The 5 Main Challenges of Relocating from LATAM to the US to do Business
Arriving in a new country always has its challenges. If you’ve been coming to the US on vacation and decided to move here, you will likely be surprised at the things that change. Relocating from your home country to be a resident and make a living is quite different than spending a few days as a tourist. Here are some of what we consider to be the main challenges you will face when coming from Latin America to the US to live and do business.
1) Understanding you are no longer in your country. In Latin America, you can often rely on your personal network and professional contacts to get your business started and begin meeting expected sales targets. In the US that is often not enough. You will need to adapt to different business cultures and go with a step-by-step process that will eventually lead to the growth of your business. You need to learn new business customs and best practices and return to the basics in order to get started.
2) Investing in Your Business. You need to invest for people to get to know you. Word of mouth is usually not enough for most businesses if you really want to grow. Depending on your business, you will need to focus on creating a network, investing in marketing, choosing the right combination between expense and a high-traffic location, and finding strategic partnerships that may help you grow with referrals and ultimately understand your audience.
3) Thinking bigger or smaller than you usually would. The US is a big market; therefore, you need to either understand the audience on a broad, large level or focus on a target segment where you can stand out, often called niche markets, that can really pay off. Instead of only focusing on minimizing costs, find a balance between thinking big with aggressive growth and controlling your expenses.
4) Planning ahead so you can focus on your work. In terms of financial projections and business goals, sometimes it pays to have a very cautious, almost pessimistic, outlook. Having low expectations initially allows you to work hard in a way that you can leverage your growth in the early stages without having to worry about expenses — at least for the first 6 or 12 months. This lets you be creative, adjust your path, and measure success without the pressure.
5) Doing everything for the first time. You will be facing a lot of activities and tasks that you will do for the first time. Although this can be momentarily stressful, it is also the best way to learn. It will be challenging at first, but ultimately, it will push you to thrive so you can maintain your growth at every level of your business and life.
If you’re willing to work hard and get out of your comfort zone, you will quickly learn how to be successful in American business. It is also advantageous to get support from people who have already been successful in your area of business or who specialize in a specific area where you may struggle. Although it can seem expensive upfront, most of the time it is far less expensive than the time and money you will spend due to the learning curve.
If you bring your Latin American drive, accept that you will face new challenges, take them one at a time, and work hard, you can reach your goals!