Kris Finstad, CEO & Founder, ContentChecked
According to a report from National Venture Capital Association, in 2015 the venture capital ecosystem distributed $58.8 billion to startups across the U.S., an increase from $48.3 billion in 2014 and a clear indicator of the continued growth of the entrepreneurial market. However, penetrating the U.S. market is a challenge in and of itself due to the sheer size, population and the growing number of startups flocking to the states. Statistics have shown that only 10 percent of startups launching in the U.S. are successful. This daunting truth can be attributed to a variety of reasons including culture clashes, differences in business practices, and the competitiveness of the startup scene.
For many foreign entrepreneurs, myself included, moving operations to the U.S. is an integral step in securing capital and scaling a venture. However, although the road to a successful startup can be bumpy, it is not impossible. So, for any foreign entrepreneurs longing for that elusive U.S. capital, the following tips may help secure your company’s success.
1. Build A Solid Ecosystem
Investors want to see that a startup has the know-how and a proven team behind its idea. Hiring a team of engineers won’t cut it. A startup needs to have the brainpower to put together a business plan and strong knowledge of the industry and market it serves. It’s imperative to build a network of mentors, partners, and consultants that round out the team, but don’t be too hasty when looking for business partners. While navigating this arena, it’s important to not lose sight or compromise the company’s core values and practices. Having those major components covered will attract money, instill confidence in investors, and further elevate the company’s reputation.
2. Attracting Talent: Create An Appealing Environment (But Don’t Ditch Your Roots)
While it’s important to assimilate to U.S. culture when seeking investment, do hang on to aspects of your native culture that can be beneficial in a business and work environment. Upon moving to the U.S., keeping hold of my Scandinavian tendency to treat employees in a more familial and amicable way made for a much more tight knit work atmosphere. This allowed me to really vet all employees thoroughly and recognize a team player committed to executing the company goals. Identifying the right local team that fits within the defined company strategy and goals will be instrumental in finding success.
3. Stop Micromanaging And Learn To Juggle
While staying abreast of the daily internal and external communications is important, micromanaging staff will only hurt productivity. The CEO is responsible for the day-to-day management decisions and implementation of the company’s long term and short-term goals. It’s important to remember these roles. The minutiae of internal communication and managing employees should fall on the shoulders of trusted higher-level management. A CEO’s time and energy, in the early stages of startup or seed round, needs to be directed to securing funds. Learning to delineate tasks and trust management will not only instill confidence in employees, but will keep things running smoothly. Of course, a CEO’s counsel will be needed a majority of the time, but stifling management by constantly interfering will create an air of doubt.
There is no way you can predict the outcome of a U.S. launch, even if a company is already established overseas. The U.S. market is far more complicated, and much more appealing to venture capitalists, making the investment pool extremely competitive. Charting a clear course with precise milestones – understanding exactly who, what, when, where, and how you’ll be making business decisions will attract a talented team and catch an investor’s attention.
About the Author
Kris Finstad is the Founder, CEO, President and Director of Los Angeles based corporation Content Checked Holdings Inc. (OTCQB:CNCK) (ContentChecked). Since 2014, ContentChecked has served as a fast, reliable, and efficient mobile application that helps consumers make empowered purchasing decisions in accordance with their dietary preferences. He is Co-founder of CheckContent AS, Norway, a Scandinavian branch of the food allergy application company. Kris has also co-founded and funded several startups in the technology, real estate and the bio-tech fields and holds several board member positions with various organizations.