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10 Things You Need TO DO Before Taking Your Business To America – PART 2 of 2

  1. You don’t need to speak English perfectly, but you do need to be able to communicate and get your ideas across like an American: directly, to the point and succinctly. Americans don’t like long winded arguments about why they should buy something from you, they just want the facts. If they’re interested they’ll ask questions or you can go into more details once they’ve indicated they’re interested.
  2. Make sure you and your team keep American hours. Make sure you’re available, at least most of the time, your customers are awake. And, don’t forget to be available on weekends (Saturday but not Sunday) and DO be available when you go on vacation!
  3. Make sure all of your marketing materials (and that means your website, business cards, brochures, and I mean absolutely everything) are in English and that preferably the first thing visitors see when they come to your website is English. While you’re at it, you should get a .com website and don’t forget to get a US phone number which you can get from Skype or from Google Fi. Of course, this will vary depending on your industry but generally it will be better to look as local as possible.
  4. Study your market. Know it. Know the customers. Do your homework. You can’t arrive in America and start discovering it when you arrive (although you will), you need to arrive with a strong base of knowledge so that your American customers will rapidly get comfortable with you, and you with them.
  5. Price everything in dollars. Make it easy for your customers.
  6. Answer your phone on the first or second ring. Answer emails immediately and if you can’t answer right away send them a note saying when you’ll get back to them. Give them your cell phone number and don’t be surprised if they call you on a Saturday.
  7. Get yourself a good attorney and accountant and expect to pay a lot more than in your home country – about 6 to 9x more. It’s not that America has complicated laws and accounting (every country’s laws and accounting can be complicated), it’s just that you’re going to have lots of questions and you’ll need someone to answer them for you. Before, speaking to any though, spend a bit of time on the web reading as much as you can about tax and accounting issues, it will be a better use of your time and much cheaper.
  8. Make yourself a budget. How much are you going to invest in this idea of Taking Your Business to America?
  9. Be fast, plan on several trips per quarter. Just going once a year isn’t expanding to a new market, it’s tourism. Okay, you say: “But we live in a COVID world”. Well, take advantage of that and Zoom constantly.
  10. And, last but not least: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. You must go “out of the building” – whether in person or on Zoom or on a social network – and you must meet your potential customers.

So, pack your bags or get your favorite chair ready for the next Zoom call. You’re going to America.

 

 

10 Things You Need TO KNOW Before Taking Your Business To America – PART 1 of 2

  1. “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” This comes from the movie The Wizard of Oz and simply means you’re not home anymore, you’re in a strange land, far away from anything you’ve ever known before.
  2. Americans are very direct. We hate wasting time, especially if it’s business. Sure, there are always situations where a little bit of “getting to you know talk” is good but within a few minutes one dives right in.
  3. Americans are being sold to thousands of times a day – on TV (TV shows in America have commercials every 15-20 minutes), on the radio, in magazines, everywhere. They’re used to someone selling them something. That means they’re used to making a quick evaluation too. So, when selling to Americans, start with the end. Tell them what the problem is that you solve, explain your solution, and tell them the benefits. Do this briefly! And, then you can go into more detail. But, please DO NOT start with the details and if you hear the words “Get to the point” then you’d better jump to the conclusion immediately.
  4. Americans don’t care about your country, race, religion, or other attributes about you. They don’t even care if you have an accent. All they want to know is: how can we make money together. If you can’t answer that question, then you should never have left Kansas. In short, it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby – ‘cause the face of Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill.
  5. Americans like innovation. They like progress. They instinctively know that if they don’t innovate their competition will and their business will suffer. So, show them the benefit you bring them.
  6. It has become harder to get to the right executive to sell to. Getting in front of them to sell them your product is key – so you need to figure that out quickly. And, once you’re in front for them remember that they are being sold to ALL THE TIME, even in business, so remember that time is money and their time is precious. If they let you in, you had better have something good to offer them or else it will be a very short meeting. Finding and connecting with the decision-maker is very hard work. It’s all about networking whether in person or at a trade show or online so you need to make sure your networking skills are as sharp as they can be.
  7. “We don’t care about no stinkin’ badges”. You’ll need to see the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre to fully appreciate this line but in short, it means that Americans have a certain level of disrespect for authority, for rules, for precedent – you might even say for history. So, expect that and make it work to your advantage. Of course, some industries (e.g. banking) and regions are more conservative but even that is changing. But, don’t confuse breaking the rules with NOT following company policy or legal norms. Americans will follow those rules.
  8. Americans work really hard. They work long hours, staying late to finish a project is considered normal, as is going into the office on the weekend if needed and vacations are not the goal of work, rather the goal of work is advancement and more success – plus most Americans only get two weeks of vacation per year. There are some regional differences to attitude towards vacations; but when there’s a need to get something done those regional differences disappear. OK, so they work hard, so what? Well, they expect you to also. And, for you to be available all the time to answer their questions or to help them with a problem if they are your customer. So, you and your team need to be prepared.
  9. Americans love comfort. Make things easy for them. Give them a one-page summary of the pros and cons and benefits of your product or service. Give them hours when they can easily reach you even if you live on the other side of the planet. Be available when they are doing business (or at least try to be mostly available). And answer your phone and email on the weekend. It’s OK to take Sunday off.
  10. Do not talk about sex, money, politics or religion. Talk about sports (know the local team). And if they say something “funny” about your country, just shrug it off. Don’t say something “funny” about America – that’s not considered funny.

So go ahead and click your heels three times – it’s one of the most famous lines from that classic American film The Wizard of Oz –  and say “There’s no place like home and you’ll be there”. Because America can truly be a magical place where fortune and perhaps fame can be yours but you’ve got to try!

How to Steal Like Steve Jobs – A Presentation In English

This is a slightly longer presentation of How To Steal Like Steve Jobs, this time in English, that I made at the World Business Angels Investment Forum conference in Istanbul in 2019.

Please share this and drop me a line.

 

Many thanks go out to the folks who’ve done similar presentation who inspired me to spread the word that “the more things change the more they remain the same”.

How to Steal Like Steve Jobs – A Presentation In French

Here’s a fifteen-minute presentation on How to Steal Like Steve Jobs that I did in French for one of the local entrepreneur groups in Sophia-Antipolis, a large tech park near Nice, France. It’s a very condensed part of a full-day workshop I do on “stealing” like Picasso and Steve Jobs to come up with the next unicorn and come up with winning products, services and designs.

Please share this and drop me a line.

This video is in French (I speak both English and French with native fluency). I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to record myself doing this presentation in English (I have, I just haven’t recorded it), and when I do I’ll post it.

[Now available in English at http://boilingice.com/2019/06/how-to-steal-like-steve-jobs-english/]

 

 

Many thanks go out to the folks who’ve done similar presentation who inspired me to spread the word that “the more things change the more they remain the same”.

How to Pick Winning Startup Teams

Here’s a thirty-minute presentation on How to Pick Winning Startup Tech Teams I recently did for a room full of Russian angel investors at the annual Volga Angels conference in Samara, Russia (that’s where the Russians build their rockets) in September 2018. This was my first time in Russia and I also did one of my one-day entrepreneurship seminars at Samara State University – there really were some very fundable ideas in that group!

Please do share this and please do let people know where it came from. Thanks!

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation with extensive notes:

Patrick KEDZIORA – TEAM PRESENTATION – Pdf with Notes

Global Entrepreneurship – The Importance of a second language as long as it’s English.

Absolutely nothing prevents you from doing business on a global scale if you only speak one language… as long as the one language you speak is English.

And, yes I can understand if you’re upset that you have to learn a foreign language when you have one that is perfectly suited to you. And, sure English is historically seen as the language of colonists and imperialists. And, perhaps that explains it’s pervasiveness. But, you can’t deny that it is what it is and that you can choose to either accept it or not.

I write this, not for the millions of people who already speak English as a second language (ESL); but for entrepreneurs who aspire to think and act globally and struggle with English.

I started a company several years ago called Kedzoh [http://www.kedzoh.com] with the idea of being a global company from day one. We won a major innovation award called Startup Chile and then won another innovation award called Startup Brazil and then won yet another award called French Tech Ticket. In fact, winning those three awards is how we bootstrapped ourselves with $250,000 of equity-free money. (And that will be a subject of a number of blog posts in the future so keep your eyes out for them.) But, for now, let’s stay focused on the importance English. What did these three programs have in common? Well, all three required that you fill in the application in English and not their home language.

Winning those awards also meant that I moved to Chile for six months which turned into two years and then moved to Brazil for one year and then moved to France – the things you’ll do for free money. In Chile they speak Spanish, which I could get by in when I arrived and in Brazil they speak Portuguese which I did not speak when I arrived. And yet, in both countries, I was able to work with teams of local talent – developers, designers, and salespeople. By this point, I’m sure you’ve guessed that the common language we all used was English. So, for a global, team English is an absolute must.

You’re also probably wondering about French since we won French Tech Ticket. Well, I’m fortunate, I grew up in New York City but always spoke French at home so I ended up speaking both languages with native fluency. The issue in France wasn’t about language but more about culture. But, that will be the topic for another blog.

But what about selling your product or service to clients? Truth be told, I plunged ahead in both Spanish and Portuguese, even though I was no expert in those languages at the time. What convinced potential customers was the fact that 1) I made the effort to speak their language and 2) my enthusiasm for what I was selling was contagious. So yes, speak English but if you only speak English PLEASE make the effort to learn at least some of the local language you’re selling in. Your customers and team members will greatly appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, the fact that you’re sincerely trying to make the effort means a great deal to people. So, JFDI.

And, as to which language I speak in most countries. It’s mostly English. It’s the one language I have in common with clients around the world and with team members around the world.

But, it’s what I call international English; which means that people may use certain words which are slightly different in their usage than in the US. And, that’s where speaking another language helps in ‘speaking” International English. By being aware of the subtle differences that an English word might have. By not using jargon or euphemisms that will be lost to someone who didn’t grow up in New York City – for example: saying to your team “let’s hit this one out of the ballpark”.

And, perhaps most importantly, grammar is not the most important thing when speaking English it’s whether or not you can be understood. By that, I mean, your accent. Is it so thick that people can’t understand the words you are speaking?  It won’t matter a bit if you speak perfect English if the words you say are simply indecipherable. It’s better that you speak with a light accent (we all have accents, even I do), that you ARTICULATE your words and that you are understood. Speak slowly. Pronounce each word. Communicating is not a speed contest. What matters most is that your listener understands you.

Therefore, If you’re embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, I hope you’ll have your sights set on conquering the world – with clients, investors, and team members. So, I recommend that if you are to have one skill it should be the ability to communicate with the largest number of people possible on the planet and the only way to do that is to speak English. It’s simple, make English among the first skills in the 101 skills of an entrepreneur you’ll need. zzz link.

So, bon voyage, buen viaje, boa viagem, and have a nice trip.

How to Build a Pitch Deck – How to Pitch

Here’s a one-hour – Building a Pitch Deck and How to Pitch – presentation I had the honor of doing recently for The Next Society to a room full of entrepreneurs from the MENA region. And, I did this in Milan, Italy which I think is cool as I’m living in Nice, France; and was born in Paris, and grew up and lived most of my life in New York City. It was a real spaghetti bowl of nationalities and stories.

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation:

Patrick KEDZIORA – how to build a pitch deck – how to pitch – presentation online

Was Shakespeare an Entrepreneur?

The meaning of words evolve over time. For example, in 1828 England the word “Entrepreneur” was defined as a “manager or promoter of a theatrical production”.

I think this is an excellent bookend to the French definition of Entrepreneur… “one who undertakes or gets things done“.

You can easily think of a startup as a theatrical production. There’s you – the CEO or theatrical manager – there’s your team or your actors, your stage or your infrastructure, your lighting or marketing materials, your script or product/service/code. And, you as the theatrical manager have to bring all the pieces together and promote your play or startup so all the seats in the theater are filled every night.

Moreover, plays are much more similar to startups than you might think. Most plays don’t start as finished products. Most undergo rewrites and improvements. In fact, many don’t even start on Broadway, they start off-Broadway; often in a small town where the play is refined, feedback is sought from customers and critics, and adjustments are made until a final play – or Minimum Viable Product – is refined until it’s ready to move out of Beta and become a full-fledged product ready to be released to the public. In fact, plays will even have scenes and acts change once they ‘ve launched on Broadway.

But with a startup this entire process is speeded up. With a startup you’ve generally only written the first act of the play while you’re promoting the play to fill the house, and as the play is being performed you’re busy writing the other acts of the play while continuing to sell seats to tomorrows performance. And then, the whole things starts all over again the next night.

So what does this have to do with Shakespeare (1564- 1616)?

Well, besides, being a playwright, poet and actor he was also a theatre entrepreneur and part-owner of a playing company, known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, biographers have traditionally described him as not only writing his plays but also concerned about the business and financial affairs of his company and that he “continued to act in various parts, such as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, Adam in As You Like It, and the Chorus in Henry V.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_life)

Indeed, the 101 hats of an entrepreneur.

THE 101 HATS OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

Being an entrepreneur literally means having to wear 101 hats.

One of my best friends will call and ask me “Which Patrick am I speaking with?”. And, I always laugh because he’s right. As the Founder & CEO of a tech company – Kedzoh – actually being the Founder & CEO is the least of what I do. Most of the time I’m wearing any number of hats. I thought I’d share with you what that list looks like. Don’t be daunted by the list. The ability to learn a new role or ‘expertise’ (i.e. product pricing) is part of what you do as an entrepreneur – you just continuously JFDI whatever needs to be done and learn how to do it.

Here’s my list of the hats I wear from time to time.

  1. Founder
  2. CEO
  3. CTO
  4. Chief Operating Officer
  5. Chief Financial Officer
  6. Chief Marketing Officer
  7. Chief Sales Officer
  8. Chief Liaison Officer
  9. Chief Investor Relations Officer
  10. Board member
  11. Visionary
  12. Evangelist
  13. Product manager
  14. Product designer
  15. Graphic artist
  16. Travel agent
  17. Public relations specialist
  18. Secretary
  19. Filing clerk
  20. Copier jockey
  21. Strategic planning manager
  22. Accountant
  23. Tax accountant
  24. Human Resource Director
  25. Training manager
  26. Hiring manager
  27. Firing manager
  28. Project manager
  29. UX designer
  30. Programmer
  31. Code herder
  32. Logistics manager
  33. Product pricing manager
  34. Cost accounting manager
  35. Excel jockey
  36. PowerPoint jockey
  37. Pitch deck jockey
  38. Pitch person
  39. WordPress jockey
  40. Web designer
  41. Website manager
  42. Photographer
  43. Model
  44. HTML jockey
  45. Paint jockey
  46. Photoshop jockey
  47. iMovie jockey
  48. Final Cut Pro jockey
  49. Product tester
  50. In-house legal counsel
  51. Options specialist
  52. common stock, preferred stock, convertible debt specialist
  53. Negotiator
  54. Domestic sales manager
  55. Country sales manager
  56. International manager
  57. Business development manager
  58. Joint venture manager
  59. Channel sales manager
  60. Technical support (level 1, level 2 and level 3)
  61. Training
  62. Customer support
  63. Client manager
  64. Social media manager
  65. Facebook manager
  66. Twitter manager
  67. LinkedIn manager
  68. WeChat manager
  69. Blog manager
  70. Posting manager
  71. Identity manager
  72. Marketing manager
  73. Brand manager
  74. Blogger
  75. Speech writer
  76. Networking specialist (human networking)
  77. Contact database manager
  78. Contact database input clerk
  79. Editor
  80. Writer
  81. Script writer
  82. Cameraman
  83. Video editor
  84. Sound editor
  85. Production assistant
  86. Production coordinator
  87. Actor
  88. Supporting actor
  89. Director
  90. Producer
  91. Furniture installer
  92. Carpenter
  93. Electrician
  94. Mover
  95. Delivery person
  96. PC and MAC installer
  97. PC and MAC technical support
  98. Software maintenance jockey
  99. Driver and chauffeur
  100. Cheerleader, friend, lover (not the kind you’re thinking of) and
  101. Chief cook and bottle washer

Excuse me, I have to end this post, my second phone is ringing. “Hello, this is Patrick. How may I help you?”.

Part III Becoming an Entrepreneur – ‘Entreprendre’ – The Origin & Meaning of the Word Entrepreneur

Erroll Flynn pirate

By serendipity I can across this origin and meaning of the word “entrepreneur” in some forgotten Google equivalent of Quora named Google Answers. It fits perfectly with what I’ve been saying in Part’s I and II about becoming an entrepreneur:

“The word entrepreneur comes from the 13th century French verb entreprendre, meaning  to do something or to undertake.”

I think that sums it up perfectly!

“By the 16th century, the noun entrepreneur, had emerged to refer to someone who undertakes a business venture. The first academic usage of the term was by economist Richard Cantillon in 1730. For Cantillion, the bearing of risk engaging in business without an assurance of the profits that will be derived is the distinguishing feature of an entrepreneur.” And, that’s an okay definition but it fails to capture the importance of the action the verb conveys: to do something, to undertake.

In short, being an entrepreneur should be thought of as a VERB, it’s all about action; not a NOUN that simply describes someone. I think a more modern definition and update to Cantillon’s should be: someone who does, someone who JFDIs… someone who has a passion to achieve something that is greater than themselves with no regard to being guaranteed any success or profit.

So to go forward in your understanding of becoming an entrepreneur by going back to the 13th century French verb and think entreprendre… to do and JFDI!