Management InSites

Breaking Into the U.S. Water Sector: Regulations & Opening Doors

In this second “deep dive” into the water industry, we once again explore challenges specific to this sector. Companies in any line of business, however, that must interact with municipal or other governmental agencies can benefit from the information below.

Companies that are rooted in the water industry have specific issues and concerns to address that businesses in other sectors do not. When these companies want to make their way into the U.S. market, those issues and concerns are magnified, due to several factors, including governmental regulations and red tape, lack of real-world testing locations, and a fractured market.

To be successful in the U.S., it is imperative to have proven example projects at scale. Your firm will need to convince a large government entity to take a chance on you. Without the right resources and team to open the right doors, this can be downright impossible. Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have the funds and team in place, and by partnering with people who have experience and connections in the U.S. market. Here are some tips to get you going:

  • Strict regulation guidelines and longer timelines are the norm and should be expected. Companies should build in the resources needed to navigate these factors, whether that is bringing in additional funds or hiring more people. Make sure your project budgets account for these hurdles so you still make a healthy profit at the end of the day.
  • Need more funds? The EPA offers several water research grants that can be invaluable to entrepreneurs in the water sector (as does other organizations). Grant writing, however, requires a good deal of time and experience. Having a designated grant writer on your team could make a big difference to your bottom line.
  • When trying to cut through the proverbial red tape, it can be helpful to have someone on your team who is certified in the sector to lend more credibility to your endeavor. Having a Certified Water Technologist (CWT) indicates a high level of knowledge and expertise to those in positions of authority within the industry. This particular certification is bestowed by the Association of Water Technologies.
  • To be successful in the long run, it is often necessary to make investments early on. As you explore your options within the U.S., consider working with consultants who have established connections at the municipal level. You might not be able to break through those governmental walls on your own, but your consultant might be perfectly positioned to make that introduction. Don’t shy away from such opportunities simply because they might increase your costs. Such connections could be lucrative in the end. Sometimes it really does take money to make money!
  • Rely on your network. The engineers on your team have been focused on scaling your technology, but they should also be tapping into their connections as well. While they might have specialized in a particular area of engineering after school, their former classmates and colleagues most likely include consulting engineers – perhaps even some within the U.S. market. Being able to bounce ideas off a network of experts is invaluable as you take the next steps.
  • Continue to build your network. In the U.S. many professionals connect via LinkedIn, so be sure to utilize that social media channel to its fullest potential! Create a company page and encourage your employees to be active on the network as well. Join groups related to the industry and try connecting with governmental officials as well. You can also build a content strategy that positions your company as industry thought leaders, which will also lend credence to your qualifications when bidding jobs.

Taking research from proof of concept to real-world testing is a challenge. Municipalities don’t (and can’t) take chances on technology that may not work. Testing products at scale is very challenging. Finding a way around these obstacles is imperative, and building your team, resources, and connections is the place to start.

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How can we help you?
Contact us or submit a business inquiry online.
Read more
  • Breaking Into the U.S. Water Sector: The Vast U.S.A.

    When considering entry into the U.S. market, it is imperative to remember how vast the U.S. is. While the water in most areas of another country with a small geographic footprint might be similar to one another, that is not the case here.

    July 26, 2021
  • The Changing World of 3PLs

    Third-party warehouses (3PLs) have historically provided companies with an invaluable service: the ability to store inventory and ship it out to customers around the globe. These warehouses are experts at packaging products to maximize order fulfillment.

    July 1, 2021
  • International Shipping and Incoterms

    When dealing with shipping internationally, especially from abroad to the U.S., setting the terms of the transaction from the moment the customer requests a quote is incredibly important. To avoid problems, unwanted costs, and even potential legal issues, there should be no room for confusion or ambiguity in the contract you set up with your customer.

    March 8, 2021
  • Shipping with HS and HTS Codes

    If your organization intends to ship or receive items to or from overseas, it is important to understand an integral part of the international shipping process: the Harmonized System (HS) and Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), which were developed by the World Customs Organization.

    February 8, 2021
How can we help you?
Contact us or submit a business inquiry online.

Breaking Into the U.S. Water Sector: Regulations & Opening Doors

In our previous post on the topic, we covered some important things to remember when setting up your company in the U.S. market. Beyond operations, sales, and marketing, a manager would be remiss not to focus on how cultural differences might impact the success of a subsidiary.

The U.S. is not homogenous

Unlike several other countries, the U.S. is vast – and not just in its size. Americans tend to break up the country into its East and West coasts, and the Midwest. But there are even more segments, like the South, Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, Florida, and Texas – all of which differ greatly from each other. There are several big cities, countless medium-sized markets, and even more rural or suburban areas. Interacting with people living in big cities will differ greatly from interacting with people in smaller towns. While it would be unwise to generalize, it is best to understand the culture of the part of the U.S. in which you are doing business before having expectations.

Patience is not always a strength among Americans

When in negotiations or conducting business, Americans tend to want to just get the deal done. While many other cultures take their time, get to know everyone involved, and move along at a comfortable pace, those in the U.S. do not always see a need to drag things out. Get ready for what looks like impatience, when in reality it is just a desire to be efficient and effective.

Don’t plan on in-person meetings 

At least not all the time. The tendency for Europeans and Asians to conduct most business in person is not the same in the U.S. Phone calls, emails, and now even video conference calls are the norm. Businesspeople like to work efficiently, and don’t gather in person unless it is necessary. First meetings, larger negotiations, and important topics are generally discussed in-person. Otherwise, don’t be offended or surprised if many of your interactions are taking place remotely.

Open-minded over traditions

A positive aspect of Americans in general is their ability to have an open mind. Many other cultures rely heavily on traditions, and act in certain ways because history dictates that they should. That is not the case in the U.S. Americans tend to welcome new ideas and concepts perhaps more freely than their foreign counterparts.

That being said, Europeans tend to rely on strongly forged bonds in which trust is paramount. Loyalty is key. Americans tend to be looser and more pragmatic when it comes to doing business. They don’t necessarily need to have known someone for years to begin working with them. At the end of the day, it’s about getting the deal done.