the basis for business success.

Analysis of the market for your specific product or service and establishing your USP would have been at the heart of your business initially, and those same questions must be posed before you commit to expansion anywhere - the US included. Once those signs are right, that age-old American dream can truly be yours.

Here's what to bear in mind.

The US is not one single market

One of the first things to be aware of when considering making the business leap across the Atlantic is that the US is not one single market.

Whilst shared history, culture, a common language and strong underlying political relations have some universality from state to state, GDP for each varies widely. As highlighted in the US Chamber of Commerce's Innovation That Matters report, each state has its own niches, specialist professions and industries and, as a result, talent in certain fields.

Success will result from considering these nuances and selectively targeting individual states.

Is your business ready to expand to the US?

There are a number of signs that your business needs the room to grow created by expanding into the US.

For example, if your business has scaled significantly in the last three to five years but, though business is good, securing further growth is now challenging, a bigger pool may be just what you need.

Take a look also at your sales data, website traffic and global interest in your products or services, which may well reveal the US market is already waiting for you.

If you have existing contacts in the US either in terms of prospective employees or customers, of course, this, though not key, is another incentive.

Benefiting from the established US-UK trade relationship

It's a secret to no-one that many Americans love the British, the British accent, our nation's history, conventions and royal family.

Whilst, if your business sells an overtly British product or service there's a great argument for further exploration of the American market for that reason alone, the trading relationship between the US and UK is far less superficial and deeply ingrained than that.

The US remains the largest importer of British goods. With the pound remaining weak against the dollar, UK goods and services are more accessible to US consumers than ever.

Proactively manage the risks

Creating a US subsidiary allows businesses to branch out with reduced risk.

As an incorporated entity, owned by the parent company but legally distinct from it for tax purposes, a subsidiary acts as a US company - meaning you'll only pay US tax on activities conducted there. The drawback is the expense, time and complexity of setting up a subsidiary.

There's a market in services that create middle-ground solutions, such as the Employee Management Service offered by Foothold America, and third-party organisations that can advise on the legal and technical points you'll need to consider. Appointing one of them may well be the key to ensuring expansion to the US is the making of your business.

Copyright © 2018 Article was made possible by site supporter Rachael Matthews