Home of the Brave: Setting your business up for US growth

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ECI has a proven track record of supporting UK-based businesses in achieving international success. With 77% of our portfolio companies pursuing international growth since 2016, and 40% of portfolio revenue coming from international markets, we understand the challenges and opportunities businesses face as they step into the US arena.

But scaling into the US is no easy feat with market opportunities, regulations, and access to talent across 50 states creating several different challenges. From our New York office, we chat with ECI’s North America Growth Specialist, Brett Pentz, about how to avoid the expensive and time-consuming pitfalls.

Is the US right for you now?

Many UK businesses establish strong leadership positions in their home market and see the US as a natural next step. Early wins from the UK validate the potential, but scaling that success across the pond requires careful planning.

Before diving headfirst into incorporating, registering, hiring and engaging a whole range of professional services, we encourage businesses to consider if a US office is necessary at this stage of their growth. Other options to contemplate include:

  • A virtual presence: Utilise a virtual US office address and phone number for meetings / sales calls and focus efforts on expanding US digital marketing and partnerships.
  • Contracted support: Engage independent consultants or B2B sales providers to test the waters and validate the need for dedicated US based sales resources.
  • Employer of Record (EOR): Partner with an EOR to add the first few US-based sales reps without the hassle of incorporating yourself.

Brett Pentz, ECI North America Growth Specialist

Identifying the right time to open a US office

While virtual setups and external support can pave the way, once your customer base has grown to a scale that it can no longer be supported by UK-based account management or customer service, it’s a clear sign a physical presence is needed. A US office offers several benefits:

  • Market commitment: Signals your dedication to the US market and attracts potential customers.
  • Talent acquisition: Enables you to recruit and hire US-based employees more effectively.
  • Market intelligence: Provides on-the-ground insights for localised digital marketing and partnerships.
  • Business development: Increases your presence at industry events and outreach activities.
  • Customer proximity: Offers better support for your growing US customer base.

    Learn from experience

    The “Home of the Brave” presents exceptional growth opportunities for UK-based businesses if executed with careful consideration and planning. If it’s not, the pitfalls can be costly, time consuming and have the opposite effect of the intended impact.

    Our advice? Test the waters first, potentially with a virtual presence, and then work with a partner that has boots-on-the-ground experience – it will save a lot of frustration.

    About the author

    Brett Pentz

    I joined ECI in 2020 as a Growth Specialist focussed on North America, opening ECI’s New York office. It means I start my mornings working through emails from my ECI and portfolio company colleagues as they are just starting their afternoons. My role entails helping our portfolio companies with their M&A and business growth ambitions […]

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