How to Start Selling in the United States – 6 Things to Know
Are you thinking to take your business to the world’s largest economy, the United States; but are unsure of myriad factors to consider before getting started? Are you looking for some business opportunities in the United States but are clueless about where to start? Well, you are in the right place to collect all your answers related to doing business in the US.
It is good to expand your business across borders to increase your profits. However, a smart way to do this is by researching a bit about the country where you wish to expand. Knowing about the legal and tax systems of the place, the process of company registration and most importantly the culture of the place is very necessary to kick-start your business. Following this research, you can be sure to skyrocket your profits by selling products in the US.
Things to Remember While Doing Business in the US
I. The requirement of US Citizenship
The best part about doing business in the US with physical presence is that you do not need to be a US resident. For setting up a business in the US, you do not even need a US address or a green card. The procedure for incorporating a business in the US for a non-American citizen is similar to that for an American citizen. The most important thing to keep in mind here is to have the proper type of work visa for the non-American employees and owner/s working in the States. American visa laws are quite strict and are governed by the Federal Law, irrespective of the state you are working in.
Let us suppose there is an Indian IT start-up that wishes to expand in the US with physical existence in the country. The first thing they need to know is that they do not need US citizenship or green card to set up their business in the US. The next thing is to get work visas for the people who will be going to America to start the work.
II. Business Registration Laws
Before doing business in the US, it is important to understand the legal system of company registration. Being an American resident does not matter. What matters is where you are planning to incorporate your business. While looking for business opportunities in the US, you need to be aware of and adhere to parallel systems of laws at the national, state and local levels. However, there are areas subject to only federal laws but majorly state laws follow the national ones to start the business. Generally speaking, you need to file the required application documents to obtain the necessary license to start selling your products there. The best and easiest way to get through the challenging registration part is to hire a private legal counsel to help you with the legal systems.
To set up an office in any of the states of the US, it is best for the IT start-up to hire a team of legal experts and complete the registration and licensing process.
III. Individualist culture
The US scores 91 in individualism, one of the highest in the world. Moreover, it scores just 40 in power distance. Combined together, this indicates that Americans are accountable only to themselves and their direct families. Since power-distance is so less, individual opinions of elders in the family and higher authorities at the workplace do not matter much. In fact, for every decision in a family or in an organization, the opinion of the majority is considered. Hierarchy is present in society and in the organizations but just for convenience. Superiors are easily accessible and ready for a consultation, whenever required. The society is not as closely knit as that in India and people do not rely on elders or authorities for any kind of support.
All in all, individualistic culture signifies that relationships do not matter much to Americans. A deal is easy to crack with an American customer if your product is worth it. They do not mind interacting with or trading with strangers. They are go-getters and do not hesitate to approach anybody to take an important step towards accomplishment.
It is extremely important to understand the culture of US society. Unlike most cultures in the world, they do not believe in relationship building. The IT products of the start-up company should meet the quality and technology standards of the US. If their products are good, Americans would not hesitate to come back to them every time they need an IT solution. However, if the IT products and services are not up to the expectations of the locals, no relationship will be able to save their deal.
IV. Product worth
The US is a technologically advanced country. Americans have a habit of using sophisticated products that are both technically advanced and worth the price. They mostly rely only on trusted brands. Unless your product is well established and trusted either online or offline, you might not be able to sell your products in the US. Certain methods to make your product popular in the US are:
- Promote it online using testimonials. The IT company can start selling their products in the US by introducing the testimonials of some reputed Indian companies (or other MNC) on its web pages. Digital marketing is also a key player while introducing your products to a new market.
- If possible, introduce unique features exclusively for the Americans to compel them to buy your product. These could be to enhance the sophistication and technological advancement of your product. The Indian IT start-up striving to do business in the US can make its product compatible with iOS, as most Americans use gadgets from Apple. Moreover, giving their product some themes close to the Americans heart can steal the show for them.
- Include some demo or free trial period to develop the trust of your customers in your brand. The IT startup company can make its products available for a trial period of at least a month in order to gain trust in the brand.
V. Masculine society
American society is masculine in nature. This means that they focus on competition, achievements and success. Success means winning for them and they believe that a winner has it all. The society is up-front in showing up and discussing their success stories. Thus, they believe in a cutthroat competition to win. Hence, when dealing with such a society, one needs to keep in mind the following –
- Do not keep anything hidden. It is important to avoid any uncertainty in product features and its cost while doing business in the US.
- Market and sell your product in a way that establishes trust in it. Remember, they strive to be the best always.
- They do not expect you to build relationships while trading with them and expect you to believe in the same ideology. Hence, do not try to get even a bit personal while selling your products in the US.
- Americans believe in ‘Time is Money’ philosophy. They like the conversation to be short, straight and clear. They have absolutely no room for confusion and long conversations. One might lose a deal if he is unable to convey his thoughts clearly and concisely to an American.
For a society that focuses on incessant competition and victory, it is better to work your heart out in giving them nothing but the best. If the IT company needs to gain success in the US, they will have to develop new, exciting and attractive products on a regular basis. The Americans expect you to convey everything that concerns them honestly. Neither the loopholes of the product nor any charges should be hidden. The ultimate thing to remember is to be very professional with them.
VI. Selling products in the United States online
E-commerce is growing at a very fast pace and US online retail has shown a whopping growth of 16% in the year 2017. This is the highest rate since 2011. Therefore, if you plan to spread the wings of your business to the US without actually establishing an office there, it is now easily possible through online selling. The first step towards this could be looking for an e-commerce website to showcase your products. This should be the best fit as per your products and your target market. A vital thing to keep in mind while listing your products online for the US residents is that they would prefer to check the price in US Dollars. Similarly, sizes of apparels should also be in imperial measurements. For delivering your products timely and without any hustle bustle of the customs at the receiver’s port, it is best to hire a third-party logistics provider.
For the US, it is always possible to sell your products online. As said, the e-commerce industry is growing the fastest in the States. In case, the IT startup doesn’t have appropriate funds to physically access the Americans, online selling is always an option and the cheapest one as well. I cannot stress much on the fact that the most important thing is the product quality and nothing else.
Looking for business opportunities in the US is challenging. This is because their economy is number one in the world, they are technically way ahead than the rest of the world and their culture is almost completely opposite to most cultures in the world. Hence, it becomes difficult for sellers from outside the US to sell their products successfully in the US.
However, once you understand their culture and legalities to penetrate the American market, you can make your business flourish in the United States of America.
To gain a better understanding of all these factors, sales and business consultants are always there for your help. B2B sales consulting firms these days are well equipped and know exactly what needs to be done to launch your business on the correct platform. After all, the world’s largest economy will surely welcome a good businessperson with excellent business acumen whole-heartedly. And there you are ready to boom in the United States of America.