7 Advantages For Foreign FirstTimers in USA

Foreign “first time” entrants to the US financial services, insurance, investment management and asset management market would have you believe that they are starting from a disadvantageous position. My observation and experience working with countless foreign firms is they are often wrong but not for the reasons you imagine.

  1. Your physical presence given the distance you have travelled will often elicit time made available on buyers schedules at very short notice. It is a courtesy rarely extended to US competitors unless there is a very compelling story.
  2. The US market is a “mosaic” made up of diverse leaders and diverse businesses with often sharply different sets of “needs”. As a foreign entrant unencumbered by a historic presence, brand perception, legacy systems and sometimes, regulatory advantages, you are uniquely positioned to “unbundle” your service offering to address a specific need for your ideal clients that is tough for your US competitors to match.
  3. There is an implied novelty amongst buyers with new foreign entrants. You have the advantage with a largely unknown brand to present fresh thinking, innovative ideas and appeal to customers and employees who want to be part of something “exotic” or different. Use it (marketing, presentations, client dialogue).
  4. World view and international platform. Contrary to popular opinion US buyers are more open to global views of investment opportunity, alternative uses for excess capital and intellectual property than any time in history. With your origin and your “past” (experiences, culture, expertise) you instantly bring a perspective to the open-minded US buyer, capability and relationships that many of your domestic competitors cannot.
  5. Money is made in the real world. Many of your domestic competitors can intellectualise about the transference of US approaches in a foreign market but they cannot talk with experience about what may happen to that money when it is invested. For example, a Pittsburgh investment management company would struggle to explain “first hand” to investors the perils of investing in a Tianjin rubber plant. If you are a Greater China private equity GP building a presence in the US, you would in all probability have far greater credibility.
  6. You are not trying to “crack America”, you are trying to appeal to the maximum number of your ideal clients in the US market. You can take a more laser like approach to your marketing, sales, delivery and business model than many domestic competitors, who with a need to support expensive people, established offices and other overheads are forced to play in the “mass market”, to make it pay.
  7. As a newcomer, you are not fighting internally lots of beliefs (past experiences, historic views) about “why” a particular approach will not work. You can focus on proving a new¬†concept without the “drag” effect that inhibits many domestic competitors. In convergence opportunities with digital businesses, new forms of capital or new methods of distribution you can invariably move swifter, assuming you have the volition and support to do so. Don’t blow the opportunity.

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.



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