Interview with Co-Finder and Managing Director of Optimus Consulting Group Inc., Lena Hartikainen, the President of FACC
Lena Hartikainen, the President of Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce is a co-founder of Optimus Consulting Group Inc. The company offers management, strategic consulting, and business intelligence, specializing serving foreign companies in U.S. market. Since the company is also helping Finnish companies among the others to enter the US market, the interview was arranged with Lena to give some hints on what to take into consideration when entering the US market.
What in your opinion are the most important factors to consider when evaluating the possibility of entering US market?
Know your market you are entering into. What works in one country does not necessarily work in another. Consumers behave in different way, they have different taste and buying habits.
This is a big country; so find out what would be an ideal market/region for your product. Not all products need to be launched in New York or Los Angeles.
Also, find out who are your local competitor and what are they doing. Find out what works for them and what doesn’t and if you can provide something unique that your competitors don’t have. As it is said, if you cant win them join them, one option could be forming a partnership with a local competitor.
In addition to the once above, it is not always necessary to send your own staff, open your own office and form a new local company. A safer and more cost effective way might be finding a trustworthy partner.
What resources should a company possess to enter the market?
You must secure that you have enough capital, production capacity and other resources available. Figure out on top of the production cost, how much is the shipping, insurance, possible taxes, import duties, possible storage and so on. You should be left with a healthy profit margin after all the cost figured in.
Also does it make sense to start your own office abroad or should you outsource this cost to a partner.
What are the factors to consider after setting up business in US?
Educate yourself on how business is operated in the U.S. Learn not only about the legalities of business, but also about how people communicate, what they expect from you and so on.
Join local business communities and be visible. Many good deals and referrals come thru business networking events.
What, in your opinion, makes a foreign business successful in US market?
Having the right people in right position is the key to success in home and abroad. Whether the people are in-house or outsourced partners, is not so important, but that you trust them and they are committed 100% to your success, that is what makes your entry successful. People!
Do you have other advices for companies considering to start their business in US?
Don’t try to do it all on your own. Be willing to pay a bit more on the upfront cost and save a lot of money and trouble in the long-term.
Optimus Consulting Group has helped multiple businesses in saving time and money when entering to the new market. As one of their clients said, `I sleep better when I know you look after me`, which describes well the customer satisfaction to their services. The partners at Optimus have a philosophy that `everything is possible`, and aim to take care of all of the customer needs from the smallest to the largest.
To read more about Optimus Consulting Group, please view: https://vimeo.com/83516633
And visit: http://www.optimusconsultinggrp.com/