<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >A Checklist of Common American Business Expansion Mistakes</span>

Almost every Canadian business owner dreams of taking their products or services to buyers south of the border. Many of them make that dream a reality, expanding into the American market and building their brand internationally.

Even the most successful brands can struggle with expansion, and it’s not uncommon to face at least one stumbling block. This checklist will help you recognize some of the most common American business expansion mistakes, which will help you avoid them in your own expansion efforts.

1. A Lack of Market Research

Many business leaders decide to expand into the American market rapidly. There may be a sense that the time for expansion is now, and if you wait, you’ll miss your opportunity. The market could move on without you.

This leap-before-you-look approach often backfires, leading to other mistakes.

Not preparing properly can lead to major missteps, such as overestimating your market or entering the wrong segment of the American market.

2. Misunderstanding the Reason for Expansion

Why are you taking your company to the US? The answer may seem obvious, but it’s important to take a moment to confirm that everyone on your team understands why you’re expanding, why you’re going to the US market, and why you’re doing it now.

The key to success is ensuring you have a clear reason to expand. If your only reason for expanding is because it seems like a good idea, you may want to take a step back and examine that answer more thoroughly.

3. A Failure to Translate

You might not think you need to do much translation work. After all, the United States is another English-speaking country.

It may not be obvious, but there are differences between Canadian and American English, just like there are differences between Canadian and American cultures. Consider that Tim Hortons had to add “Bake Shop” onto the end of the name in the American market because Canada’s beloved coffee shop doesn’t have the same market recognition.

A reference to “Tims” in Canada will be met with understanding and adoration, while the same mention in your US marketing material will be met with confused looks and head scratches.

Canadian and American audiences also have different expectations. You’ll need to adjust your messaging to meet them.

4. Not Consulting with the Experts

Possibly the most common mistake Canadian business owners make when it comes to US expansion is not consulting with the experts. 

There are many people you can turn to when you have questions about expansion. Some of them may be mentors who have managed US expansions before. Others may be legal or financial advisors.

One of the best partners you can have is a team of HR experts who know their way around American employment law. With them in your corner, you can navigate the ins and outs of employing Americans to staff your new expansion.

5. Financial Missteps

There are many different mistakes a company can make when it expands to the US, like failing to secure a loan or waiting to set up a bank account. While you don’t have to have a bank account, it can streamline your operations, but it can be difficult to set one up.

Payroll is another financial consideration, as is tax efficiency. You may even want to think about worker’s compensation and other forms of insurance.

Again, the best thing you can do is call on the experts in your corner to give you a hand with the financial aspects of your expansion.

With these tips in hand, you can avoid some of the most common missteps in a US expansion.