— or thinking of expanding into the United States —
1 Visas.- The first step in expanding your business into a foreign land is to know the visa requirements you might have. There is nothing worse than getting denied entry for lack of the proper paperwork. You might also need the proper paperwork in place if you are using installers from outside your destination country.
2 Legal.- What is the most efficient business structure for you? Do you need a holding company that owns your foreign enterprises? What ownership requirements are allowed and prohibited and under what terms and conditions? Can the entry be completely foreign owned or do you need a local partner?
3 Accounting.- What are the tax and compliance implications as you expand? How do you minimize your tax exposure but stay on the right side of the laws in both countries? Have you considered FBAR and FATCA? Is there an equivalent requirement in your destination country?
4 Human Resources.- There are few places in the world with labor laws that are as easy to navigate and as favorable to the employer as those in the United States. If you are not prepared, it can cause considerable delay and disruption in the execution of your strategy and cost a considerable amount of treasure.
5 Banking & Finance.- You don’t have any relationships with banks and need financing. Which banks will offer you the service package you need to support your business? Which ones offer financing and under what terms? Will currency fluctuations be a major concern? How do you get your money home?
6 Real Estate.- Location, location, location—it’s Rule #1 in real estate. Where are you going to plant your business? What traffic, crime, demographics, and infrastructure requirements do you have? Who are your competitors and where are they located? What exists that’s suitable, or will you have to build new?
7 Contractors.- Who can you trust to do your build-out? What is their reputation and experience? What permits are you going to require, how do you get them, and how long will you have to wait until you have them and are able to start? How are you going to ensure they are building to code?
8 Logistics.- How are you going to import or export your machinery, equipment, and inventory? Do you need experts to install and do they have the proper papers? What documentation and duties might be involved and how can they be minimized? Where are you going to warehouse and how will you transport?
9 Marketing.- Who do you want to have hear your message and how are you going to get that message out? There are language and customs to consider. What are the most cost effective ways of conveying that message? How do you position yourself favor- ably against the competition?
10 Facilitation You will need to have someone with local knowledge to ensure the best utilization of your time including; preventing prospective providers, organizing agendas and securing places to stay, meet, and eat. You don’t want to spend your time in traffic or in queues at government offices.