As Head of the Technology and Digital Practice at EO Executives, I always find it interesting to learn about the career journeys many of my contacts have been on and the challenges they have faced along the way.
Linking to more recent current affairs and industry trends, one of the most relevant conversations I have been having is around what Brexit will mean for UK businesses wanting to launch into new territories. As it stands, most larger organsiations benefit from remaining within the European Union because it is easier to trade around the world. However, despite Brexit the UK is always going to be a large player in key trader relationships. The British press has also been focusing heavily on the 'special relationship' the UK has with the United States, and what this means for business relations between the two countries in the future.
So, will more businesses be planning a move to the US?
Working with Technology leaders makes this 'special relationship' even more interesting, especially as London and Silicon Valley, San Francisco are two of the biggest technology hubs.
To get to grips on how this could play out, I recently met with Global Technology CEO, Richard Betts to uncover his story around how he successfully launched his business into the United States. Focusing on how to best prepare for new markets and ensure your product can survive in the US technology space.
With a strong reputation within the B2B Technology sector for transforming businesses into profitable enterprises, and a background in sales & marketing with industry-leading brands such as Ericsson, Nortel and Mitel, Richard seemed like the perfect person to talk to a around this subject.
Richard shares a quick snapshot of the key lessons he has learned from making the critical decisions that bought him success and led him to crossing the Atlantic to set up a new business.
What key advice you would give someone considering a launch into the United States?
Having moved my family to the United States for five years and successfully starting-up a technology business, it is safe to say I have learned several key lessons. The most important of which is to remember that no matter what country you relocate into, just because you may speak the same language (or close to the same) you can never assume we do things the same.
Everything is different...
From buying a house, placing the children into school, to sorting healthcare/ insurance, there is a lot for the family to climatise to. However, when it comes to launching a business into new terrain there are four fundamental areas you need to be prepared for.
- Do not attempt to boil the ocean. The US market is geographically and normally economically massive, but do not try to work with it all. Be selective both in geography and vertical markets, build references and grow from that. It is easy to be a busy fool, you just need to remember to stay focused.
- The Sales channel is critical. Again, you need to be selective and work with the right channel. Not everyone says 'yes', you need to nurture and support them as if they are an end user. If you make it easy for them to be successful and lower all the barriers to market, guess what, you will be successful.
- You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure your product or service is ready. You can not afford to have customer support issues, both in terms of support costs and reputation. It is a tough market to crack but almost impossible if you are working hard to fix issues rather than grow the business.
- Price is King- make sure you can compete with the competition on price, negotiations can be hard, and price is normally the deciding factor, it is a fact of life in the US.
Of course, there are many more issues to deal with and a lot of detail to get through but if you do not have the four we have addressed, it will be an upward struggle.
If your business is looking to expand into the US and you would like to discuss this further, Richard would be happy to help.
You can connect with Richard directly on LinkedIn here.
In the meantime, you might be interested in the following:
- Challenge Is the New Norm for MD’s, Owners and Founders of SME’s- So Learn to Manage It.
- 5 Tips for Hiring a Luminary Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
- What Does it Take to Lead an Organisation to Success? Exclusive Q&A with CEO of CMME