Navigating the American Dream: Strategic Insights for Startups Expanding to the US

Expanding your startup into the United States is not just about entering a new market; it’s about embracing an ecosystem ripe with opportunity and challenge. The US market is vast and varied, offering unmatched access to capital, a large customer base, and a vibrant culture of innovation. 

At Seven Legal, we also recently expanded to the US in 2023 and we can provide expert legal guidance to help you navigate this journey with confidence and strategic acumen.

Why the US market?

The pull of the US market comes from its scale and accessibility, but what makes it particularly enticing for UK startups?

  • Vast Customer Base: The US is renowned for its large, diverse population, offering a wide array of consumer preferences and needs that can be leveraged for tailored marketing and product development. It also has a highly developed business ecosystem offering almost boundless opportunity.
  • Funding Opportunities: The US is at the global epicentre of venture capital firms and investors looking to fund promising ventures, providing startups not just with capital but also with valuable business connections and mentoring.
  • Hub of Innovation: With global centres of innovation like Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128, and New York’s Silicon Alley, the US offers startups a chance to be at the forefront of technological advancements and industry trends.
  • Exciting people and talent: The US is also a magnet for top talent, attracting skilled professionals from diverse industries and geographies, which benefits startups looking to build a high-performing and dynamic workforce. 
  • Enhancing Brand Perception: Expanding to the US can also elevate a startup’s credibility and brand image, leading to increased visibility and opportunities for international collaborations.

What are the challenges of expanding into the US?

Expanding your business operations to the US is not without difficulties. Here are some of the key challenges you’ll face:

  • Competitive employment market: The US is a notoriously hot market, with over 33 million small businesses currently registered. This means you will have to fight hard to attract top talent (not to mention managing higher salary expectations).
  • Regulatory compliance: US regulations can be particularly complex because they often differ at the federal, state, and even local level. You’ll need to consider how this impacts your business. Key areas to be aware of are: tax and payroll, labor laws, data privacy, intellectual property and immigration laws.
  • Cultural challenges: While cultural differences may be more subtle than market and legal challenges, they are still significant and should not be overlooked. You’ll need to consider communication styles, customer expectations (e.g. around service levels), and how other differences in the market might impact your product and your go to market strategy.

Strategic Considerations for Entering the US Market

A successful US expansion goes beyond understanding the market; it involves strategic legal and operational planning:

1. Understanding the Market: Begin by asking some basic questions:

    • Who are your competitors?
    • What is your target market? 
    • Who has market share? 
    • How do you compete and win business?

Researching and answering these questions will help you identify key opportunities and challenges that you’ll face and will help you start to plan the resources, expertise and time you might need to tackle your expansion.

2. Choosing the Right Structure: You’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of the various models – including tax implications and exposure risk – and determine the most suitable structure for your company. Depending on your size and plans, this could be a Corporation (C-Corp or S-Corp), Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a partnership. 

3. Registering Your Business: Once you’ve chosen the right structure you’ll also need to register your business. This can be a lengthy process and involves: choosing a name, filing the right tax information, and registering with the Secretary of State. 

4. Hiring (and Compliance with Employment Laws): Once you are set up you can start your hiring journey but be aware that US labour laws are complex and vary by state. Issues such as immigration requirements, wage laws, worker classification, and employment benefits all need thought to ensure you can comply and so you avoid potentially costly penalties down the line.

5. Intellectual Property Strategy: The US has a robust intellectual property system designed to protect and leverage your innovations. Effective IP strategy includes registering key patents and trademarks promptly and ensuring your business does not infringe on existing IP rights as you set up and expand.

How We Can Help: Free Initial Consultation

Embarking on a US expansion? Start with a free consultation from Seven Legal. We are already advising other UK start-ups to expand successfully into the US, not to mention that it’s a journey that we have been on ourselves! Our experts will discuss your specific needs, from selecting the right business structure to understanding your tax obligations and more. We’re here to help you build a solid foundation so your US operations flourish.


Expanding your business to the US is an exciting but intricate process that offers tremendous growth potential. It requires careful planning, familiarity with a new legal environment, and strategic execution. With Seven Legal, gain a partner who understands both the promise and the pitfalls of the US market. 

Contact us today to pave your way to successful expansion.


By Bill Cogan, Founding Partner of Seven Legal

Bill is a dual-qualified lawyer, as a Solicitor of England & Wales and an Attorney-at-Law for the State of New York.