Starting / Market research

Business success in the US – get your entry right

Having worked in the US market for over 12 years and dealt with hundreds of Australian companies trying to gain business success in the world’s largest consumer market, I have seen first-hand what makes for a successful market entry strategy.

12 February 2016 by

If I had a dollar for every time an Australian company said to me “If we only get one percent of the US market we will have it made” I would be a rich man. True, the US market is one of the largest and most lucrative in the world but it is also one of the most competitive. Careful planning therefore, will save you a lot of time, money and energy, and could lead to business success.

One common mistake Aussies make is thinking of the US as one market. Many shake the hand of the first person that shows interest in their product and grant them exclusive distribution. Big mistake!

The US is, in fact, made up of many significant markets and companies need to carefully segment by geography and industry focus.

Want more articles like this? Check out the market research section.

It may be that you decide to target only one State or even one region within a State as part of your initial market entry. How is this viable? Well did you know that six US States (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania) rank in the top 25 economies in the world?

That’s why market research is key in this respect and luckily the States is rich in terms of readily available information whether it be statistics on industry scale and demographics or databases of potential distributors and customers.

Take wine brand Yellowtail. Back in 2000 they conducted extensive market research to develop a range of products to appeal to the American palate at the right price point. They also took their time in securing the services of a large family owned distributor who had just parted ways with a major Aussie brand.

The result?

Their dream was to sell 10% of Rosemount at that time; something like 150,000 cases in a few years developing the brand. The company ended up selling one million cases in 13 months!

This is a prime example how, if you’re willing to take your time both in segmenting the market and choosing the ‘right’ partner for your initial market entry, this can pay off for you in a very big way in the long run!

Have you uttered the words “If we only get one percent of the US market we will have it made”? Got any questions for me? Fire away!

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is an international trade veteran with expertise in imports, exports, international freight and logistics. He is CEO of Cargo Hound. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • The most difficult thing from my perspective with this is networking. Finding the right people to help make a US expansion happen. I run a food production business, the first of its kind in the world, and we field a few enquiries from people in the States about getting our products over there. About 10% of traffic to our site actually comes from the US but we don’t actively market or promote to them. But business is done between people. How do you find the right people? Or even, who ARE the right people?

  • Hi Ilucas

    You are spot on – Definitely a case of “its not what you know, its who you know”! We have set up as a one-stop-shop to find the right information, advice and people to go to the States – It is free to join. I would also be happy to have a chat about your US market entry – Shoot me an email to and let me know a good time to call you



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