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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on April 29, 2016

Five Things to know before your company takes the plunge

Low_Dollar_Tempts_Businesses_to_Expand_to_the_US.pngIn recent months, with the falling Canadian ‘Loonie’, many of our clients have been considering expanding their presence in the US and have come to us for help reworking their marketing plan.

 

Here are 5 important things to consider before expanding into the US market:

  1. Create a Cross-Cultural Marketing Plan

So how do you market your company in another country? Create a cross-cultural marketing plan that targets that country’s audience or audiences. Here are some things that your plan must cover:

  • Cultural Differences:

    In order to be successful in the US or any other country you must first understand the cultural differences between your own country and the country within which you want to operate. This includes different colours and symbols that may have different meanings in different countries and cultures.

  • Regional Laws:

    There are regional laws in the US that can affect several aspects of your business. For example, the US has specific guidelines and regulations put in place by the government for contests and sweepstakes. The advertising of some products in the US, such as pharmaceuticals, must be approved by a specific governing body. Also, products sold in the US are subject to US federal and regional product development laws.

  • Localize:

    Localize, localize, localize! Make sure that your online presence including your website, social media, Google business profile and PPC are targeted to the United States. This will ensure that you are picked up in search engine queries by American customers.
  1. Tax Consequences

Under U.S. domestic tax law, any non-resident, whether an individual or corporation, that has income that is “effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States” is subject to U.S. federal tax.

Make sure that you check with your accountant or business planner to be sure you understand the implications of federal, state and local taxes that will be applied to your company and how you can mitigate them.

  1. Shipping Across the Border

Manufacturing companies, including some of our clients, have to consider how best (and quickly!) ship their products across the border while complying with pro-trade agreements, customs regulations, security mandates and duties/fees. This involves having permits, a customs broker to speed up the process and an understanding of how to collect and pay taxes.

  1. Made in the USA

Be aware that some Americans prefer to work with Americans. Outsourcing is no longer as effective as it used to be and companies are pulling jobs back to the US. Sometimes it is a political issue or a belief system that it is better to keep revenue within their own country.

Be prepared for reluctance from some companies to provide business and employment outside of America.

  1. Office, Partner or Flow Across the Border?

How do you intend to make your business work in the US and what will you need? Will you open an office or just flow across the border as necessary? Or will you find a partner? Such strategy decisions could fill several blog posts! Again, it’s best to seek advice and do research. To test the situation, it may be easier just to work across the border.


 

Starting with these five tactics will position your business correctly in the global marketplace and you will be well on your way to successfully expanding into the United States of America.

Ready to get started on your cross-cultural marketing strategy? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you take the leap.

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