Global Start-Up Expansion: Landing your First North American Client

Deciding to move to a new country is rarely an easy decision. When you are looking to move and start up a business at the same time, you must really be a go-getter. Starting a business comes with many learnings, costs, and experiences that change your life, and trying to do it in a country without a solid support system is setting yourself up for trouble. 

If you are looking to open the North American headquarters for your start-up, there are a few things you can do to help prepare yourself for the move. Research the market, and client, and consider even interviewing a couple of potential clients before you you build your roadmap to North America. Not sure what your next steps are? We’re here to help.

An Introduction to Canadian Business Culture

While India may be the 7th largest country in the world by population, Canada is the second largest in space. These two countries are vastly different in terms of culture and lifestyle, but they both include a wide range of cultures and are politically stable, with well-developed economies that attract foreign investment. 

In 2021, Canada was ranked the best place in the world to do business, mainly due to our highly skilled talent pool and the soft infrastructure in place to help businesses operate. One of the reasons companies have lagged in doing international business with developing nations is because of ‘institutional voids’, services that we take for granted in the North American market. 

Canada and India business differences

But, increased service, connectivity, and resources do come with additional bureaucracy and red tape, with a corporate tax rate in Canada of nearly 28%. If you’re looking for a further breakdown of Canadian regulations and Corporate Taxes, this is a great place to start. 

Canada is perceived globally as one of the most socially just nations, placing a high value on racial and gender equality, human rights and racial and ethnic diversity. Anyone can succeed here, and there is a range of resources and funding available for people with a wide variety of needs.

A North American Sales Timeline

Like anywhere else in the world, your sales timeline will vary greatly depending on the industry you are in. Not only will you be exploring your sales market, but to operate in North America (or any country, really), you should also consider researching the product market that is competing with your solution, as well as labour and capital markets. If you want to consider an international sales team, a single salesperson operating more than half the year in a country could leave you paying taxes there. 

Your pre-sales research should include

  1. Local Political and Social Systems 
  2. Economy openness 
  3. Local Product Markets 
  4. Labour markets 
  5. And Capital Networks 

If you are selling a lower-cost service or product to consumers, your industry might already have publicly available benchmarks so you can compare your strategic goals. If you are selling to a corporation, expect timelines well over a few months, and multiple calls with different stakeholders. Canadians are known to be conservative in business and overly polite. Take your time with small talk and introductions, and know you will have to provide lots of information before a formal negotiation begins.

North American Sales Process & research

Building a digital presence for the North American Consumer

In our increasingly connected world, Canadian, and North American consumers in general, will look for social proof and customer reviews when considering a new product or service. Build your online presence early, look for ways to build an engaged community and brand advocates, and ensure there is a cohesive feel between your digital and live personas. 

Customers will look for a well-built website that validates your business story and provides robust product details. It’s also a great place to host a media kit, press coverage, and collect data on your demographic. 

tips on how to get your first north American client

You’ll also want to fissure out what social channels are relevant to your niche. There are hundreds of specialized social media for every industry and social inclination, so don’t be afraid to test a few. 

Finally, if your customers engage with you online, make sure to be responsive. Customers like to feel that you are accessible and will help them if something goes wrong. Reply to online reviews and user-generated content to create customers that advertise your products for you.

Grow your Start-Up Internationally

Taking your start-up internationally does not need to be a solo venture. As Canada’s premier designated entry for the Start-up Visa Program, the incubation program was designed to help global entrepreneurs take the next step. Get access to thousands of dollars in business services and receive guided start-up advice today!

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