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The XAnge U.S. Expansion Playbook

Description

The ultimate guide for entrepreneurs thinking about a U.S. expansion

Type
📖 How-to Content
Category
An A-Z Guide
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Evaluate your own company’s maturity using our U.S. Readiness Assessment here: https://s.siparex-xange.com/usreadiness/

Did you know? More than 26 XAnge startups are active in the U.S. market or planning to be in 2023!

Because international expansion isn’t easy, and it’s tough to know when you should start focusing on a new market (especially one as large as the U.S.), we have made an interactive self assessment helps founding teams evaluate the maturity of their company with respect to the American market.

The following playbook is designed to help you in your decision making, and covers essential subjects such as the operation of your company, or the development of your product for the U.S. market.

Why We Believe in U.S. Expansion

As a market, the United States is six times bigger than France or Germany, with a common language, a common currency, and to some degree a common culture. It has the strongest Venture Capital network in the world and a dynamic economy, open to innovation and new products. In sum, it’s a great place to scale quickly. So, why wait to find the perfect product market fit in Europe before launching there, especially when you are building a B2B company?

That said, most of the time, entrepreneurs are advised to wait a bit before launching in the U.S. However, we believe it’s better to start preparing for the move as early as possible, even if your launch is delayed until after your Series B. Laying the foundation early can only help you in your journey and taking a future U.S. launch into consideration as early as possible is key to avoiding common mistakes in product strategy and recruitment.

🇺🇸 The U.S. Expansion Playbook

The following playbook is intended to provide you with the foundational knowledge necessary to progress with your plans to expand into the United States. This includes: in-depth information on each topic relevant to the U.S. market, additional resources for further research, recommended service providers and experts vetted by XAnge and its portfolio companies, and tips for successfully entering the U.S. market.

Management and Culture

The way you have built your company thus far is a major factor in determining the ease by which you expand internationally into the United States, or anywhere else. From the language you speak at work, to the reach of your investors’ network, and even your personal readiness to move to a new country—all play a role in defining what your road to the U.S. will look like.

Is English the primary language within your company?

Transitioning from a local company to an international one can often be rather challenging. It can be harder still if you’re trying to do it without having a company culture rooted in an international vision. Putting in place the right habits from day one is critical. You have to think internationally! If you know (or hope) that your company will expand internationally one day, your team, your product, and your marketing, all have to be built to switch to an international mode very quickly. This means:

  • Prioritizing the hiring of English speakers from day one.
  • Thinking about product features with an international lens, taking into account several languages and different use-cases by country.
  • Choosing a company name that works just as well in your local market as it does abroad.
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    "At the New York office, we asked the whole team to speak only English. As soon as someone spoke in French, they had to give $1. This is very important to maintain the company culture and team atmosphere. People who don't speak French may worry about French discussions and misinterpret them. I myself was very careful not to speak French and to try to appear as American as possible to set an example." - CEO & Founder of Series D Venture Backed Startup
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    TOOL BOX

    Here are a few simple actions you can put in place to help your team think internationally from Day 1:

    Host working sessions with your top management several times a year.
    Actively build your US network with local advisors, startups, and VCs.
    Conduct your local meetings and write your internal documentation in English.
    Prioritize testing a candidate’s English skills when hiring at all levels.
    Organize feedback sessions between your team and startups that have already launched in the US.
Imagine you don’t need a visa. Are you ready to move to the U.S. (with your family) within the next few months?

Based on our experience and on the real world results of our portfolio startups, we are comfortable saying that one of the founders has to go to the U.S. themselves. Don’t underestimate the risk of delegating too early, especially to someone who wasn’t there with you in the early days.

Why? Because launching in the U.S. is like launching a second startup. You will need someone who remembers the hard times and knows how you first did it in your local market.

This means you, a co-founder or first employee, need to be ready to move to the U.S. to kick start your local presence stateside. We are convinced that the chances of success are highest if a co-founder leads the charge. If you’re not ready to make the leap, well, that may be a problem.

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"You cannot understand the U.S. from abroad.” - Stéphane Bonjean, CEO of DynAdmic
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"The first difficulty is that the gap is big. The second one is that the first is always underestimated by the CEO. You can not understand the United States from afar.” - Nick Hernandez, CEO of 360Learning
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TOOL BOX

Relocation doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With the right preparation it can be easier than you think. Checklist: The First 3-Months in the U.S. - by HSBC

Podcast: How Startup Founders Are Moving to the U.S. - by Alcorn Immigration Law

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In the XAnge Ecosystem

Want to meet our experts? Startup Success resources are only available to our portfolio companies, but please get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

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Caroline Scemama-Zeitoun - Founder of Expat US

Want to discuss your relocation with Caroline, an expert in international relocation? Let us know. We’ll put you in touch!

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Isabelle Marcus - Founder of Columbus Consulting Group

Want to learn more about complex U.S. visa processes for you, your family or your employees? Let us know. We’ll put you in touch!

Have your investors already co-invested with U.S. investors?

With a few rare exceptions, even the largest European VCs aren’t widely known in the United States. Startups entering the U.S. will find it easier to recruit and do business in the country if they have the backing of a U.S. fund or investors with existing relationships in North America.

To ensure you are well positioned for the future and able to tap into an existing U.S. support network or move quicker on the ground, we recommend you:

  • Get a European VC onboard that maintains strong relationships with U.S. funds and that has a track record of supporting European companies expanding into the U.S.
  • Get a U.S.-based VC directly onto your cap table.

Often times, a VC will be able to open doors on the basis of their name and the strength of their reputation. This can help facilitate your initial relocation, hiring, market research, and early business development.

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XAnge has co-invested with over 15 top U.S. funds including USVP, Summit Partners, and Sumeru Equity Partners.
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Do your investors already have companies in the U.S.?

When building your business in the the U.S., any opportunity to accelerate your timeline will be valuable. If your investors have existing successful portfolio companies in the U.S., it will be easier to get feedback from these companies on how they made it work. We believe that much can be learned from the experience of others and that peer to peer learning is a great tool that all startups should leverage.

Should your investors have dedicated support resources like XAnge’s own Startup Success platform, inquire about how they can support your future U.S. expansion and who they can introduce you to. A few short conversations with the right people could save you money, time, and reduce the learning curve.

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This assessment, developed by the XAnge Startup Success Team, is a small sample of the in-depth resources XAnge provides to its portfolio startups. With the US market a high priority for many in our portfolio, we have amassed substantial knowledge on the subject with deep-dives into topics like HR, legal, relocation, taxes and more. Our Portfolio Companies Already in the U.S.
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TOOL BOX The Nine Most Active U.S. Investors in Europe by Amy O’Brian at Sifted

Market Knowledge

Before moving forward with expansion plans, it is crucial to thoroughly analyze the new market you are entering. This includes gaining a deep understanding of your clients, as they are essential to the success of your business. It is important to understand their attitudes and expectations, and to identify any differences between doing business in the United States and your local market. Consider how your go-to-market strategy may need to be adapted in order to succeed in the new market.

How well do you know your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in the U.S.?

The secret to a successful U.S. expansion is market segmentation combined with tailored messaging. To achieve consistent growth in the U.S. market, it is important to identify your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) through segmentation and then reach out to them with personalized, targeted messaging. This process should be scalable and repeatable.

To create an ICP, you need to conduct market research and customer surveys to identify your niche segment. Once you have identified this niche segment, it is important to gather consistent and relevant information by talking to 10 to 15 similar personas. This will help you build a playbook for targeting this segment with messaging that is appropriate for them.

Before launching your solution in the U.S. market, it is essential to thoroughly investigate the market to ensure that your product or service is well-suited to the needs and preferences of your U.S. customers. It might be a long flight and seem like a great idea at the outset, but a one-week immersion trip isn’t likely to be enough to strengthen your convictions.

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Does your product have market superiority over your U.S. competitors?

One of the most often overlooked steps in positioning your business is competitor research. Conducting a high-level competitor analysis helps your company understand its position in the market and gain insights into how the competitive landscape will influence your future strategy. In other words, when it’s done, you should be able to explicitly describe how you are new, different, and better than than your competition.

Marketing in its current form originated in the United States and nowhere is marketing done better. Looking through your competitor's website, reading a press release, or skimming a few news articles is never going to be sufficient and you are unlikely to get an in-depth understanding of how your fiercest competitors position themselves.

It’s important to go deeper and investigate what’s really happening behind the scenes. Leverage your network and techniques like mystery shopping to organize demo calls. Use these as an opportunity to ask questions that hurt, and try to hone in on their focus, their value proposition, their real strengths, and of course, weaknesses too. Be prepared to share these insights with your whole team so everyone is on the same page.

Americans also love sharing reviews. Take the time to analyze customer reviews whenever possible. For software companies, websites like Capterra or G2 are a fantastic resource.

Finally, you cannot be judge and jury. It’s up to your customers and leads to tell you your product is better. If you think your product’s features are appealing and will meet the needs of your users, and that your user research generates strong evidence to back this claim up, then don’t hold back. Go for it.

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TOOL BOX

Positioning Your Startup is Vital — Here’s How to Nail It - by Arielle Jackson, First Round Review How to create a competitive analysis (with examples) - by Asana

Does your product have a clearly defined Unique Selling Point (USP)?

In Europe, particularly in France and Germany, the more features you pitch to a client, the more you will sell. In the U.S., the opposite is true. The fewer features you present, the more specialist you are perceived and the more you will sell.

In Europe, there is a focus on providing customers with a wide range of options and features to choose from. This approach is based on the belief that the more options a customer has, the more likely they are to find something that suits their needs and preferences. As a result, salespeople in Europe often pitch a large number of features to potential customers in order to showcase the breadth of their offerings.

In contrast, the U.S. market tends to value specialization and expertise. American consumers are often willing to pay a premium for high-quality products or services that are provided by experts in a particular field. As a result, salespeople in the U.S. often focus on highlighting the unique features and benefits of their products or services, rather than presenting a long list of options.

In a nutshell, it can be beneficial to begin with the smallest possible version of a product, release it, and then grow it based on user feedback. This approach is opposite to the usual European approach of building the "perfect" product that has something for everyone.

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TOOL BOX What is a unique selling proposition? - by Donney Kelwig, Zendesk

Market Size and Fit

Deciding if the United States is the right market for your business to expand into is not a simple task. In addition to understanding the differences between your local market and the U.S. market in terms of customer needs, it is important to consider your potential for growth in the new market.

What % of your Total Addressable Market (TAM) is in the U.S.?

To determine if the U.S. market is significant for your business, you need to calculate your Total Addressable Market (TAM). This is the maximum revenue you can generate by selling your product or service in a specific market. There are two generally accepted approaches to this calculation, but it's important to avoid using proxies like population, GDP, or number of small businesses as a basis. Keep this in mind when determining your TAM.

The top-down approach uses industry data, market reports, and research studies to establish your TAM, where the bottom-up approach is a calculation based on your Annual Contract Value (ACV) or expected ACV. You have to multiply your ACV by the total number of potential customers. The more specific you are in defining who your customers are, the more accurate your resulting TAM will be.

In our experience, most VCs consider the U.S. market attractive as a second step if the U.S. represents more than 50% of your global TAM. For software companies in particular, proving that you can win over clients in the highly competitive U.S. market is an important step towards building a great company and moving towards an IPO or other liquidity event.

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In the XAnge Ecosystem
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Emmanuel Lebot - Regional VP at Coupa Software Want to discuss your relocation with Emmanuel, an expert in international relocation? Let us know. We’ll put you in touch!

From your customers' perspective, is your product's payback period shorter in the U.S. than in Europe?

If you’re considering expanding into the United States, pricing should be the cornerstone of your US strategy. US customers are obsessed with the payback period and you should generally aim to bring it down as low as possible.

Contrary to the theory, a price should not only be a result of an economic problem. It represents an investigatory challenge and reflects your capacity to understand the real value you’re generating for your customers.

In order to define their pricing and payback, management should spend hours with potential customers and technicians, asking numerous specific questions about their business. This very important step should allow you to define the payback period with accurate economics and no assumptions.

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“Companies fixate on the gap between their production cost and their price, instead of focusing on the gap between their price and the value customers think they deliver, a concept known as real value and perceived value. ” -Michael Dearing, Founder of Harrison Metal
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TOOL BOX Pricing is The Backbone of Your U.S. Strategy - by Julien Le Drogo, The Big Bang Factory How to Calculate and Reduce the Payback Period - by Paddle

Principles of Pricing - By Notion Capital

Product

Before entering any new market, it’s important to know whether your product is a suitable match for your future customers, and to truly understand the competitive landscape you’re getting into. It can also be challenging figuring out how to divvy up resources between your local market and your expansion market—especially with respect to product development and localization.

Does your product solve the same problem in the U.S. as in your local market?

It is important to distinguish between the "nice to have" and the "must have". In order to understand a prospect's real pain points, it is necessary to interview them and find out where they are struggling and determine the depth and urgency of their needs.

Talking to experts in the field can help to provide an initial idea about whether the pain points you address in your local market are similar to those in the US. However, one-on-one interviews with the same persona in a posture of active listening, rather than selling, are the best way to objectively compare markets. If your interviews reveal shared problems, this is excellent news and a positive sign for growth in the new market.

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"You need to be conscious that we don’t know how to ‘go-to-market’ as well as the Americans: a Frenchman will build a solution hoping that his customers understand it, where an American will build a product around a customer’s need. This is one of those cultural obstacles.” - CEO & Founder of Series D Venture Backed Startup
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TOOL BOX

Are You Solving the Right Problem? - by Dwayne Spradlin, Harvard Business Review The Complete Guide to Customer Interviews That Drive Product-Market Fit - by Stellex Group

Is your product ready to be deployed into the U.S. market?

Spoiler: translating does not work. You need to think of your product and of its roadmap as being international from the get-go, in line with your global ambitions (think modular and adaptable to as many geographical areas as possible). It can be simple things such as multi-language support, or go much deeper to fit each local culture.

In short, localization isn’t just about the written or spoken language you communicate in. You need to take into account the subtle cultural particularities and wider trends that match your destination market across everything you do, from communications to product development.

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"To sound like an American, it’s not just about the accent, it’s about the cultural codes. To be one of them, you have to spend time in the USA, even before settling down, to immerse yourself in American culture (sports, TV culture, diners...). This is especially necessary for recruiting, as French entrepreneurs will be implicitly tested on these aspects by the best candidates." - CEO & Founder of Series D Venture Backed Startup
Having gathered several insights from your ICP in the U.S., would you be able to reprioritize your short-term product road-map?

A common dilemma for many startups is whether to prioritize domestic expansion, or make a hard push for the US market in their product roadmap. Whatever the decision, it almost always results in substantial organizational change. You need to decide whether to build new product capabilities quickly, or whether to maintain focus on existing markets that are (in some cases) generating 100% of your revenue.

In other words, if you find that more than 50% of your global TAM is in the United States, and your rigorous user research has generated consistent insights about key feature needs for common use-cases, you should be able to re-prioritize your product roadmap in the very short term. Use the RICE (Reach Impact Confidence Effort) approach to help you make these decisions as rationally as possible. Even if you all agree, and despite all your efforts and disciplined user research, you may find yourself making a decision based on intuition and gut instinct.

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"What works in France, won't work in the United States, but what works in the United States will work in France.” - Matt Rauscher, Founder of Nituno

Traction & Sales

Entering a new international market can be similar to starting a business from scratch. In terms of sales and market traction, you may not have the same level of recognition as you do in your home market and may need to build a professional and personal network from scratch. You may also be unfamiliar with the sales cycle in the United States as you will be entering a highly competitive market with a lot to learn.

We will give you a ticket to fly to the U.S. for one week. Are you able to set up 10 meetings with decision makers from your top U.S. targets?

Building a strong network of business contacts in the United States can be crucial for entrepreneurs and investors who are looking to grow their businesses in the country. However, many people underestimate the difficulty of building a network from scratch, particularly if they are outsiders to the country. It can take time to expand your reach organically, and being an outsider can sometimes make it more difficult to connect with the right people.

This is why it can be so valuable to come to the United States with your own private network. We have seen how having prior experience with U.S. companies, or even studying in the U;S., can provide entrepreneurs and investors with a great platform to quickly jump-start their businesses in the country, thanks to their existing network.

Building contacts in the U.S. is often considered to be far easier than in many other countries because Americans tend to be less apprehensive about meeting new people. However, don’t forget to take into account the substantial cultural differences between your local market and the U.S. Confrontation and emotion are likely expressed differently and trust earned in ways that you may not be familiar with.

To boost the growth of your US network:

What does your sales traction look like in the U.S.?

Venture capital firms in the United States often find that generating revenue in the country is not particularly difficult. Americans tend to be open to trying new products and innovations, and are generally less risk-averse than customers in other parts of the world, such as Europe.

However, simply generating revenue is not enough to be considered successful in the eyes of most VCs. In order to truly gain traction, a startup must be able to demonstrate that it has developed a repeatable business model. This means that the company has figured out a way to consistently generate revenue from a specific customer base, and can replicate this success with other customers as well.

One way to demonstrate repeatability is by developing an evidence-driven playbook that focuses on the specific needs and pain points of a particular customer segment, known as the "Ideal Customer Profile" or ICP. By understanding the decision-making processes of this customer group, a startup can tailor its sales and marketing efforts to effectively target and convert these customers.

In short, for startups seeking VC funding in the U.S., having a repeatable business model and a clear understanding of their ICP are crucial to proving that they have traction in the market. Without these, even a company with strong revenue may not be considered a good investment.

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"The American salesperson is a salesperson who is going to be much less creative than a European salesperson. He is going to map an account [...] and then deliver a pitch." - Nicolas Hernandez, CEO of 360 Learning
What is the sales cycle like in the U.S. vs. in your local market?

The sales cycle will vary from business to business, but it is important to understand the typical time it takes to educate a prospect and the length of time a prospect needs to decide whether to purchase your product or service. A sales cycle analysis can help you identify bottlenecks, such as approval delays or low conversion rates from discovery meetings to proposals.

It is essential to track your metrics and insist on the importance of detailed monitoring with your teams. Removing unexpected events from your analysis can help you ensure that you are collecting only relevant data. Knowing the ins and outs of your Ideal Customer Profile's decision-making and purchase process is key to making accurate predictions and optimizing your marketing investments and sales recruiting.

Overall, the shorter your sales cycle, the better. Conducting a thorough sales cycle analysis and monitoring your metrics can help you identify areas for improvement and optimize your sales strategy for success in the U.S. market.

Also, as you build your experience in this new market, take note of the differences in the sales cycle in the U.S. vs. in your local market.

Operations

There are numerous operational considerations to take into account when running a business, and many of these will impact your company's international expansion. This may include the ability to invest sufficient funds in a potentially expensive market, or the readiness to establish a local customer service team. Operational matters are central to establishing a presence in the United States.

Has your marketing plan already been adapted to the U.S. market?

When expanding into the United States, it is important to carefully consider your marketing strategy. Simply copying and pasting materials from your existing marketing plan is unlikely to be effective in this new market. Instead, you should take the time to research and understand the unique characteristics and preferences of U.S. consumers.

Review all sales and marketing materials to ensure they are appropriate for the U.S. market, which may require working with a specialized agency or consultant. The investment (potentially significant) in adapting your materials can lead to increased sales and customer engagement.

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While settling in the U.S., it’s very important to fit your marketing strategy to the American culture. A simple translation of your content will not do the trick. You need to adapt it to the standards of the U.S. market. Nicolas Rose - Partner at XAnge
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“We reworked all our media in less than 3 months with the help of a specialized agency for about 100K€. This was an essential investment that helped us sign 47 clients in 9 months.” -Arthur Saint-Père, CEO of Dolead
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TOOL BOX

The minimum viable marketing package includes:

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In the XAnge Ecosystem
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Julien Le Drogo - Founder of Big Bang Factory

Want to discuss your U.S. marketing package and go-to-market strategy with Julien? Let us know. We’ll put you in touch!

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Dave Rosenberg - SVP Field and Product Marketing, Oracle Want to deep dive into your marketing with Dave? Let us know. We’ll put you in touch!

How much cash can you invest in the U.S. without compromising local Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)?

You need to be realistic! The United States is a large country, roughly five times the size of France and three times the size of Germany. It has a vast talent pool that is used to generous compensation packages. If you are serious about making a big impact in the U.S., you will likely need to invest more than €1 million upfront. The cost of setting up should be appropriate to what is at stake, and it is important to be realistic about the resources that will be required.

U.S. expansion can be a significant investment, but it also offers the potential for significant rewards. It is important to carefully consider the resources that will be required and to develop a realistic plan for achieving success in this market.

Here's how much our portfolio companies raised prior to their first year in the U.S.

360 Learning
AB Tasty
DynAdmic
Dolead
Odoo
9M€
17M€
5M€
13M€
10M€
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"Covering the United States was twice as expensive as covering the United Kingdom and Italy (which are easier to access). However, the opportunity for value creation is 40 times greater." - Arthur Saint-Père, CEO of Dolead
Are you able to set up a U.S. customer support team in 1 month (native speaker in U.S. time zone)?

In the US, in particular, customer retention is much cheaper than customer acquisition. Many EU businesses are reluctant to spend money on customer success before generating leads. This is a mistake! Closing a deal in the US can be demanding but quick, but churn is even quicker. Investing in your customer success team today creates more breathing room for your opportunities tomorrow.

Furthermore, when recruiting your US sales team, highlight that you have a native English technical support team available in a US time zone that’s able to offer consistent replies within 24 hours. This can be an invaluable bonus when hunting for top sales talent.

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“The seeds of customer success should be planted early, before even finding product/market fit. For companies to start testing new markets, it's crucial to make customer support obsession a true, load-bearing pillar, rather than a decorative talking point”. - Rick Nucci, CEO and Co-Founder of GURU
Are you able to recruit senior employees (C-level) to run your U.S. office?

Language isn’t the only hurdle you will face when looking to build your team in a new country. From differences in working culture to a much more fluid labor pool, hiring senior talent (especially in sales) can be far more complex than what you’re used to in your local market. Recognize the fact that you are a small fish in a big pond and that name recognition for European startups is often non-existent.

Ensure your employment contracts, compensation and benefits plans, and HR structure are well defined early on and that you are able to respond to any questions that might arise. Whether you invest time and money into creating a U.S. subsidiary straight away, or you go through a global Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or an Employer of Record, you need the right foundation to build on. For the most sought after talent, you will also need to be proactive in your efforts to convince them to join your fledgling team and be capable of providing them with a clear picture of salary (including bonus structure), benefits, and career opportunities.

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“The reputation of a French startup in the US is the same as that of an Estonian startup in France.“ - Arthur Saint Père, CEO of Dolead
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TOOL BOX

To attract the best U.S. talent:

Build a consistent compensation policy with stock options for local subsidiaries. → You can use PEO like WorkMotion (XAnge family) to deal with employee benefits and be compliant with local regulation.
Choose an attractive office location and consider secondary cities like Boston or Atlanta on the East coast. → Co-working spaces like WeWork are a great way to get set up for less.
Develop your employer branding with best-in-class employee experience in mind. 10 Unique Employer Branding Initiatives - by Ekta Capoor, Amazing Workplaces
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In the XAnge Ecosystem
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WorkMotion - We manage global payroll, social benefits & taxes. 100% legally compliant.

Want to speak with the WorkMotion team? Let us know! We’ll put you in touch.

We will provide you with a business lead ready to close. How long will it take for your sales team to send them a proposal?

It's generally a good idea to send a proposal for new services or products as quickly as possible after a potential customer expresses interest. This shows the customer that you are responsive and eager to do business with them. Additionally, the sooner you send a proposal, the sooner the customer can review it and make a decision. This can help speed up the sales process and increase the chances of closing the deal.

Of course, it's important to make sure that the proposal is well-written and accurately reflects the services or products you are offering. You don't want to send a rushed proposal that contains errors or is incomplete. Take the time to carefully review and polish your proposal before sending it to the customer.

As for how long is too long, it really depends on the situation. If a potential customer expresses interest in your services or products and you don't send a proposal for several weeks, they may lose interest or decide to go with a competitor. In general, it's best to send a proposal as soon as possible, but always make sure it's a high-quality proposal that accurately reflects your offerings.

The same business lead is ready to test your product. Are you able to provide them with a trial version, sandbox, or product sample?

As a product owner, you need not only to be able to deliver a sophisticated product but also to prepare an easy way to help your clients test it as soon as possible. If you have a lead and there are pain points to solve, they will want to test your product as soon as possible. You can't afford to wait 24 hours before sending a summary of your conversation and a link to test the product.

Also, there is a cultural gap between Europe and US, which is even more pronounced in California. People in the US love testing new products by themselves. As part of your sandbox, you should ensure your prospects have access to an exhaustive resource library, including videos and written documentation to support their experience.

Finally, when someone needs to try the product, make sure the sandbox is ready to be sent within 24 hours; responsiveness is the key to hooking your first customer, so anticipate it.

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"The American is not bothered by the fact that you have not been in the market for a long time. [...] They love innovation, they are very curious, so it's an asset you have to play with.” - Richard Lamure, CEO of Topsolid.
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TOOL BOX

Tips for ensuring your sandbox is customer ready and functional:

  • Build a resource library with onboarding videos and product documentation
  • Ask for the job titles and names of participants
  • Define the success criteria
  • Set up a call with the testers of the sandbox before providing access
A prospect or potential partner is interested in doing business with you. Are your contracts and legal materials ready?

The U.S. is a far more litigious environment than Europe. This means that there are more lawyers and they are more open to taking on cases. Only 1% of all commercial litigation in the ever goes to trial, and the remaining 99% of cases are settled out of court. Litigation in the U.S. is often a war of financial attrition, with the party with more resources more likely to win a settlement. Keep in mind that legal systems and business practices can vary by state, so it may be necessary to tailor your contracts to the specific state where you'll be doing business.

It's also worth noting that using translation tools like Google Translate or DeepL is not an acceptable solution for legal contracts or terms and conditions. If not drafted properly, a European company can become vulnerable to damages and losses that far exceed the value of the contract they secured in the first place. To ensure your contracts are enforceable and compliant, consider having them audited by a lawyer, especially your Terms and Conditions, Non-Disclosure Agreements, employment contracts, and key sales contracts. It may be easier and cheaper to start from scratch rather than trying to adapt existing documents.

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"The cultural gap with America is greater than the cultural gap with China." - Nicolas Hernandez - CEO of 360 Learning
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TOOL BOX USA Legals: The Need-To-Know Critical Facts Laid Bare - by Tom Thorelli, Thorelli & Associates

Doing Business in the United States: The Laws You Should Know - by Jonathan Bench and Nadja Vietz, Harris Bricken Legal Guide for Startup Founders in the USA 2022 - by Buzko Krasnov Legal