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The American Dream

Posted on 11/09/2015 by Jason Rumney


Little over three weeks ago I set off on the ‘American Dream’. A journey to grow my recruitment company overseas in the sunny state of California.


The lure of the US’s $17 trillion economy with the job market being at its highest in over a decade, the timing was just right. I wanted just a small snippet of a market that was already rapidly expanding & one in which we already had a growing list of clients in. The journey has been a tough one to date & only now am I starting to settle into a daily routine.


In my short time here I’ve noticed a number of differences between markets I’ve worked in previously:


Business Etiquette      

  • Pursuit of the ‘American dream’ which is supposedly achieved through sacrifice, risk- taking and hard work.

  • Valuing straight talking and ‘getting to the point’, it’s remarkably easy for startups to leverage this pro-business climate and appear like a mature, big business from day one. Scratching the surface of entrepreneurship and a  ‘can do’ business culture will get your agency up and billing immediately.

  • Americans are very comfortable picking up the telephone and immediately conducting business with someone they have never met and perhaps never will meet.

  • Americans usually build relationships through business, not business through relationships. Lay out the details of the deal first; the relationship will organically follow.

  • Efficient follow-up is fundamental and often requires persistent and repetitive attempts to make contact. If you have telephoned or e-mailed someone several times without reply, do not assume they are not interested.

  • On the contrary, perseverance is expected in the US and it may take you a dozen attempts to get a response.

  • More often than not business ventures get only one shot to succeed. “I don’t have,” and, “we can’t do that,” are unacceptable phrases in American business.                   


Doing business in the USA

If the draw of moving stateside in one of the world’s premier destinations is too much to resist then follow these tips:

  • While you might be in the habit of avoiding topics such as family and hobbies in a business environment here you will find many meetings start with small talk and family anecdotes. Family news and inoffensive observations are pretty normal. In the same way, sports are a common topic, so familiarize yourself with NYC’s Major sports teams: The Knicks, Jets, Giants, Yankees, Mets, and Rangers would be a good start.              

  • The etiquette of networking is surprisingly simple: be friendly and open, but don’t impose upon those you meet. Small talk and casual introductions are a big part of the networking scene. You need to be knowledgeable about the industry you’re in - being able to comment on recent changes or industry news is important, as well as finding out who the key players are in the city.                    

  • If you do swap business cards with someone at a networking event, it’s fine (but not required) to email them with a quick note saying it was nice to meet them, but don’t immediately impose requests or a large string of emails with ideas or suggestions.                                 

  • When meeting a potential investor or partner, having an “elevator pitch” – a concise summation of your thoughts – prepared beforehand is a good idea. If pressed, you should be able to present your ideas in no more than a few minutes.