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5 US Tax Forms International Companies Employing Workers in the US Need to Be Familiar With

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Apr 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_US_Tax_Forms_International_Companies_Employing_Workers_in_the_US_Need_to_Be_Familiar_WithIf you’ve just expanded your business to the United States, you’ve taken a huge step toward growth. Now you want to ensure the success of your expansion. One of the best things you can do is secure the right people.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

Another key is making sure you’re following the law, including tax regulations and employment legislation. Whenever you hire a new worker, you’ll want to be sure you’re familiar with the forms you’re legally required to submit.

You’ll need to submit some US tax forms when you first hire an employee. Some will need to be issued on an annual basis, while others will need to be updated from time to time. Here are five forms you should be familiar with if you plan to employ even one worker in the US.

1. Form W-4 Allows You to Withhold Taxes

The first form you’ll have any employee fill out is a W-4. This form authorizes you to collect and withhold income tax from the employee’s wages.

If an employee doesn’t fill it out, you can’t pay them. It’s in their best interests to complete this form and allow you to file it as soon as possible.

2. Form I-9 Verifies Employment Eligibility

Everyone you hire for your business operations in the US should be legally allowed to work. That’s why they must fill out Form I-9, Verification of Eligibility for Employment. If an employee refuses to fill out and file an I-9, they may not be eligible to work.

Hiring workers who aren’t eligible to work in the US can have repercussions on your business. You may be penalized by the IRS or even subject to visits from immigration officers. It can also disrupt tax withholding and payroll, as employees who are not eligible for employment may also not fill out Form W-4 discussed above.

3. Form W-2 Must Be Filed for Income Tax

As an employer, you’ll also need to fill out and remit Form W-2 each tax year. If you pay any employee more than $600 US in a year, you must complete this form and file it with the IRS.

A copy of your filing should also be sent to the employee for their records. Legally, you must send out W-2s before the end of January each year for the previous year. If you know this is going to be a challenge for your business, you may want to outsource payroll.

4. Form 1099 Is for Contractors

There may be times when you hire workers who don’t quite fit the bill as “employees.” You may hire them for a special project or for consulting work. These people are contractors, and you’ll need to fill out Form 1099.

Contractors engage with you on a business-to-business case, so you don’t need to withhold taxes from them. They don’t need to fill out Form W-4 to authorize you to withhold taxes since they look after their own taxes. Instead of a Form W-2, you’ll provide them with Form 1099 at the end of each tax year.

Make sure you’re classifying your employees and contractors correctly. Employee misclassification can result in penalties for your business.

5. Form SS-5 Must Be Filled out If an Employee Doesn’t Have a Social Security Number

If you hire a new employee, but they don’t yet have a social security number, then they need to apply for one. Form SS-5 is the form they’ll need to fill out.

You’ll need to be sure the employee obtains a Social Security number before you can proceed with the rest of the forms.

These are only some of the forms you’ll need to look after if you employ workers in the US. If you're having trouble keeping up with all the paperwork, you might want to think about outsourcing to a professional employer organization (PEO).

blog-cta-us-payroll-services-2

Topics: Payroll

Where Should You Expand? 5 Innovation Cities in the US

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Mar 20, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Where Should You Expand 5 Innovation Cities in the USWhen an international expansion is the next step in your business’s growth, careful selection of your destination is important. Conducting thorough market research can help you choose the right location opportunities. Some cultures will be more receptive to the products you offer. Some markets just aren’t ready for your services.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

When you’re investigating different locales, you may want to consider how innovative they are. Innovative cities often offer support to new businesses developing product and services. They may also be experimenting with other policies designed to incentivize new business.

If you’re looking to establish your US branch in an area known for being innovative, take a look at this list.

1. San Francisco Is the Top Innovation City in the World

When thinking about innovation cities, you no doubt thought of California’s famed Silicon Valley. Perhaps surprisingly, California’s top-ranked city is actually on the other side of the bay. Silicon Valley is on the southern side of the San Francisco Bay Area but doesn’t include San Francisco itself.

That may be changing, as San Francisco is now the top-ranked innovation city in the world, at least by a few different measures. When it comes to the amount of investment capital in the area, San Francisco gets top billing.

2. In a New York Frame of Mind

If the technology-centered culture of the West Coast doesn’t have much appeal, you can look toward another hub of business activity in the US. On the Eastern Seaboard, New York City has always been one of the drivers of American business.

It’s little wonder, then, that the city that never sleeps manages to collect its share of investment capital. By some measures, it’s tied with San Francisco and San Jose, so you won’t go wrong by choosing this East Coast alternative.

3. History and Innovation Collide in Boston

When you think of Boston, you may think of the city’s historical association with events like the Boston Tea Party. Or you may think of their sports teams. Some people will even associate Boston with its academic and literary scene.

In the past, Boston was a center of both culture and business, and that still rings true today. If you need proof of the city’s innovative roots, simply look at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT isn’t the only organization innovating in one of America’s most historical cities. Depending on the measure you use, Boston ranks within the Top 10 or even the Top 5 of innovation cities around the world.

4. LA Is a West Coast Hub of Innovation

San Francisco, San Jose, and the remaining Silicon Valley area generally steal the spotlight when people talk about innovation cities in California. You shouldn’t overlook Los Angeles, however, as the city ranks within the Top 10 on most measures. For example, it ranks seventh in the world in terms of investment capital.

One of the benefits of LA is its proximity to other major global hubs, such as Tokyo and Beijing. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Silicon Valley, which means you’re really getting the best of both worlds here.

5. Consider the Windy City

The American Midwest may seem to have been dismissed on this list, but you can look at Chicago as an example of Midwestern excellence. Although the Windy City currently ranks outside the Top 10 on a few measures, it’s still an excellent location to consider.

Although not as big as New York or LA, Chicago is still a major metropolis. It’s also an important central hub, connecting the East and West Coasts, as well as providing easy access to the Canadian markets.

Dozens of Other Cities

This list only includes some of the top cities, and it only considers a few measures. If you use different measures, another US city might be the right innovation city for you. Dallas–Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Denver could all be considerations for your business expansion.

7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Business Expansion

Canadian Business Owners: 5 Smart Reasons to Explore the US Market Now

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Mar 6, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Canadian_Business_Owners__5_Smart_Reasons_to_Explore_the_US_Market_NowMany Canadian business owners have big plans for their companies in 2019. Economic growth has been strong, and numerous businesses have been expanding.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

One thing you may have on your mind is international expansion. As you scope out markets and determine where to expand, you may have some preferences for different countries.

The US is one of the markets that may not be on your mind but most definitely should be. Some Canadian businesses opt not to expand into the US market first because it can be difficult to succeed in the market. You may also be hesitant because of the current environment.

There are so many smart reasons you should be considering the US market right now. Here are a few of them.


1. The Economy Has Been Strong

Like Canada, the US has entered a boom time of economic growth. Unemployment is low, and the American people are optimistic about their job prospects and career growth. This is a stark contrast to a few years ago when more negative outlooks prevailed.

Why is this good for business? High employment and economic growth usually result in people having more money to spend. This means they may be willing to purchase new products or services.

Businesses too have more capital at their disposal, which makes them more likely to invest in new technological solutions or services.


2. A New Trade Deal Is in Place

Another reason you may want to consider the US market now is that a new trade deal will be coming into effect shortly. Negotiations for the North American Free Trade deal, or NAFTA, had been dragging on for months, creating uncertainty for businesses doing cross-border transactions.

This was finally resolved in late 2018, with the signing of a new deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). As the deal enters into force, Canadian businesses may find some advantages to heading south.


3. The US Market Can Set You up for Success Elsewhere

The US market does have a reputation as being difficult to enter, which is why some Canadian business owners may choose to avoid it during international expansion, especially early on. They may decide to try their hand in a few more forgiving markets before attempting to expand to the US.

There is a compelling reason to go to the US first. Success in the US market often predicts success elsewhere. If you can succeed in this market, you may be more likely to succeed in almost any other market.

By concentrating your initial expansion efforts on the US, you’ll make expanding into other markets later easier. It’s also easiest to expand into the US market first since all your resources can be concentrated on this single expansion market, rather than several others.


4. Canada and the US Have Strong Ties

The strong ties Canada and the US have as trade partners is another great reason to consider expansion into the US. The new North American trade deal has already been mentioned. The two countries also have various tax agreements and other deals to make doing business with each other easier.

Canadians and Americans also share some cultural sentiments, which makes the US market more amenable to Canadian companies. You’ll still need to conduct careful market research.


5. Great Help Is Available

When you enter the US market, you’ll be able to get expert help and advice from a professional employer organization (PEO) that operates on both sides of the border.

If you’re planning an expansion any time this year, why not get in touch with a PEO today?

7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Business Expansion

5 Tips for Franchise Chains Heading into Canada

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Feb 25, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Tips_for_Franchise_Chains_Heading_into_CanadaMany American franchisors look towards the Great White North as the site of their first international expansion. It makes perfect sense. After all, Canada has similar geography and a similar culture. Many US brands see Canada as an extension of the US market to some degree.

Download "What Are You Leaving to Chance By Handling Payroll on Your Own" Guide

It’s why brands like The Cheesecake Factory and Chick-fil-A have moved across the northern border. This assumption, however, is also the reason why giants like Target can fail to expand into Canada successfully. The Canadian market is often more different than corporate decision-makers account for.

If you’re planning to expand, take a look at some of these tips. They’ll help you manage your move into Canada successfully.


1. Make Sure You Understand the Legal System

Canada and the US have multiple levels of government. The federal level governs the entire country, while states or provinces govern their various territories. In both countries, you must pay attention to both federal law and state or provincial law.

You’ll want to make note of some differences in Canada. Many of the regulations that are considered federal-level in the US fall to the provinces in Canada, and vice versa. For example, in the US, unemployment programs are handled at the state level. In Canada, the federal government administers the Employment Insurance program and the Canada Pension Plan. While Medicare and Medicaid are federal-level programs in the US, healthcare in Canada is handled by the provinces.

Employment law is also handled by the provinces in Canada. Pay particular attention to Quebec, which often has very different laws.


2. Employment Laws Are Very Different

One of the first shocks for American companies doing business in Canada is the difference in legal protections for workers. A great example is that “at-will” employment doesn’t exist in Canada.

In the US, it’s legal for either employer or employee to terminate the employment relationship with no further notice. In Canada, however, an employee often needs to be given notice of termination two or more weeks before the end of their employment. If proper notice isn’t given, the employer may be required to pay the employee severance.

There are also different regulations regarding time off, such as vacation entitlements and public holidays. Many provinces also have legislation about various types of leave, both paid and unpaid.


3. Consider Cultural Differences

Take some time to consider how well your franchise will export to Canada. Many Americans make the mistake of assuming Canadians share a very similar culture, which means everything that works in the US will work in Canada.

Target found this out the hard way. The brand’s Canadian expansion didn’t last because it couldn’t meet Canadian consumers’ expectations.

Do some research and discover the differences between your American markets and your intended Canadians market. The differences may be subtle, but it will pay to make appropriate adjustments before you open your doors.


4. Tax Considerations Need to Be on Your Radar

Another thing an American franchisor must think about is the tax implications of the franchise structure. The franchise fees a Canadian franchisee pays to you will likely be subject to tax withholding.

There can be other factors at play as well. You may want to incorporate in Canada in order to avoid those cross-border fees and taxes, but incorporations can be subject to different terms provincially. Some may require you to have a certain percentage of Canadians on the board of directors.


5. Do Your Research

Take a look at your target market and determine whether expanding into Canada makes sense. For some businesses, it’s a no-brainer, but others may want to carefully consider their decision.

With these tips, you can manage your expansion activities in Canada and beyond more successfully than ever.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Business Expansion

7 Ways a Canadian PEO Will Help You Work Smarter and Save Time in 2019

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Feb 20, 2019 9:00:00 AM

7_Ways_a_Canadian_PEO_Will_Help_You_Work_Smarter_and_Save_Time_in_2019With 2019 in action, you’re likely seeking ways to improve your operations and build on what you did last year. Maybe growth is in the forecast, or maybe you need to scale back. Whichever the case, you’re looking for ways to work smarter, not harder.

Download our free guide on what US companies need to know about paying  employees in Canada.

How can you save time and money in 2019? One of the smartest steps to take may be to partner with a Canadian professional employer organization (PEO). There are many ways a PEO partnership could help you achieve your 2019 business goals.


1. Tap into Industry Expertise

One of the best reasons to work with a PEO is to gain valuable insights and expert knowledge about your industry.

A Canadian PEO may have more experience or understanding of the local market for your products and services. They also have better knowledge about the job market for international operations. Getting this expertise on your side is one easy way to make sure you’re working smarter.


2. Manage Risk and Compliance with Ease

If you’re expanding your company into Canada, you might already be aware of some of the issues surrounding risk and compliance. How familiar are you with the legal requirements around hiring an employee or terminating employment in Canada?

Again, the PEO’s expert knowledge is invaluable to a company operating in multiple markets. Having this knowledge at your fingertips makes it easier than ever to manage risk and ensure compliance.


3. Payroll Management Is a Breeze

Payroll is one of those important, yet time-intensive tasks that can bog down your business operations. If it’s not done on time or correctly, you could find yourself in trouble with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Payroll also takes up your valuable time, however, and since it must be done regularly, it ends up distracting you from your core tasks.

When you work with a Canadian PEO, you can get back to business sooner. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing the PEO will handle payroll correctly and efficiently.


4. Take Care of Your Taxes

Another way a Canadian PEO can help in 2019 is by filing your taxes. Like payroll, business taxes can take up a lot of your time, and they can cost you if you’re not careful with them.

Call on the PEO’s expertise again. Their experience is an asset as they prepare your taxes, file on time, and ensure remittances are sent in before their deadlines.

With the tax burden off your plate, you can turn your attention to growing the business instead.


5. Let a PEO Handle Benefits Administration

Offering benefits to your employees is a smart business move. It can also be a make-work project, particularly if you don’t have a PEO partnership to help you stay on top of the administration.

Changing regulations and benefits plans translate into benefits administration that can take more time than you’d like. A PEO can handle the paperwork and track compliance so you don’t have to. Better yet, the PEO may even be able to offer access to better plan pricing for small businesses.


6. Handle Workers’ Compensation Easily

Workers’ compensation may be another area you’re concerned about, especially if you’re expanding into a foreign market. You may not be aware of the requirements your business will need to meet.

A PEO can take this concern off your shoulders, handling the process from end to end.


7. Get Access to the Latest Technology

How does a PEO make your HR operations so much simpler? One way is by using the latest technology. If you’re not sure you can or should invest in a new HR system, partnering with a PEO may be your best bet.

There are so many ways a Canadian PEO can help you work smarter this year. Get in touch and discover what the HR experts can do for you.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Professional Employer Organization

How to Expand Your Business into the Canadian Market

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Jan 21, 2019 9:00:00 AM

How_to_Expand_Your_Business_into_the_Canadian_MarketFor business owners in the US, the Canadian market often looks like an attractive choice for international expansion. If you’re just beginning to expand, it might even be your first choice.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Pay a Worker In Canada Needs to Know

How do you expand your business?

You’ll want to carefully consider whether your organization is ready to expand. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to choose a market and carefully research it. Then you’ll need to go through the processes of setting up the right infrastructure. Finally, you’ll also want to ensure you’re compliant.

There are many steps in between, of course, and you’ll want to pay special attention to issues such as financing and legalities. If you think you might be ready to take on this step, this guide will help you begin the process of expanding your business into the Canadian market.


Determine Whether You’re Ready to Expand Your Business

The first thing you should do is review your current business operations. There are good times to grow, and there are times when it would be better for a business owner to focus on their existing operations.

How do you know it’s time to expand your business into the Canadian market? One thing you might look for is demand in international markets such as Canada. Is there a gap your product or service could fill?

The next thing to do is make sure your current operations are in good shape for expansion. If you’re constantly struggling with cash flow or are understaffed, an expansion could stretch your resources too far.


Research the Canadian Market

The next step for expanding your business is to research the Canadian market. You’ve already looked for gaps in product and service offerings.

You’ll also want to do some research on the current market climate in Canada. Are businesses growing? What’s the interest rate like, and how does inflation look? If the market seems poised for continued growth, an expansion may be a good idea.

You’ll also want to segment the Canadian market, much as you’d divide the American market. There are strong regional and even provincial cultures in Canada. How people live in Ontario is different than the lifestyles of those in the Far North. Nova Scotian culture values taking things slowly, while Ontarians like to move fast. Quebec is almost entirely unique.


Understand the Legalities of Expansion

Now you’ve decided you want to expand your business to the Canadian market. It’s time to look at the legal requirements of doing so.

You may need to purchase property or sign a lease for office space. You might want to hire some Canadian employees to staff your expansion.

You’ll also want to look at the legal framework governing the products or services you provide. The banking sector, for example, has many regulations you’ll need to comply with if you want to offer financial services in Canada. You may need to alter products or services in order to comply with Canadian legislation.

If you need help understanding the legal framework, don’t be afraid to reach out to an employer of record (EOR). Crossing the border should be done correctly to avoid issues down the line.


Adjusting to Ensure Compliance

As you begin to fill out paperwork and hire employees, you’ll want to be sure to review your policies and procedures. As much as you may have needed to adjust your products or services, you may also need to revisit your policies. For example, there’s no such thing as at-will employment in Canada, which will mean you need to adjust your policies to align with Canadian laws around termination and severance.

All of this can be overwhelming. If you need a hand managing compliance or even beginning your expansion efforts, talk to the experts. An EOR can streamline your Canadian expansion.


12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Business Expansion

5 Talent Retention Strategies When Your Employees Are in a Different Country

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Jan 16, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Talent_Retention_Strategies_For_When_Your_Employees_Are_in_a_Different_CountryIt’s often said that your people are your biggest asset. Although some people disagree with this idea, the importance of human capital to your business can’t be understated. In fact, some people go to the opposite extreme, suggesting the only thing that sets you apart from your competitors is your people.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

Once you’ve gone to the work of hiring someone, you want to make sure they stay on your team. After all, you spent time considering why they were the right fit for your organization. If they leave soon after, it will cost you in many ways.

In the current market, it’s also more difficult to replace talent. Talent shortages have started cropping up in some markets, and falling unemployment rates in places like Canada and the United States have meant there are fewer people searching for jobs.

You have plenty of reason to retain the people you’ve already hired. Doing so can be difficult, even when you’re overseeing the day-to-day operations in the office. What happens when your employees are in another country altogether?

These five talent retention strategies will help you keep international employees on your roster.


1. Trust Is the Basis of All Talent Retention Strategies

If you want your employees to stick with you, you have to show you trust them. While this is true for all employers, it’s particularly true when your employees are located in a different country.

If you’re constantly checking in or smothering employee attempts at independence, your employees will quickly become dissatisfied and move on. Treat your employees like the talented, intelligent professionals they are. Allow them to exercise some of their better judgement.

 

2. Give Employees Room to Grow

One way to demonstrate your trust in an employee is to invest in their career development and growth. Sign them up for a workshop on improving their sales skills or assist them by providing a mentor.

You can also assign employees to new tasks. This challenges them to continue learning. It also demonstrates that you have faith in their ability to master new skills and succeed in an expanded role or with new responsibilities.


3. Focus on Communication

How do you communicate with your employees, particularly those who are located in another country?

Communication should be a key pillar of your talent retention strategies. Focus on how you talk to your employees. You should ask them to voice their concerns or offer feedback. Encourage them to table new ideas.

You need excellent communication with those employees living and working in another country. They’re the only ones who can tell you what’s happening in the business and what they’re seeing on the ground. Fostering open and honest communication helps employees feel valued.


4. Respect Cultural Differences

One big stumbling block for international employers is adjusting to local expectations and cultural norms. Even Canada and the US have quite different business cultures.

Take, for example, communication standards. Americans are more likely to value being concise and direct. Canadians prefer small talk and consensus building. They’re more likely to see it as polite. This can sometimes cause animosity and confusion. Americans may want their Canadian counterparts to get to the point, while Canadians can sometimes see American-style missives as borderline rude.

Keep these sorts of cultural differences in mind whenever you deal with employees in another country. Being aware of differences and adjusting for them will help your employees feel more like part of the team.


5. Give Employees a Sense of Purpose

Today’s workforce is looking for meaning in work. They want their work to have a purpose, even if it may not change the world. Help your employees build a sense of purpose, and they’ll be more likely to stick with your company for the long term.

Talent retention strategies are wide and varied. These few can help you work towards higher retention for your international operations.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: human resources

5 Ways to Mitigate Human Capital Risk When Employing in North America

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Jan 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Ways_to_Mitigate_Human_Capital_Risk_When_Employing_in_North_AmericaWhether you’re a Canadian business owner looking to hire American employees or an American manager staffing a Canadian expansion, you know exactly how much stock your organization places in your people. Human capital is often one the biggest assets any company has. In fact, many experts now theorize people are one of the only things that set organizations apart from their competition.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

As with anything in business, building and maintaining human capital comes with risks. People you’ve spent years training may decide to leave. Hiring a new person has inherent risks. There are also risks associated with labour laws and compliance, some of which can turn into costly legal matters. Accidents and injuries are other risks.

These five methods can help you manage and mitigate some of the risks associated with human capital in North America.


1. Plan Ahead for Risks

The first thing you should do is identify the risks associated with your human capital on both sides of the border. What are the costs associated with an unmotivated or disengaged employee? What are the risks of hiring someone who isn’t the right fit?

Keep in mind that risks extend beyond hiring and dismissing employees. Many accidents and injuries take place in the workplace, which pose risks to you in terms of talent loss and legal costs.

Don’t wait for the worst to happen. Instead, identify the risks and create a plan to deal with them as they arise in the business.


2. Foster a Positive Workplace Culture

Many of the human capital risks for North American businesses involve employee behaviour. A disengaged employee is a flight risk, but they might also engage in unethical behaviour. Employees who are under pressure to perform may not act ethically either. Still other employees may abuse positions of power.

You can avoid many of these problems by building a positive work culture in your organization. Determine your values and communicate them to employees. Then walk the walk. If you say you value employee feedback, be sure to collect it and act on it.

Put some emphasis on valuing your people, and, in return, they’ll value your company.


3. Change How You Conceptualize Risk

While the traditional HR approach to managing human capital risk is solid, you might want to take cues from some of the other divisions in your organization. How does the IT department approach risks? What about the financial division?

One way to see risk is not as a risk, but as an opportunity to optimize uncertainty. You don’t know which employees will be star performers and which ones won’t quite fit the bill when they start. Take steps to manage this uncertainty. In doing so, you’ll increase the chances you’ll find more star performers.


4. Use Data to Inform Strategies

You collect workforce data; put it to good use. Don’t just collect it. Instead, organize and analyze it.

By doing so, you can discover the insight you need to make better decisions. Determining where your risks are can provide you with the knowledge you need to develop a better risk management strategy.


5. Work with the Experts

Human capital risk management across borders comes with many challenges. You may not be familiar with the local labour market, for example, or you might not be familiar with regulations around the hiring process.

Working with experts on either side of the US-Canada border can help you manage your risks more effectively. It’s particularly helpful when you’re navigating the legal waters around your HR operations.

These tips can help you reduce and mitigate various human capital risks in your operations. By doing so, you’ll set up your company to grow its human capital and succeed in almost any market you enter.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: human resources

5 Ways to Streamline Your US Expansion Efforts

Posted by Ray Gonder

|

Jan 2, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Ways_to_Streamline_Your_US_Expansion_EffortsExpanding to the US is an exciting opportunity for many businesses around the world. That said, the American market can also be a tough nut to crack. Many international businesses have learned this lesson the hard way after expanding haphazardly into the US.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

As you prepare to take your business into the US, what can you do to streamline your efforts? A good expansion process will help you find success in the American market sooner, and it will also help you use your resources wisely. Finally, a streamlined process for entering one of the largest markets in the world will be easier to replicate as you move into other international markets.

These five tips will help as you look to expand into the US market.


1. Use Enterprise Resource Planning to Fuel a US Expansion

One of the best things you can do to streamline your expansion into the US is to make sure have a solid strategy before you make a move. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) can help you achieve the strategy you need to make your expansion successful.

ERP helps you allocate your resources in the most efficient manner. It can help take the guesswork out of knowing when to upgrade your IT infrastructure versus when to invest in your inventory.


2. Focus on Logistics

The US is an enormous country, both in terms of geography and population. There are more than 300 million people in the United States, and they live in a country that spans between the Pacific and the Atlantic, with additional states and territories.

Getting your services or products delivered to these people in a timely manner can be a challenge. Companies from large countries like Canada may not find the geography quite so intimidating, but they may find a challenge in serving so many people.


3. Get Your Immigration Paperwork in Order

If you’re planning a US expansion, you might anticipate sending a least of few members of senior management to oversee operations on the ground. If so, make sure to get your paperwork in order for US immigration.

Your employees will likely need a work permit and a visa as well. The type and duration will depend on the assignment you’re giving them. Getting this paperwork ready ahead of time can limit the headaches and stumbling blocks you may otherwise face.


4. Tackle One Market at a Time

The United States is not a monolith, although many people tend to think of it as one. As you undertake your US expansion efforts, however, try to think of the US market as a number of smaller markets. Each of these markets is unique.

Once you begin thinking this way, it’s easier to spot the markets and regions it will be most lucrative for you to expand into. Focus your resources on those markets first. Additional expansions can come later.


5. Streamline Business Processes

A final step to take as you streamline your US expansion efforts is to look at your business processes. How do you go about paying employees and vendors? Who handles IT delivery or meets your accounting needs?

You can streamline processes by using a mix of outsourced and in-house services. Choose the services your team has the most expertise in and keep those in house. For other services, seek outside help from partners with experience in the US market.


Work with a PEO

If you’re planning to expand to the US, working with a professional employer organization is a smart move. They can be especially helpful if you want to streamline business processes associated with human resources and compliance. With the right help, you can make your US expansion even easier.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Business Expansion

Why Some Canadian Expansion Efforts into the US Fail

Posted by Ray Gonder

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Dec 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Why_Some_Canadian_Expansion_Efforts_FailMany Canadian companies set their sights on a US expansion. After all, the Canadian market is a relatively limited one. The total population of the country is around 37 million, which is less than the total population of some American states.

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It’s easy to see why moving beyond Canadian borders would be a goal for companies looking to continue growing. Expanding into the United States, however, isn’t a guaranteed road to success. In fact, many Canadian expansions actually go bust.

What’s the difference between successful expansions and those that go belly up? There are a few factors at work. Keep them in mind if you’re planning to expand.


You Must Scale to the Market

Many Canadian expansions fail because they don’t properly scale to the market. Consider a company moving into a state like California or New York. These states have total populations equivalent to or higher than the total population of Canada.

The more states you try to move into, the higher the potential demand can be. While logistics may not be the issue, meeting such increased demand can be a shock for a company just entering the market.


You Must Adjust to the Culture

The second part of market adjustments is adjusting to the culture. This is particularly important when moving into the American market.

Canadians and Americans often feel they have very similar cultures, which can lead to Canadian companies failing to adjust their marketing strategies or their products. The differences, however subtle, are there, and you must account for them.

You’ll also need to take into account different sensibilities within different parts of the market. New Yorkers have very different expectations and needs than Iowans. As much as Canada is a collection of smaller, regional cultures, so too is the US market divided into miniature markets with their own subcultures.

This is true of almost any market you decide to enter, no matter how large or small.


Legal Troubles Arise from Misunderstanding

Another potential problem for companies looking to expand beyond their national borders is legislation. The laws in any country are going to be different from those in your home country.

Within a federal state like the United States, each statewill also have its own laws. Businesses operating in California have to comply with different rules than those operating in Alabama.

This is a huge stumbling block for companies looking to expand into a new country.


Where Is the Talent?

An often overlooked issue when it comes to expansions is talent. Who’s running your new office? Who’s delivering your customer service?

Local job markets can be quite different, just as local hiring laws can vary. From finding the right talent to filling in the proper paperwork, international hiring is often full of pitfalls.

It’s important to bring on the right people, which is why talent can make or break an expansion effort.


The Wrong Financial Options

A final factor in the success or failure of an expansion effort is often on the financial side. How are you financing your expansion efforts? How are you funding payroll, buying insurance, or building equity in the business?

These are all important questions to ask as you look to expand your business. The wrong financial choices could put your expansion efforts in jeopardy. You may not have access to the capital you need, or your funds may be tied up in real estate or other property investments.


Get a Helping Hand with Your US Expansion

There’s an easy way to remedy most of these issues, and that’s to work with a knowledgeable professional employer organization. They take the guesswork out of your expansion efforts, putting you on the road to success.


7-challenges-companies-face-when-expanding-into-the-us

Topics: Business Expansion

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