No. While many of our clients have chosen to set up their headquarters or manufacturing facilities in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, we have the infrastructure and capabilities to support clients anywhere in the United States. And, we have a second office location and warehouse facility in Spartanburg, S.C.
For those who choose other locations, many still initially use the address that MI provides while setting up operations, and then seamlessly transfer their legal address to their new site when they are ready. There are many options for companies who are exploring their optimal location, and we can assist throughout the process – including selecting the ideal place to put down roots.
We do, however, offer additional benefits for companies that are flexible on where they set up. Using one of our locations as your company’s U.S. address means:
- You don’t have a physical commitment or long-term lease for an office or warehouse
- You can be operational with your U.S. activities while simultaneously evaluating alternative locations or building your own facilities
- As a bonus, we can also help with your construction needs through our Owner’s Representative Construction Services, if needed, for an additional charge.
We don’t need the full support of the International Business Incubator – we just need help getting our marketing materials on par with the U.S. market. Can MI still help us?
Absolutely. Whether you need a marketing strategy and plan creation, or just assistance with execution, we can become your in-house marketing team for the U.S. We can handle everything from English editing to email and social media marketing campaigns, from content and collateral creation to organizing and attending trade shows and events. And the same goes for accounting services and bookkeeping. MI can handle these tasks while you focus on your core competencies.
While MI can help you properly position yourself in the market and get your operation up and running (while recommending ways to trim unnecessary costs or processes), we find that Sales and After Sales Service are best left to the experts in the field: you! We can, however, help you identify and hire professional sales associates who are knowledgeable of your industry and the key players within it.
While we cannot provide legal advice regarding immigration, MI works very closely with immigration attorneys who are experts on the types of visas and documents needed to have a successful application.
As we see a 360-degree view of your business, we know the correct questions to ask them and points to bring up that will enable them to suggest the correct visa path for you or your employees. We communicate directly with them to get your questions answered and to determine what documents and forms are needed. We help you complete any necessary paperwork, and pull together a complete package to submit to the immigration authorities.
Our company has been operating in the U.S. for a little while, but we’re not making the headway we think we should be making. Can MI still help us?
Definitely. MI doesn’t need to play a role in your initial transition to the U.S. market to be helpful. We can enter at any point in the process and provide consulting or IBI services to assist your company to get back on track and start seeing the results you want.
MI works very closely with CPAs and can make recommendations based on your specific needs. We will handle bookkeeping and lower level accounting services. However, we are not accountants. We will work with the chosen CPA firm to ensure everything is provided for tax filings, but we are not responsible for the filings.
No. In fact, we have clients from England, Spain, and Germany in addition to Italy. We can help anyone who chooses to enter the U.S. market. In fact, our professionals have diverse backgrounds and skill sets, enabling us to better serve the individual needs of our clients. Collectively, we can converse in English, French, Spanish, and Italian, with a working knowledge of Portuguese and Mandarin as well.
MI neither imports goods nor acts as a distributor. Instead, we support establishing a U.S. entity which can then import goods. We can also interface with distributors and support sales operations, but we do not provide these services ourselves.
Yes! MI has a fully-staffed warehouse in Spartanburg, S.C., which is reserved for our IBI clients. You can learn more about it here.
Your initial investment is low. However, there is no fixed rate for the IBI. Services are billed hourly depending on the task and level of expertise needed to execute them. To join the program, you must pay a base retainer of $4,500.00 per month for 1 year.
With this, you have access to all of MI’s personnel and services when and as needed. Our staff is diverse, multilingual, full-time, and experienced at working with multiple companies at the same time. This makes the IBI a great initial staffing solution for your U.S. company.
The IBI starts at $4,500.00 a month, which equates to $54,000 a year. To put this in perspective, a single, full-time $41,000 employee will cost a company roughly $53,300 a year (this includes company taxes and benefits). Currently, in the U.S. labor market, a company would be hard-pressed to find an order processing staff member for this salary. However, with roughly the same amount, you will have access to a full team of MI employees who specialize in all areas of the business. In addition, you will not have to deal with any HR hassles pertaining to MI’s staff. The team reports to an MI Account Manager, who then handles any issues and ensures that your company’s U.S. entity continues to operate smoothly.
Bear in mind that this does not equate to 40 hours of work per week. The number of hours you can use against the $4,500.00 monthly retainer depends on the tasks handled by the back office. The more hours worked, the higher the final bill per month.
- Up to $4,500.00 worth of IBI hourly services
- 20% discount on any IBI hours worked over $4,500.00 per month
- 20+ years of expertise in starting and running U.S. subsidiaries for foreign companies
- A U.S. business address – you can use MI’s NC or SC address for your company headquarters
- Use of MI’s Conference Room in NC when needed
- Access to temporary office workspace when visiting MI’s NC or SC locations (If you need dedicated office space, and there is availability, we can do this under a separate lease agreement)
- Access to the internet when on site
- Use of MI’s fax line
- Monthly reports:
- List of services used
- Financial Report, which includes the P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement
- Additional Hours – any hourly services that exceed the monthly $4,500.00 retainer. But remember, you will receive a 20% discount on these “overage” hours.
- Phone line expense – We will create a dedicated phone line to be answered by MI staff as your company. We use a VoIP system and a flat fee is charged to your company for this service.
- VoIP Dedicated Extensions – If you need to have any dedicated phone extensions on our plan for any on-site or remote employees, an additional charge per dedicated phone extension will be billed. This does not include the equipment charge from the VoIP provider.
- Additional Software – Unless otherwise agreed, we set up IBI clients on QuickBooks Online (QBO) for your U.S. accounting software, and SOS Inventory if you have physical product in the U.S. We get better rates than if you purchased the software on your own. We bill this monthly at cost with no additional mark-up.
- Your Vendor Bills – If any vendors bill MI instead of your company directly, we will bill you back for the expense.
- Out of Pocket Expenses – Any out-of-pocket expenses by MI staff are billed separately.
- Dedicated Office Rental – If you need dedicated office space, and we have room in our NC or SC locations, a lease agreement for the space will be billed separately.
- Warehouse Storage – If you use our IBI Warehouse to store any goods, a separate Warehouse storage agreement will be necessary. (Any hours worked by the warehouse staff can be billed against the IBI retainer).
- Management Services – If you need MI’s senior managers to serve in an interim management position for your company (CEO, CFO, Board Member, etc.), this would be billed under a separate Management contract.
Again, we have a monthly retainer that starts at $4,500.00 per month with a one-year contract. Like other professionals, MI charges by the hour. We have tasks divided by skill level and all employees track their time. You will receive a monthly report of the hours and can add and retract services as needed.
Any hours worked over the retainer are billed at a 20% discount and only billed every quarter. That way, if you go over budget one month, you can adjust the next. This also means that while we offer a full range of services under the IBI, you only pay for exactly what you use. Only need 10 hours of marketing this month? No problem. Sold more than expected and need extra hours for order processing than the month before? We’ve got you covered.
MI reconciles IBI client hours every quarter. As an example, if your company uses only $4,000.00 worth of services in January, but then needs $500.00 extra in February, then everything will be even. However, if at the end of Q1 you haven’t used all of your hours, they will be lost and the accounting will begin anew in April for Q2.
We sometimes get asked this. A U.S. subsidiary is a separate legal entity from the parent company, which is different from having a branch office in the U.S. (some people use the terminology interchangeably, but they are not). Having a subsidiary makes doing business in the U.S. much easier.
For example, if you want a U.S. bank account for customers to pay into, if you want to send employees from the parent company to work in the U.S., or you want U.S.-based insurance, you will certainly need a U.S. subsidiary. These are just a few examples, and we are happy to discuss more with you!
From an organizational standpoint, your U.S. subsidiary would still be 100% owned by the parent company (or the individuals who have invested in the new U.S. entity). When MI managers are responsible for supervising an organization (either as a member of the Board, as CEO, or as another member of the management team), they do so just until you are able to replace them with a new hire or an employee from another location. You remain the owner of your company at all times.
We can get you operational in less than a week. Establishing a U.S. entity is fairly quick and painless, and does not require a large financial commitment to open. Using our address and setting up a phone number is also quite painless.
Obtaining your EIN, getting bank accounts established, and putting the correct insurance in place can take a few more weeks. The same for if you need documents reviewed by a corporate lawyer.
But, we can start answering phones and interacting with your customers in no time at all!
No, your customers will not know MI exists. MI’s staff operates as the U.S. subsidiary’s fractional employees. As such, we:
Communicate via the U.S. subsidiary’s emails
Answer and call from the U.S. subsidiary’s phone number
Hand out U.S. subsidiary business cards
With MI’s staff acting as your employees, the U.S. operation will be bigger – there are more people and departments for the company’s customers to interact with. This gives the market a deeper sense of commitment, which can itself help drive sales. And best of all, it’s real – MI does all the functions a direct employee would do.
Your CEO or assigned manager remains in charge and we report to them. They will benefit from our years of experience working with other companies entering the U.S. market.
However, if you have limited resources and would like interim management, either while your manager applies for a visa, or you look to hire the right person, we can fill that gap for an additional charge. See our Management Services section.
We pride ourselves on building long-term partnerships with our clients, so we do require at least a one-year contract. We have clients that stay with us for 12 to 18 months and others that stay with us for years. We are focused on helping you grow, so we celebrate when you are big enough to leave the program and help train your new employees for a smooth transition. After all, the purpose of the program is to assist companies in achieving a level of self-sufficiency that will allow them to successfully compete in the North American market.
Each company is different and we can help mitigate risks in multiple ways. Some of the more frequent are:
- Using the IBI to run your U.S. subsidiary, as a clearly distinct legal entity, helps you avoid piercing the corporate veil. This is important from a litigation and taxation point of view.
- Providing outside analytical process review by:
- Suggesting improvements focused on growing the company
- Implementing U.S. best practices in multiple areas
- Ensuring margins exceed operating costs
- Offering marketing and sales strategies to break into the U.S. market
- Helping you implement proper procedures to safely use U.S. bank accounts to process and receive payments.
Yes, MI’s staff would support any direct employees the U.S. subsidiary hires, such as sales and technical service personnel, as well as train direct employees to replace our team as your company grows.
Working with your employees (here or abroad) is essential to ensuring the U.S. subsidiary runs smoothly. Our Value Chain details which tasks MI’s employees can handle on their own, which need to be in coordination with you, and which are not covered (but supported) through the IBI.
We have found that to exceed in the U.S. market, you need a salesperson with experience and connections in your industry. We have worked in a lot of industries, and know how to establish procedures and instill best business practices across industries, but we do not have the connections to jump-start sales. An industry expert is the best person for this job. Plus, you want a salesperson who is 100% dedicated to your business to help ensure success!
The same goes with technical service. You are the experts. We help support, but take a back-seat to let you do what you do best.
Yes! We have a warehouse in Spartanburg, S.C. that offers full logistics services. This option is strictly reserved for our IBI clients. You can learn more about it here.
MI’s extensive warehouse location in Spartanburg, SC contains several dynamic areas that can be used for showroom purposes. IBI clients can store speciality machinery or products in these designated areas where customers can come to view them in person. For more information, ask your account manager.
The accounting department of the IBI acts exactly as an in-house accounting team for your business. We provide a full-service approach, with bookkeeping services as well as providing financial statements and higher-end financial analysis. We have a close visual of the details that make up your financials and can readily respond to noted fluctuations that can impact your company’s performance.
Certified Public Accounts (CPAs), on the other hand, are utilized to file your company’s taxes, render opinions on audits, help with transfer pricing, and represent you in case of an IRS (Internal Revenue Service) tax dispute.
Because of the 360-degree services we provide as an IBI, and how many of those aspects of your company can affect your financials, we know what questions to ask the CPA to ensure your success, and what questions to ask you to make your books ready for tax preparation and other annual audit paperwork. In short, the IBI’s accounting services provide everything leading up to tax preparation, which is where a CPA steps in. You will need both to be successful in the U.S. market!
MI has worked with several local immigration attorneys, corporate attorneys, CPAs, and more. We can introduce you to them and let you decide if you would like to work with them as well. Alternatively, if you already have a team of professionals in place, we can seamlessly work with them instead.
Yes. We can help you write a business plan that not only maps out your company’s strategy, but also helps with the immigration process. (Business plans are required for E and L work visas and often these need to be tailored to support the requirements of the visa you are applying for, or for the individual(s) you intend to bring over.) The business plan will cover: company history and mission, industry analysis, assessment of company’s capabilities, SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), 12-month objectives and 5-year goals, business strategy, and pro-forma financial statements for the first 3 years of operations.
An analysis of the industry in the U.S. should be your first step to determining if it is even right for your company to expand into the U.S. market. (See an example here where the advice of MI’s professionals, after an industry analysis, was that the company should not enter the U.S. market due to unfavorable conditions that would have made it very difficult for them to succeed). You may already know some of your competitors, but do you know them all? Have you looked deeply at your company’s structure and culture to ensure it has the capabilities to meet the potential demands of the U.S. market? Do you know where your target customers, supply chains, and key logistic points are located in the U.S., which could make where you locate important? Do you know the current U.S. trends that could provide opportunities or threats to your business? All of this and more is needed to build the right U.S. entry strategy.
While we are not site selection experts, we can put you in contact with those who are, and will work closely with them on your behalf. We also have close relationships with local and state economic development teams. When looking at incentives, we caution against being too shortsighted in possible gains. You should pick your location first and foremost based on your needs now and in the long term:
Will you have access to the skilled workforce you will need?
Is this a place people are moving to or moving away from?
What’s the time difference between there and your parent company? Will collaboration be easier or harder than other locations?
Will you have access to the transportation centers you need (port, rail, plane, etc.) to quickly move goods and people across the country?
Is the community one that your transferred employees (and their families) will thrive in? What cultural centers and activities are around? How are the schools and neighborhoods?
If more than one location meets all your needs and there are no downsides between selecting one over the other, then certainly incentives should be taken into account, and we can help you negotiate the best deals.
Can MI help us understand how best to set up the company from a legal and organizational point of view?
In the U.S., you can have a C-Corp, an S-Corp (this option is not available for foreign-owned companies), or an LLC (learn more about these here). Sometimes, especially if you will own real estate and a corporation, it is best to divide your investment into different legal entities. After understanding your situation (management structure, ownership structure, goals for growth, etc.), MI can advise on the best path forward. This should always be addressed together with CPAs, corporate attorneys, and immigration attorneys, as each path could have implications for other aspects of the business. That is why an advisor with a full 360-degree view of your business is key, and where MI provides the most value. You can learn more about these types of U.S. entities in our inSite.
We have been approached by many other service providers but don’t know how to choose? Can MI help us?
You will always need a team of professionals when entering the U.S. market. For example, you need a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for federal tax filings, and a corporate lawyer to ensure you follow business laws and protect yourself from litigation as much as possible, to name just a few. MI is happy to help you evaluate which professionals would be best for your business. We can also introduce you to several we work with on a regular basis to help fill out your team.
If a member of the MI staff acts as the CEO of our U.S. subsidiary, can he/she make important decisions without consulting us?
While our managers routinely make day-to-day decisions that need immediate attention without consulting you, any strategic or otherwise important decisions would always be discussed prior to being implemented. Normally, a yearly budget and strategic plan is developed and presented to the Board of Directors for approval, and then the CEO ensures it is carried out. The benefit of having one of our professionals manage your company is that you do not need to worry about routine issues.
We always suggest that the company have at least two bank accounts – an operating account that MI’s staff has access to in order to process routine business transactions, and a savings account only accessible by the owner/manager of the parent company. For the operating account, MI separates access within our team. The accounting department can view the account to keep the books in order, and they can initiate payments, but only a manager with signing authority can actually sign checks, and send wires and ACH payments. And finally, MI is fully ensured to cover you should any of our employees incorrectly access or spend your funds.
In addition, you are provided with a P&L and a Balance sheet every month, and will have full login access to your company’s financial accounting software. The Director of Accounting can create cash flows, budgets, and other financial analysis as needed.
Yes, and you can be involved as little or as much as you prefer. We can handle the hiring process by creating job descriptions in the U.S. format, advising on appropriate compensation packages (salary and benefits including 401K (retirement plans), health insurance plans or allowances, PTO (paid time off), company Holiday schedules, and any additional benefits like housing, car, or phone allowances), posting the job announcements, identifying the best candidates (sometimes with the help of recruiting firms or head hunters,(depending on the position), conducting interviews, providing background checks, and making recommendations.
You can also read about how we can work with HR specialists to ensure a cultural fit with the staff you intend to hire here.
The short answer is yes. While industrial marketing is different from B2C marketing, industrial companies still need to differentiate their brand to clearly communicate their value to the market. There are several ways that industrial firms can stand out from the crowd by using traditional marketing techniques. You can read more about this topic here.
Yes! In fact, we handle social media for many of our clients. Curating content, planning posts, and developing a following can be time-consuming. You can leave this to us.
Yes. MI is very experienced in producing secondary data market research, which allows our clients to better decide whether and how to enter the U.S. market.
While we aren’t an advertising agency, we can work with your agency (or help you choose one) and lead the process of creating and delivering ads. We would be the liaison between you and the agency so that you can focus on your company’s core competencies.
Yes. With the help of market studies and focus groups, we can help you adapt your brand so that it is more relevant for the U.S. market. You can read about how we helped a European company rebrand for their U.S. market entry here.
While many foreign companies still like to maintain control of their own messaging, it is important to have someone knowledgeable of the U.S. market (who is also a native American English speaker) edit communications prior to publication. This helps ensure that the wording is not only correct, but that it is in line with the greater brand image and strategy.
MI’s staff are not translators, but we can work with companies that specialize in this if needed. We normally take your English documents and review them from a native American English speaker’s point of view. Keep in mind that translation between one language and another is an art, not a science. Do not expect your communications in one language to be exactly the same as in another. We ensure that the meaning of your message is conveyed in the best possible way for the U.S. market.
Yes. Sometimes it’s not about what you’re doing, but where you’re going. We can help you decide if there are more appropriate shows for your company to attend, and then execute a strategy that will get you noticed. Examples of tactics that have worked for other clients include better booth designs, sponsored gatherings, articles and ads in show programs, and marketing inserts for attendee bags.
Absolutely. Prior to the show, we can handle all booth-related orders, badges, lead retrieval, shipping, etc. And while we do not handle sales, we can attend trade shows to help with ideal booth set up, and engaging attendees at the events.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that some marketing and sales activities will temporarily or permanently change. Trade shows could be part of this. You can still get in front of your target audience by creating a virtual summit, attending a virtual trade show, or developing a comprehensive content strategy through a company blog. MI can help you navigate these uncertain times by developing strategies and implementing them on your behalf.
While we are not your sales arm, we can help advise on sales and marketing strategies, as these can often be interrelated. For example, we have helped companies new to the market develop strategies to push their products with distributors by developing a Distributor Incentive Plan, where we help identify key distributors, track their progress, and reward success with various incentives. You can read about one success story here.
An Owner’s Representative acts as an extension of the owner’s team, managing the day-to-day operations of a building project. An Owner’s Representative can advise and represent the owner from the earliest stages of the project, through design, permitting, pre-construction, bidding, commissioning, move-in, etc. Owners Representatives represent your interests only – and not those of the contractors, designers, or suppliers.
Construction in any location is a challenge, particularly in an unfamiliar country. There are constant concerns about price, schedule, and quality, which must be consistently monitored to ensure that a facility is completed on time, within budget, and that it meets quality expectations. Through MI’s sister company, MI Construction inSites (MICI), our Owner’s Representative Services provide construction project oversight to ensure the facility the client builds in the U.S. conforms to U.S. standards while meeting the client’s specific requirements.
Yes, the design-build process can be a challenge because there are more moving parts than in a normal design-bid-build project. This requires constant attention to ensure proper execution of the project, and that is something an Owner’s Representative can provide.
MICI’s Owner’s Representative Services can provide basic cost estimates through its extensive knowledge of construction to help budgeting and evaluating whether to purchase an existing structure or build.
How would the Owner’s Representative understand the technical details and processes associated with a construction project?
Our staff has 20+ years of extensive experience on construction projects valued at over $35M across several industries. MICI’s managers, who have been Consultants, Project Managers, Inspectors, and Auditors on past projects, have the technical expertise and the interpersonal skills needed to navigate complex projects, approach serious issues, and resolve in a professional manner all the conflicts that normally arise during the construction process. MICI’s CEO is also a licensed General Contractor in both North Carolina and South Carolina and is able to fully support our clients in understanding the local requirements that are peculiar to the construction industry in our region.
Normally, we do not provide 100% onsite supervision. However, we establish an open and continuous communication channel with the general contractor across the entire period of the project and we do guarantee a presence onsite based on the complexity of the project. For large projects, we can hire ad-hoc project inspectors to reside onsite and assist full-time during the construction process.
With any project, our Managers will perform regular inspections and audits, monitor the schedule and progress made along with the project, and comfortably support our clients in the payment application and purchase orders review process.
Contract structure and risk transfer are very important in the U.S. MICI will help review and will work with your council to develop contracts that best protect your interests. Additionally, insurance and lien rights differ in the U.S. and from state to state. MICI has experience managing these requirements and processes and can help reduce risk.
MICI’s Owner’s Representative acts as an advocate on your behalf. We communicate directly with the contractors and negotiate terms. While not every unexpected cost is unavoidable, we have the knowledge to determine what is necessary, and what is unreasonable. We can then communicate everything to you so that you can make an informed decision.
Where necessary, MICI can step in and take more control over the project by closely monitoring the process. We can try to expedite where possible, and hire different contractors when necessary. While some things like the timing of work permits are out of our control, we take the reins elsewhere to make sure the project stays as close to schedule as possible.
At the beginning of the project, you and the Owner’s Representative will decide on the best means of communication: frequency, channel, etc. If an urgent matter arises, MICI will alert you as soon as possible.
The option to store and ship goods from our Spartanburg, S.C. location is reserved for our IBI clients. Our logistics capabilities, however, are not exclusive to the warehouse location. We provide logistics support as part of our back-office operational services to clients from our Charlotte headquarters as well (for drop-shipments to customers from the manufacturing facilities, and by seamlessly working with additional 3PLs, freight forwarders, and more).
Unfortunately, the warehouse option is reserved for our IBI clients. If you are a client of Management inSites in another capacity, please speak to your account manager for more information.
MI can provide a minimum of 500 sq. ft. of space for our IBI clients. Please contact us for pricing.
At the moment, we have no maximum limit. If we see that a client is rapidly increasing inventory and turnaround, we might recommend moving to a 3PL. But this will occur on a case-by-case basis.
We can arrange for shipments to be made on any day of the week. IBI clients utilizing the warehouse option will be provided specific details about shipping options.
As long as MI is given adequate notice about an upcoming delivery, we can arrange to have a team member accept the shipment at our warehouse.
MI’s extensive warehouse location in Spartanburg, SC contains several dynamic areas that can be used for showroom purposes. IBI clients can store speciality machinery or products in these designated areas where customers can come to view them in person. For more information, ask your account manager.