Having success in your home market is always a great feeling, but for a European startup, there is more success to be had in foreign markets. One of the most exciting markets for most European businesses is the U.S. market because it is a unique chance to realize exponential financial growth and heightened credibility. It also comes with a whole new base of American customers who are ever-consuming new and innovative products and services. This is why you should want to scale your business from Europe to the U.S.
Before the expansion into new territory, you need to be a successful business, and that requires much more than just a good product or idea. Being critical and doing your homework is important. Is your big idea already out there? Look into your target market and closest competitors to ensure there’s a market and a need for your product. You cannot grow in an already saturated market. Once you have done all your careful preparation, you can start your expansion.
In my own case, I did my market research and concluded that there is an expanding market for soccer in the U.S. Although the United States continues to gain momentum in the fan base and popularity, it’s no secret that Europe dominates the sport on a global level. As an entrepreneur servicing the soccer industry and looking to scale internationally, it was glaringly clear that making the move from the Netherlands to the U.S. was a no-brainer. The time is now to expand the sport’s visibility on a massive scale. Since we already had a proven growth strategy utilizing digital media to appeal to a diverse customer base with engaging and relatable content, we took the next step and opened offices in the two largest U.S. markets: New York and Los Angeles.
Business strategies for taking your business from Europe to the U.S.
- Networking and building lasting relationships. Do your best to build reciprocal relationships with entrepreneurs who have extensive experience in international business expansion as this will prove immeasurable. Make sure the relationship is a win-win for both parties so there is a strong foundation to build on. Do your own extensive research to examine your industry’s market size, competition, revenues and pricing strategy. Then use active networking to connect with like-minded businesses and compare go-to-market strategies. Learn from their mistakes so you do not have to make the same.
- Go global when the time is right. Most businesses do not become a success overnight. Put in the work on your home market before you try to expand to other markets. Global expansion requires vast financial resources and a functioning network. Carefully analyze the many factors that are impacting socio-economic conditions in the market you want to expand to before starting the process. COVID-19 and its harsh consequences for businesses are an obvious example of an unexpected and unprecedented situation that has put all markets under financial hardship, but staying on top of factors that can impede the consumer’s ability and willingness to engage with your product will help direct the right-timing for your move. Make sure you have enough capital for things that are out of your hands before you expand your business from Europe to the U.S.
- Digital media is your international friend. We live in a super-digital world where the value of visibility is priceless. It’s no longer what you know, but who you know. Even more importantly, it’s who knows you. Digital media is expanding brand visibility and driving consumer activity in ways we never dreamed possible. You need to secure visibility for your business and brand by using the right platform, content and influencers. If done right, you can quickly attract millions of subscribers and billions of views, causing revenues to skyrocket. Make the effort to create engaging and professional content that’s relatable and relevant to a global audience.
- Patience is a virtue. We live in a fast-moving world where we are used to quick results and fast business growth driven by social and digital media. But one cannot forget that exponential returns do not happen overnight. Be patient, stick to your plan and do not rush. Lifecycles exist for a reason, and all stages of your plan need to play out fully in its own due time – even if waiting is frustrating.
About the author
Danny Cortenraede is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder & CEO of DC Venture Capital Partners. In addition, he is the President and Managing Partner of Wannahaves, a first-class digital media agency, and their platform 433, the biggest digital sports content brand globally! The companies have more than 55 million followers and more than 1 billion views per week across their platforms. They started in Amsterdam and recently expanded to the U.S. in New York and Los Angeles, where Danny currently resides with his wife and sons.