Key Decision Points for Australian Tech Companies Seeking Successful U.S. Expansion

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Expanding your business into the U.S. market is a considerable undertaking, and yet it distills down to an actionable plan based on accurate research executed with a commitment to the long game. Kettering International excels in guiding Australian-based tech firms across the canvas of international expansion. They have a knack for illuminating assumptions, educating on the critical significance of localisation, and grounding companies with support to effectively and successfully roll out in a new market.

This article is the fourth in a series exploring Kettering’s sophisticated, research-backed prospectus on the viability of international market expansion for Australian technology companies in 2023. Here, we’ll hone in on the key decision points vital to U.S. expansion – and how to navigate them successfully.

Mind over Matter is Essential for Long Term Success

The first step to U.S. tech market entry is gaining a clear understanding of the market outlook to establish the right mindset for success. As a result, Kettering’s initial work often involves helping companies shift gears away from the “move first and ask questions later” approach to the financial investment that is required for U.S. expansion.

As Andrew English, Founder of Watertight, explained in a recent webinar with Kettering, the actual investment for on the ground roll-outs can be surprising, overwhelming, and costly for tech firms who make the move without guidance on the often-overlooked aspects of expansion such as the cost of living in the U.S., budgetary adjustments for converting fully to U.S. dollars, and bureaucratic delays. English also shared that Kettering excels in coaching clients to create the leanest and still most customer-centric home office to get business rooted and ready. But how do you make entry as accessible for your team as possible?

Balance and a growth mindset.

There needs to be a measured interplay between the time you spend analyzing your intended market and strategic decision-making. Kettering specializes in helping companies avoid the pitfall of getting mired in an endless “analysis phase” without deciding on specific and considered actions toward evidence-based results. Founder and CEO John Crozier-Durham notes, “Companies need to get clear on answers to some key decision points that will influence their strategy’s trajectory in the short and long term. This reduces the need to pursue multiple (paid) avenues in succession and allows companies to act immediately while also investing in their efforts wisely.”

Key Decision Points for Successful U.S. Expansion

Honing in on the following decision points is vital to translating home market success to your new U.S. market and establishing a competitive edge in your expansion efforts:

Investigating and Selecting Your Growth Sector Match

Are you in one of the growth sectors that Australia is focused on in terms of Foreign Direct Investment to the U.S.? Those top industry sectors include: Software & IT Services, Healthcare, Business Services, and Communications.* 

Determining which sector to structure and align your launch plan around can save a good deal of time and even open doors of opportunity. For example, Austrade provides support for selected industry expansion. Kettering understands the application process and rhythm of Austrade and can help clients find potential match-ups.


Localisation is the fulcrum of a successful launch. The simple shift of subtleties between speaking in an Australian market vs. a U.S. market may seem negligible in informal conversation, but they can be the differential in contracts signed. Marketing – and therefore messaging – changes between states, coasts, and even industries in the U.S., so pinpointing which part of the U.S. geography is the best fit for your firm is a critical initial step.

It’s also critical to identify the optimal entry point within the U.S. business landscape. Kettering helps clients understand that when planning an expansion from Australia to the United States it is unlikely that U.S. counterparts of their Australian client base will match up in an exact equation, simply due to the difference in scale between the two markets. Companies that are accustomed to working with higher profile Australian clients with more cache may not realise that this is unrealistic as a jumping-off point for the U.S.

When it comes to the U.S. economic landscape, small businesses have an enormously impactful role; the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy notes that 99.9% of the nation’s businesses are categorised as SMBs, with almost half of all U.S. workers being employed by a small business. As a result, Kettering frequently helps clients avoid a misaligned attempt by encouraging them to look at the SMB space in the U.S. market (Russell 3000) as a more viable entry point.

The marketing, sales, and networking methods that served in your home market may or may not work in an American context. It’s important to cross-reference these and decide if you need to make specific changes — but it’s hard to tell which changes need to be made and when, without advice from a business with experience in both countries. Kettering often helps clients with A/B testing to solidify market messaging. They’ve also harnessed the power of warm and cold market outreach for clients who want to ensure that their messaging is resonating with the target audience and making it easy to engage.

Local Support for Non-Local Ventures

On paper, U.S. expansion is all about making the numbers make sense. In reality, what an Australian-based company entering the U.S. market needs are networks and connections to make viable in-roads for success and present themselves as valuable contributors to the ecosystem. Additionally, a tech firm needs localised support to negotiate the nuances, time differences, and relationship building that lay the foundations for sustainable success.

Making these connections in the U.S. market from the comfort of your at-home base is nearly impossible. Outsourcing your U.S. expansion effort to one or two experts is not the answer either, because there won’t be enough sales infrastructure to generate qualified and sustained prospects. A potential client can take a meeting out of curiosity or even as a favor, but that does not create cash flow. Real connections happen between real people.That’s why it’s important to build strategies for relationship building with in-house market knowledge, same time zone scheduling for meetings, and a tonality of commitment. This is the cornerstone of the Kettering difference that has primed many Australian-based companies for success.

Kettering leverages their understanding of the Australian tech market – both its potential to thrive abroad and the possible pitfalls it may encounter – to unearth marketing advantages and localisation pairing for traction. Additionally, Kettering is based in New York and has established a flourishing network of connections from years of commitment and authenticity in aiding Australian-based firms in the U.S. market. This combination of knowledge and on-the-ground experience helps Kettering clients decide on an optimal direction for their launch strategy.

Connect with Kettering  

Ready to discuss how these key decision points can help improve your U.S. launch? Contact Kettering International for more information. Our follow-up article will discuss what Australian tech firms can expect in the U.S. market post-launch.