Five Tips for Business Networking in America

An extensive network is essential when establishing your business in the US. Our tips for business networking in America will help create lasting relationships.

If you want to spread the good word about your business, then networking is the ultimate pathway to success. This is one of the more efficient ways to chase profits in the long term and if you do it right, networking can be enjoyable too.

Given that America and Europe are so connected – by popular culture, shared values and close historical ties – you may think business networking in America is more of the same. Once you’ve aced the skill, it’s applicable anywhere – right?

Not exactly. While many of the core skills remain the same, it’s important to remember that despite the shared language, you’re entering an entirely separate country, culture and business groups. Though making it in the Land of the Free might be many entrepreneurs’ dream, there are subtle ways you’ll need to adjust your approach when venturing across the Atlantic.

Adjust to US working culture

In Europe, working culture can take on a ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ attitude. Like most of Europe, statutory working conditions tend to be mandated by law. In contrast, corporate Americans have higher salaries and speak of ‘company benefits’.

This means Americans don’t just work to get by – their career is a fundamental part of their identity, and the positivity is heartfelt. Since Americans spend more time working, their networking is swift and to the point. Take note of this cultural difference when you approach business conversations at networking events

Sharpen your American business etiquette

Americans work to a tight schedule, and they run at high speeds. If you’re used to taking a laid-back approach to your business calendar, lose this attitude – fast. In America, meetings are likely to be shorter and more intense. Arriving just one minute late, or failing to seize vital information early on could mean big opportunities are missed.

Americans don’t meet, brainstorm or assess challenges, they ‘touch base’ – and then ‘bat 1000’, or ‘throw a curveball’ until they take it to the home run. American business language is heavily influenced by sport – when you’re communicating with American executives, you need to ‘play ball’, because everyone else is.

It’s also worth preparing for the direct nature of questions you’re likely to receive. Americans are much more comfortable discussing salaries than Brits, far less inclined toward personal contact than the French or Spanish, but less comfortable with silence than the Japanese.

It’s important to understand that direct and fast-paced with a penchant for firm handshakes doesn’t mean callous or self-interested. Manners are still important in American networking – and you should still try to form a personal connection with your business contacts.

business men shaking hands over a work desk

Choose the right state for your industry

When moving your business to an entirely new country, one challenge you may face is a lack of contacts. When we start out in the world of business networking, we almost always have contacts – even if it’s just an old college acquaintance or a coworker from more junior days. When you branch out overseas, this ‘early stage’ network won’t exist – so you need to get creative.

Reaching out to local industry groups is a great way to immerse yourself in a completely new social network. To do this, it is vital to choose the right state for your industry so that you’re heading into an existing ecosystem. Boston, Massachusetts has a thriving medical and life sciences industry, while Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is strong on manufacturing.

Alternatively, your business might need to tap into more than one state and you might need to consider having employees in a few different locations. While this may be infeasible if you choose to set up a subsidiary, with our Employee Management Service you can do just this, with minimal risk and upheaval.

Look for the value in individuals

As always, to get the most from business networking, you need a personal touch. Americans are more likely to ask for exactly what they want, so don’t be afraid to frame personal introductions in terms of your business and what you’re looking for professionally. Don’t treat your business ambitions as a side thought or be shy about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.

At the same time, personalities are usually more valuable than job titles. Don’t spend too much time chasing the senior executive everyone wants to see – instead, mingle and create bonds with people in your industry, regardless of seniority. Building a great rapport with a mid-level employee at a large US company could be more valuable than securing the contact details of an exec who will barely remember your name.

Plus, workers switch jobs more often in America – so you never know who might be a great contact in a few short years. Networking is a ‘long game’.

aerial photo of white office desk, containing documents, phones, coffee mugs and pens

Have something to offer

To build great networking groups, you need to ‘give before you ask’, and be sure to stay in contact. The direct American style involves introducing your company right off the bat and potentially offering sales and services.

But, if you’re looking for an investor, you’ll need to take the time to invest in them first, and get to know their corporate interests. American networking operates in a higher gear, but it is still a structured relationship-building process, so it’s unrealistic to presume you’ll secure what you want in a short visit.

Our Employee Management Service sources talented professionals already located in the States and hires the employees who represent you without the expense of setting up your own US entity. Since your carefully selected US workers will understand the local industry, this route could see you off to a head start, establishing contacts and capitalizing on key opportunities, well before you’re ready to make the move and giving you the all-important boots on the ground that are needed for networking.

Some businesses need to set up a subsidiary in America, however. We can help you to establish this if you wish and if you’re planning to lead the networking push on behalf of your business then hopefully the advice above should help.

SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER
Multilingual marketing professional with more than ten years of experience in traditional and digital marketing for B2B and B2C sectors. Miruna has an extensive background in building customer engagement and ensuring that clients have the best tools and information in hand.

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