in Operations and People, Sales & marketing, Year 1

Small and medium-sized international businesses who want to enter and grow in the USA will need to pass the “Startup Chasm” – the most difficult journey for international companies wanting to enter the USA and achieve success.

I define the Startup Chasm (inspired by Geoffrey Moore’s Chasm theory) by the critical first period you have to go through after evaluating the market and having said GO to entering the USA, but before you have a significant customer base and a steady and ongoing business in the United States. Looking in the rearview mirror the Startup Chasm is easy to recognize and rationalize however looking ahead and into the Chasm, the Chasm most often is appearing as small, insignificant and very temporary. A small hole in the ground that will be easy to surpass.

Most small and medium-sized international enterprises are sadly unaware of the depth of the Startup Chasm and the resource requirements for successfully making it through. This lack of respect and know how of the Startup Chasm is, in my experience the primary reason for international businesses to fail in the US market.

If you want to survive in the US-market, you need to be highly aware of the Startup Chasm, the resources and team work it takes to overcome it and the time before the Chasm is behind you. Most companies that fail in the USA fail for some reason related to being unable to make it through the Startup Chasm.