If you ask most local business owners whether they would one day like to break into the international market, I’m quite sure that a good number of them will give the nod to the idea.
With lots of opportunities to be exploited, a shot at greater revenue, and ultimately, a chance to go global, many business minds have continually searched for ways to take their businesses onto the international fray.
However, despite the excitement and opportunities that abound, breaking into a foreign market – especially one with strict rules and regulations, like the US, is certainly not for the fainthearted.
For instance, while you can always walk into your local business in your home country to effect some changes when things aren’t working as they’re supposed to, there is really no barging into the US anytime you feel like.
Even if you’re lucky enough to get a hold of an ESTA visa, there is still a limit to how long you can spend in the country. But that’s not even the only challenge you have to put up with.
From beating the existing competition to making your business a mainstay, reaching the right audiences to proper marketing strategies, breaking into the US market is actually harder than it seems. However, that is not to say that it is impossible.
If it were so, there wouldn’t be any foreign business left standing in the country. In that light, here are the five strategies you need to establish a foothold in a country like the USA.
Franchising your brand
The US market is such an enormous one, so much so that the opportunities therein are boundless. As a foreign business owner looking to break into the US market, franchising is one of the fastest strategies you can adopt.
The US people live and work mostly by a code of trust, and as such, they’re more likely to patronize a brand or business they know and trust. To this end, franchising helps you break successfully into the market. This is how it works:
- You take your already successful brand (e.g., a mobile store or restaurant) into the country
- You allow small and medium scale business owners to open their own branches of your store – aka franchises
- The franchisees pay you a certain fee and sometimes a cut of the profits per year, then they keep the rest.
The beauty of franchising is that it helps you to break so fast into a market than you would have done on your own, while also affording you the opportunity of not investing too much.
This is another popular strategy that is in good practice in the US. It involves selling directly to the US market by getting your exported products into the appropriate US stores and watching to see how it does.
You’ll need to work closely with agents and distributors if you’re adopting this strategy, because they are the ones who understand fully well the market you’re targeting, and it would be far easier for them to pitch your products to the target audiences.
When you’re looking to break into a foreign market like the US market, partnering can come in diverse forms – you can partner with an agency to help with your marketing efforts, or you can partner with another brand to help with getting your products to the final consumers, or you can get a partner in the US who is just as invested in all facets of your business as you are.
Since you’re newly approaching the US market, why not try teaming up with a new or existing local business in the US too? In a JV (Joint Venture), partners link up and pull their resources together (usually a 50/50 system) in an attempt to fund and manage some sort of business project.
Usually, the two ventures stay separate from each other but work together on one particular venture to try and succeed. Finding a business brand in the US to team up with might be all you need to make a name for yourself in the country.
Buy an existing company
This is, by far, one of the easiest ways to break into the US market, and although it will surely cost you a fortune, it is always worth it in the end. If you look around you today, there are so many instances of foreign brands buying a local US company. With this strategy:
- You immediately claim market share
- Avoid certain investments you would have required if you were starting as an outright foreign business
- Tap into an existing customer base and brand loyalty
- Enjoy the same governmental treatment as a local firm.