The basis of your business plan and E-2 visa
You must demonstrate, over 5 years:
- That your strategy is established
- You know the market
- That you control your costs
- That your sales forecasts are realistic
- That your estimate of taxes to be paid is consistent
- That you will create jobs and pay salaries at a normal level to your employees.
Of course, your business plan must be written in English. Then, will you have to stick to this business plan? Yes and no.
Yes, because a priori, this is the reason for your VISA E-2 and US immigration. You are an investor, you have or are going to set up a company in the United States, you have presented a business plan to the American Embassy and you are supposed to develop your business respecting this plan.
No, because no company follows its business plan for over 5 years. Your strategy can evolve, sometimes even your business. Moreover, if your activity is too far from your original plan, it will be good to consult your immigration lawyer, especially before the renewal of your visa. He will advise you to know how to explain the (good) reasons for these changes during your appointment at the Embassy for the renewal of your visa. On the other hand, if your strategy changes, but your minimum goals are met, all is well.
The profitability objectives of your company in your business plan
The two most important points are:
Create a minimum of employment and generate a minimum income that demonstrates that you can live, you and your family (if it accompanies you), thanks to this income.
The United States, through this Visa Investor, want to attract investment of course, but also and can be mostly quality entrepreneurs who create wealth. So, even if you inherited an uncle from Guatemala and your pensions are enough for you, you must have a profitable business to support your home.
Regarding the minimum employment, it must be proportional and realistic in relation to your growth. Again, if you can only create a job, after you have announced 10 hires over 5 years, contact your lawyer to determine how to justify this difference when you renew your E-2 visa. There are no precise criteria on the amount of investment, the number of jobs to create or the level of sales, everything can be explained if it is consistent. The good economic and managerial sense is the logic of American embassies.
The summary of your business plan
There is no rule but here is an example of a summary that you can follow:
1. “Executive summary”
A clear and global summary of your business plan that allows anyone who wants to read a page … to read only one page. ? This summary will be very appreciated by the reader, therefore by the person who will grant you (or not) your investor visa.
2. “Company summary”
All the information about your company. Name, form (Inc, Corp, LLC), EIN number, address … The licenses you obtained, if they are needed.s
3. “Founder (s)”
A presentation of you and you and your associates, your experiences, your background, your roles in society.
Your project. The services and/or products you are going to market.
5. “Business Model”
How are you going to make money? Will you sell online, in-store, how will you market your services and products? Obviously, if it’s a bakery that you want to start, it may seem simple, but you may be planning to prepare lunchboxes every day of the week and sell them as a subscription. Here is an idea!
What is the market, its size, its area …? Give figures, and qualitative elements but without ever writing that Americans like this or do that, it’s simplistic and it will be little appreciated. Rely on concrete elements and especially on trends (data over several years).
Who are your competitors? Similar products, substitute products, existing brands. What will be the benefits of your services or products compared to these competitors? Be objective but never pretentious. You may be convinced that your product will be the best in the world. Prove it and go to the US embassy in 5 years.
8. “Marketing and Strategy”
How are you going to advertise your offer? What strategy will you implement to grow your business? Be realistic and concrete. Advertising is one of the most concrete elements to explain in your business plan.
A coherent budget over 5 years must be devoted to it. Do not say that you rely on word-of-mouth to gain notoriety, it will not necessarily be very well perceived. In the United States, advertising budgets are spent to make themselves known. Social networks, online advertisements, distribution of flyers, local or national media … Competition is intense and you have to communicate.
9. “Human resources”
- Show your hiring plan for over 5 years.
- Show consistent salaries. You can use this free website to help you determine the number of wages (gross).
You do not have to plan to create 500 jobs in 5 years. It’s just that your plan makes sense and is geared to your growth goals. And for the calculations of the employer and salary burdens, you can use this free tool online.
And do not worry, you do not need to simulate taxes to the penny. Here again, we must be pragmatic.
10. “Financial plan”
- Detail your sales over 5 years.
- Develop a cash, investment plan, and marketing budgets.
- Present your “Profit & Loss” over 5 years (income statement) and a balance sheet, also over 5 years.
Market research in the United States
You can find on the Internet all the information you need to quantify the market and its trends. Your market is local, it is easy to determine the number of inhabitants or companies in your area of operation. Your market is national, so it’s even easier. On the other hand, you have to spend time finding this information and cross-checking the data to make your calculations.
For the quantitative part, again you can rely on market research that you find online, and you can also test your products, fill out questionnaires to potential consumers. This will allow you to really be faced with your future customers. Listen to them, because in the United States can be even more than elsewhere, customers are always right.
Consumer opinions are a major determinant of behavior. An American seller will often tell you to choose formula because it is very popular. Which means, that she is appreciated you can trust.
Conclusion: A good business plan for your E-2 visa is a business plan that convinces the immigration officer who will read it. Clear, realistic and well presented, it will be a major asset in your file. Do not neglect it.