There may be only a bridge separating Canada and Western New York but making the jump with your business can be a little more complicated. We asked our friends at the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) for some advice for Canadian entrepreneurs who are thinking about taking their business south into the U.S. Here are some tips from Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager at the BNE.
• Connect with field experts in the U.S. I strongly recommend that the first step you take in your expansion plans is to seek the advice of organizations that specialize in helping companies grow their business in the U.S. Organizations like the BNE offer a range of services and frontline expert advice free of charge. The beauty of this arrangement is that is provides a single point of contact to a roster of experts in every key area: site selection, human resources, accounting, taxation, insurance, legal issues, financial services, utilities distribution services, and incentives.
• Locate in an area that provides your management team easy access. Whether your business is big or small, the complexity of today’s business activity requires that your company’s leaders are able to be engaged in a hands-on manner. Critical members of your management team must be able to reach your U.S. site easily and economically to enable the face-to-face coaching, oversight and knowledge exchange that are critical to expansion success. As your company continues to grow, you can effectively and rapidly deploy your best minds and practitioners to your expanded operations. Ultimately, this exchange and in-person oversight ability strengthens both your Canadian and U.S. operations.
• Choose a location your employees will want to call home. Employee satisfaction is enhanced when staff can live well where they work. Reduced commute times in growth areas that offer excellent quality-of-life pared with reasonable cost-of-living are preferred. Look for signs of investment in the communities to which you are considering expanding – reputable schools, property development, restoration and reclamation activity, and services and amenity provisions that cater to the full range of singles, couples and families.
• Learn from other Canadian companies that have successfully expanded. Gain insight into the challenges and payoffs of U.S. expansion from Canadians who’ve been through the process. One way to access your fellow Canadians is through U.S. economic development groups that have advised them and would be willing to arrange a meeting for you to share knowledge and experiences.
For more from Carolyn, click here.
Photo courtesy: University at Buffalo