Can your B2B startup make it in America
The narrative of making it in America is a compelling one and, of course judi online, there is some truth to the story. The US market is highly attractive due to its substantial money spend, experiential buying behaviour and the sheer volume of small, medium, and enterprise businesses.
According to Investopedia, 90 per cent of startups fail. For startups wanting to enter the US, things can be just as tough. A key issue is that most companies overcommit to the US too soon; in other words, they race to sell rather than race to learn and validate.
JJELLYFISH, a consulting firm that helps B2B startups successfully enter and conquer the US, says that for many global companies, the US can make up to 50–60 per cent of their total addressable market. As a result, it is natural for founders to focus on the question of when to expand into the US, while the first question they really need to evaluate is whether it makes sense.
B2B startup founders, if you have been thinking about expanding into the US, first answer the following six questions.
- Do I have the time to seriously consider an expansion into a brand-new market as competitive as the US?If you do, your first task is to spend the next three, six or nine months talking to prospective key buyers whom you believe deeply understand and feel the pain/problem your startup aims to solve. See if you can get at least 10 executives to respond to your request for a conversation. If they are willing to get on a call with you, that is your first sign of potential success.
Discuss the problem your company is passionate about solving and learn if it is a real problem for US buyers. Listen for what the problems are and uncover their pain points, then listen to what is not being said. Be comfortable with silence and keep listening.
According to Jen Abel, Co-Founder of JJELLYFISH: “You can’t sell until you learn about their current world. What is the problem? What is the implication of not solving that problem? You must be problem-led, not solution-led, in these discussions.”
From this qualitative research, summarise your findings, identify themes, and share and discuss with your team, Board and/or investors. Together, keep answering this next question:
- What are the unmet needs in the US that our company can answer?
Based upon your early research and discussions, decide if there is a real problem for your company to solve for US buyers. By real problem, I mean one that is faced with frequency and intensity.
The more focused you become on specific and targeted buyers and their pain points, the more you become known as an expert. “Founders need to demonstrate that they understand their buyers’ business and their pain points,” Abel says. People invest in people, and they want to buy from specialists they trust.