Expand your business to the United States

For many entrepreneurs, selling and trading 'across the pond' may sound impossible, for others it may seem like a distant dream.   However trading in another country could actually be more realistic than you thought. Better still, these days you don't need a huge budget and the steps you need to take can be kept fairly simple. If you can imagine the scope and size of your potential market, then you can imagine the size of the rewards. Through our office in Miami - established in 2008 - St Matthew has helped many businesses, even small ones, to expand to the US.  If you think that moving to the US could be an option for your business, let's talk.


Why expansion to the U.S could work for you

Contrary to common belief it is actually pretty straight forward for European businesses to sell their goods and services in the US. The days when this was a privilege of the big multinational corporations are over. In the last 20 years, governments on both sides of the Atlantic have worked towards removing some of these trade barriers, especially for small businesses.

In fact, we would even go so far as to say that for an Italian or French entrepreneur, it is far easier to start selling in the US than it would be somewhere like Greece for instance. Believe it or not, the US is an open and welcoming economy and there are very little obstacles placed in front of you. In fact you can just about fly there and start right now!

Entrepreneurs need very few licences, permits or other paperwork. A lot, of course, depends on the industry you are in, but in general this is the case in most parts of the US. There is no VAT in the US, although they have sales tax which is similar, it doesn't apply to entrepreneurs who supply services, or who expand across state lines.

And lets not forget about the favourable US Dollar exchange rate which can make investments affordable and can provide a quick return rate. Compared to Europe, in the US it is far cheaper to employ staff and there are far less regulations overall, especially for small businesses.

Case Study: How Franco, a fresh pasta maker from Roma, started selling pasta in America

Franco is a typical small business owner in Italy. He owns a small factory near Rome where he employs around 10 people. Franco produces 20 different varieties of fresh organic pasta with a shelf life of 60 days (when refrigerated), around 1 tonne (1,000 kg) per day.

As you can imagine the market in Italy for fresh organic pasta is pretty tight. Looking around other European countries, the market was saturated. When trying to sell his pasta around Europe he also had problems with learning and adapting to different languages, customs and cultures throughout other European countries.

Sparked by a combination of both interest and curiosity, Franco studied business in the US and realised that the market for organic products was much less developed than in Europe, the US obviously being a far larger and more homogeneous market.

With the help of our team and I.C.E - the Italian government organisation charged with helping Italian entrepreneurs to export -  Franco obtained the required licences to sell his pasta in the US. After we assisted Franco in acquiring more contacts, Franco was able to secure a deal with a 'small' distributor of Italian food in the south of the US. They were looking for a line of organic fresh pasta to be added to their catalogue and Franco's presentation convinced them. They now have an agreement to buy 5 tonnes of pasta every two weeks.

For Franco this is a massive deal and only the start of his American adventure.

Services that St Matthew's Miami can provide

Our St Matthew's office in Miami was established in 2008 and can provide similar services to our London office. These include:

  • Setting up US corporations and LLC's
  • Domiciliation of these corporations
  • Virtual office services
  • Tax and legal advice
  • Financing
  • Bank accounts & merchant accounts for card processing
  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Business consulting
  • Marketing and business development services

In short, we provide all of the services a European entrepreneur needs to get started in the US. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Moving to America / Visa issues

If you are looking to relocate to the US with your family, starting a business there is a massive step forward, but let us be clear: Getting a US visa to live there is a complex and expensive process that might just test your patience. On average Visa applications can contain more than 500 pages (including supporting documentation) and you will most likely need a very good lawyer. In general you have three options:

  • EB5 Visa: If you have at least $500,000 in cash available to invest you can apply for a green card (permanent residence permit) straight away. This is the fastest way to get a residence visa in the U.S.
  • E1/2E2 Visa: If you have at least $150,000 to invest you can set up or even buy an existing business in the U.S and get a so called 'Investor Visa'. Note that these visas will take around 6 months to obtain and are notoriously difficult. Many applications are rejected.
  • L1 Visa: This is a so called 'Executive Visa.' In our view this is the best visa to get if you have an established business in Europe. You get this visa to open a subsidiary company in the US. You need to have enough capital to rent an office or production facilities there but normally $50,000 should be enough (depending on your industry). However, it is an absolute requirement that you have an existing business in Europe with annual sales of at least $250,000.

Whatever your Visa requirements, we work with experienced and specialised lawyers who will be glad to assist you with all the nuts and bolts of the operation, giving you piece of mind that every area is being covered.

How can you get started? Request a free consultant evaluation.

If you are seriously considering expanding to the US we suggest that you fill in our free evaluation form. A consultant will review your information and will get back to you with an initial evaluation of your plans.