Your First Move?
Unleash your e-commerce potential in the U.S. with strategic precision, just like a master chess player. Avoid the perilous opening mistakes and traps that await the unprepared.
While only beginners fall victim to the infamous “fool’s mate,” a devastating checkmate in just two moves, the stakes are even higher when expanding to the U.S.
Beware of the treacherous blunders that can haunt you long after the game has begun. The dreaded “fool’s tax” lurks in the shadows, striking unsuspecting businesses years down the line with unexpected IRS or state tax notices. But that’s not all—these errors can also lead to a temporary non-verified account, forcing you to scramble for costly or near-impossible documents like business licenses or utility bills.
At NCP, we understand the complexity of navigating the U.S. market. Our expertise and meticulous approach will guide you through the intricate chessboard of U.S. expansion, ensuring you make the right moves at the right time.
Say goodbye to costly mistakes and embrace a future filled with growth and success.
Wrong Opening Moves
Some opening move mistakes will cause your Amazon.com or Walmart account not to be verified or suspended; for example, using a different address on your new Amazon.com account than on your bank account. Our training with Amazon Seller Central reps has helped clarify the requirements to avoid extra verification. Real utility bills are not cheap.
Expanding to the U.S.
Since 1997, NCP has been rocking the entrepreneurial scene, helping visionaries of all stripes dominate the U.S. market. We’ve seen ’em all, folks – the game-changers, the go-getters, and those who couldn’t quite make it past year one. But what separates the winners from the whiners? Let’s dive into this epic tale of chess-like strategy and gutsy expanders ready to conquer the U.S. arena!
Imagine the exhilarating world of chess, where each move counts, and only the boldest players emerge victorious. Now, picture a parallel universe where gutsy entrepreneurs set their sights on U.S. expansion. That’s what we call an “expander.” These fierce warriors are willing to take risks, chase their dreams, and push the boundaries of success.
At NCP, we’ve mastered the art of unleashing the untapped potential within these badass expanders. With our battle-tested expertise dating back to ’97, we’ve witnessed firsthand the defining traits that separate the long-term conquerors from the one-hit wonders.
Join us on this thrilling journey as we unlock the secrets of success in the U.S. market. We’re here to arm you with the wisdom, the know-how, and the sheer audacity to carve out your place in the annals of greatness. Let’s roll those dice, my friends, and make your U.S. expansion the stuff of legends!
Three Levels of Players
Picture this, my fellow adventurers of e-commerce expansion! We’ve got a special breed of expanders here who are all about playing a short-term game. They’re focused on just a move or two ahead, solely fixated on setting up their Amazon.com seller central account. It’s like a chess master eyeing that critical opening move but with a twist.
These crafty souls often rely on a simple checklist, either self-researched or handed to them by a savvy coach or marketing group. The goal? To arm them with the basic steps needed to kickstart their journey and keep the momentum rolling, ensuring they don’t throw in the towel prematurely. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s the kicker, though. Some of these bold sellers do hit the jackpot, riding on the wings of luck. It could be their uncanny product selection or impeccable timing in the ever-changing market. The stars align, fortune favors them, and voila! Success beckons.
But let me tell you; there’s a bigger game at play here. We’re about to uncover the secrets that will transform these fleeting strokes of luck into a long-lasting empire of triumph. Stay tuned as we unveil the strategies that separate the mere luck-seekers from the true masters of the e-commerce universe. Let’s level up together and seize the throne of success!
Novice Player Profile/Characteristics:
- They are a newbie seller
Considerations at Each Level
Here is the “game played” or expansion pathway by all three E-Commerce Expanders. The goal is to expand and sell on Amazon.com and set up Shopify Payments.
They do research and find out the bare minimum to set up an Amazon Seller Central Account and Shopify and they find out that all that is required:
- Business name, address, and contact informationEmailAn international chargeable credit cardPhone numberComplete the tax interview
- Sign up as an Amazon.com professional seller (not individual sellers)
- Provide the following
- Business name, address, and contact information
- An international chargeable credit card
- Phone number
- Complete the tax interview
- Shopify payments require approval
- U.S. taxation requirements is key
- Taking shortcuts leads to costly mistakes down the road
This type of expander already has an existing business, selling online, and has had some success increasing sales over their first year in business. They have discovered there are many more steps involved with e-commerce than they first thought, and their competence is growing every day.
Finally, they have cash flow but little – if any – profits, so they still only ask 2-3 questions and are very focused on the low-cost solutions to save money short-term versus trying to maximize their time and profits for the next 12 months.
Class A-D Player Profile/Characteristics:
- They have been in the selling business for one-year
- They have cash flow but little or no profits
- Looking for low-cost solutions due to lack of profits
- They only want to know the next steps to sell in the U.S.
- They have a much greater chance of beating the odds because they made it past the first year in business
They do more research since they are working with an e-commerce accounting or tax firm. For example, an EU seller knows that VAT compliance is required, so they work with a firm for compliance. This seller has access to more information about expanding to the U.S.
- Before signing up for an Amazon.com professional account, they do research.
- They realize it is simple to register on Amazon.com with all their foreign details, but they check to see any issues with updates later.
- They read up on sales tax and other U.S. compliance steps and determine Amazon is collecting in 47 states, so this is not a concern.
- They realize it may be beneficial to have an EIN, and they read online. They can call the IRS to get their own over the phone, saving themselves money.
- They look to establish a U.S. mailing address for convenience and find a low-cost provider with good reviews.
- They will wait until the end of the year to look at taxes, to determine what returns may need to be filed
- They have read about the possible benefits of forming a U.S. LLC for Insurance, but are not sure if they need to retake the tax interview or not
This type of expander is a seven-figure-plus seller and runs a profitable business with a successful team. They have to build a valuable brand and are very detailed in their analysis of expanding to the U.S. They realize it is much more involved to find the lowest cost service provider online for the next step, “move.”
They will seek out a one-stop-shop provider with detailed information to maximize their time, value, compliance, and profits, without taking any unnecessary risk or devastating shortcuts for their business or brand.
Grand Master Profile/Characteristics:
- Seven & eight figure-plus seller
- Selling on more than one platform internationally
- Profitable business
- Team assembled
- They have built and sold e-commerce businesses
- Looking for advisors and a one-stop-shop for guidance to protect and grow their brand
- Evaluate multiple factors involved in the process, including steps for future U.S. growth
- They are part of the 5% that is in business and expanding five years from now
They start with the end in mind. They are focused on their goal. Is that a 7-8 figure exit? Add another seven figures in sales to their brand? It could also be an expert in another field, entering e-commerce for the first time, as they carefully calculate all the requirements to launch. They plan out the first-year tax responsibilities and all the fees.
They plan on selling on other platforms, including Walmart. They have spoken to their tax professionals in their home country and gotten their advice. They seek out professionals in the U.S.
They realize they must understand their opponent first (in this case, that refers to the marketplaces, U.S. federal and state sales tax, trademarks, advertising costs, product development lead time, cash flow requirements, and others). They are looking to grow and protect their already valuable brand.
In the end, they may end up not forming a U.S. company unless required for Shopify payments or selling on Walmart, but at least they will invest in a strategy call to determine their best options.
- Before setting up a U.S. e-commerce account, they search out experts that understand all U.S. expansion components, including state sales tax and federal income tax, tax treaties, trademarks, the value of the U.S. entity vs. foreign entity.
- They invest in a strategy session or two with several resources to formulate a game plan to move forward.
- They have an exit strategy in mind
- They execute their plan with a proper budget, and they understand the foundation of the U.S. expansion is critical.
- They can't afford to damage their brand or reputation by not complying with U.S. taxes.
- The patterns of success are apparent. Even if you don't have the current success as a Grand Master, you can follow in their footsteps and first take a step back and invest in a proper evaluation of your best strategy to ensure you can succeed in the U.S. e-commerce markets.