Frequently Asked Questions

A convenient, digital decision-making tool to prepare US expansion that also connects companies with dedicated experts to implement? Wow... that’s not common! Learn more with our FAQ.

Why use TradeSherpa? 2018-01-29T10:37:18+00:00

TradeSherpa is a decision-making tool that helps international companies expand to / in the USA. Unlike traditional consultants, we offer the convenience of a powerful digital tool to plan and control US expansion projects, while keeping a strong human dimension by connecting clients with vetted and dedicated Sherpas to guide them along their way.

Years of experience providing consulting services to such companies led us to identify 2 flaws in the traditional consulting approach: 1) CEOs and their teams spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to collect information and connect with the right advisors and experts, only to find themselves misled, misunderstood, and drained; and 2) a structured and consistent approach to the USA is often only available to companies that have a significant budget, while other companies have to take a tedious DIY approach.

With TradeSherpa, international companies considering expansion to the USA, already developing their business in the USA, or looking to revamp their US business organization and operations can find exactly what they are looking for in one place: custom US business roadmaps to make informed decisions, a convenient toolbox to manage implementation, and direct access to the exact experts (“Sherpas”) they need at each step.

Who can use TradeSherpa? 2018-01-29T10:35:31+00:00

TradeSherpa typically addresses the needs of CEOs, CFOs, and local US branch managers. Situations can vary depending on the company’s progress towards US expansion.

  • Companies considering US expansion: They have no business in the USA yet but they have identified opportunities, or they do have some US leads or clients (export) suggesting market interest. Their goal is to understand & anticipate.
  • Companies who have decided to make the move to the USA: They have clients and vetted partners in the USA; they now want to create or to acquire a US entity to better manage and grow their business locally. Their goal is to plan & structure.
  • Companies with existing US operations looking to manage growth in the USA: They need to restructure the US entity, adjust operations, or switch to new experts and partners to keep up with growth and implement new strategies. Their goal is to recalibrate & optimize.
What makes TradeSherpa qualified to help me expand to the USA? 2018-01-29T10:34:03+00:00

TradeSherpa’s founders have worked many years with international companies (SMBs as well as large cap companies) expanding to the USA, helping over 200 clients manage both planning and implementation. They thus acquired a deep knowledge and experience that led them to build a platform that meets companies’ specific profiles, projects scope and constraints, priorities, and questions. They know that companies need to carefully plan while remaining flexible at each step given the sophistication of US expansion projects. TradeSherpa’s US business roadmaps, Sherpas, and US Toolbox have been prepared with that consideration in mind.

Regarding Sherpas, they all go through a rigorous vetting process, and they are matched with the companies they will serve best. TradeSherpa is not a marketplace, and we know each Sherpa very well – in fact, we have worked closely with most of them in the past. They are qualified for US expansion projects, equipped with a wealth of experience with international companies and a tailored skillset for each step and module of the roadmap we assign to them. Most of all, they have the TradeSherpa spirit, which is to put clients’ interest above their own.

What kind of Sherpas can you help me find in the USA? 2019-02-13T12:18:14+00:00

We help companies find U.S. Sherpas that meet their specific needs in the fields of business development & marketing, HR, legal matters, administration, tax, accounting, etc.

Our clients include both companies expanding to the USA and companies that are already established in the USA and that face new challenges as they grow.

Sample Sherpas include: lead generation firms, marketing agencies, HR /payroll providers, M&A advisors, specialized lawyers, insurance brokers, CPA firms, head hunters, PR agencies, online payment solutions, etc.

Exception: please note that we do not assist companies in finding sales reps or sales agents.

How do you vet Sherpas? 2018-01-29T09:54:02+00:00

All Sherpas go through a rigorous vetting process before they become Sherpas for TradeSherpa.

We have no hesitation kicking a Sherpa out if he or she does not abide by our values: listening to clients, putting clients’ interests first, providing proactive and clear guidance at each step, being transparent on service fees, and delivering high-value services within clients’ budget constraints.

Besides proving that they have the TradeSherpa spirit, Sherpas need to demonstrate:

  • Robust experience working with foreign companies expanding to the USA, demonstrating hands-on knowledge and cultural agility
  • Appetite for guiding and servicing SMBs
  • Expert skills in their field, backed by clients’ and other Sherpas’ recommendations
  • Ability to collaborate with other Sherpas effectively (we hate communication limbos and siloes)
  • Business ethics and quality processes, so that clients can easily track and control progress as well as results
  • Specific value-add: languages, expertise on specific US regions or states, etc.
Can I compare Sherpas? 2019-02-13T12:03:13+00:00

Absolutely. For each challenge to be addressed, TradeSherpa provides you with 2 to 4 suggestions of Sherpas that match your company’s unique profile, budget, and project needs. You can then review their profile, and decide to contact them all, or to contact only your favorites.

How do I contract with / hire a Sherpa? 2018-01-29T09:57:09+00:00

TradeSherpa is in charge of making the introduction between you and the Sherpa of your choice once you are ready to contact him or her. The Sherpa will then schedule a phone call or an e-call (e.g. Skype) with you directly. If you are happy with that first interaction and you decide to work with the Sherpa, then you will pursue the process directly with the Sherpa: discussion on terms, signature of the agreement, and beginning of the collaboration.

Please remember that TradeSherpa is not a party of the contract between you and the Sherpa. TradeSherpa’s mission is to facilitate the matching and introduction process, but we do not interfere with the Sherpa’s services.

Of course, we will follow-up with you to make sure that you are happy with the services delivered by the Sherpa. Also, don’t forget that a phone call with TradeSherpa is included in your plan, so you can ask us questions, request to look for another Sherpa, or provide us with feedback on your collaboration with the Sherpa if needed.

How much do Sherpas charge? 2019-02-13T09:10:41+00:00

Of course, Sherpas’ fees depend on several factor such as their field of expertise, the expected scope of work, and your specific timeline.

Nevertheless, it is important for us to help you anticipate. It is also important for us to match you with Sherpas that will deliver on your needs while keeping your specific budget in mind.

Based on our kick-off call (e.g. Sherpa Matching package) or based on your US business roadmap (e.g. U.S. Expansion package), we will provide an estimation of fees ahead of time, specifying whether these fees correspond to monthly expenses (recurring fees), or to one-shot expenses (flat fees). This budget estimate is based on our experience working with the Sherpas we recommend for you and your company, so there should be no surprises.

Make sure that all the information you provide us about your company and objectives for the USA is correct in order to get accurate estimates.

Make sure that you get all the information you need to validate upcoming expenses with your Sherpas before you sign a contract. We can of course help you build a checklist as you interview Sherpas to make sure that all aspects are covered.

Of course, if you notice a significant discrepancy between the estimates we provide and your Sherpa’s proposal, please contact us. We value your feedback, and we’ll be happy to look into the matter or find another Sherpa if needed.

How do I pay for Sherpas’ services? Who is billing? 2018-01-29T10:00:00+00:00

Since you will be working directly with the Sherpa, and since TradeSherpa is not a party of the contract between you and the Sherpa, the Sherpa will in most cases bill you directly.

Sometimes, the Sherpa may ask TradeSherpa to bill you on his or her behalf for convenience purposes. We will proceed accordingly of course.

Regarding payment methods, Sherpas usually request wire transfers or online payments.

Note: If you intend to pay Sherpas using wire transfer, you may find Transfermate useful for international payments. Transfermate, an Ireland-based company awarded by top companies, enables you to make automated international wire transfers using the internet, with better exchange rates and lower bank transfer fees than traditional wire transfer options. The solution is simple for you, and it does not require any legwork from your Sherpa, so we recommend that you check it out.

Do I have to file tax forms? 2018-01-29T10:03:09+00:00
  • If you are a non-US company, you have nothing to file for the USA. Some European countries do not require any form pertaining to your collaboration with Sherpas in the USA, but we recommend that you check tax regulations pertaining to your home country, be it in Europe or on other continents.
  • If you are a US company (or have a US entity) and if you want Sherpas to bill you in the USA, don’t forget to ask them a W-9 form so that your accounting department can comply with US tax regulations. It applies to LLCs, LLPs, and freelancers or independent contractors.
Do I get an invoice? 2019-02-13T09:12:09+00:00

Regarding the Sherpa Matching package, you will of course get an invoice from TradeSherpa that pertain to our smart matching services.

Regarding Sherpas’ services themselves, you will of course receive an invoice for all Sherpa services rendered and billed, whether the Sherpas bill you directly (which is the most frequent scenario), or whether TradeSherpa bills you on Sherpa’s behalf.

What is the scope of work? How will the US Expansion package help my company? 2019-02-13T13:33:15+00:00

Our goal is to guide non-US companies as they expand their business to the USA, with as much agility, yet structure and vision as possible. Indeed, the expansion plan is often a moving target for these companies as they begin their US journey. With the US Expansion package, we help them on 3 fronts:

  1. We build a customized, flexible business roadmap with checklists, timeline, and budget estimates, comparing various expansion scenarios, and covering all expansion aspects such as sales & marketing, HR, legal matters, tax, administrative requirements, etc.
  2. We match them with the exact business Sherpas and experts they need at each step to make things happen.
  3. We transfer the knowledge that we acquired on the battlefield and provide operational recommendations to manage implementation.

We act as a pathfinder, a planner, an advisor, a project manager, or even an outsourced expansion department depending on your team’s capabilities.

What is a brief? Why am I asked to take a questionnaire? 2019-02-13T11:27:12+00:00

Upon creating your TradeSherpa account, you will be asked to take a questionnaire (est. 3 to 5 minutes to complete). This questionnaire (or “brief”) is mandatory: we designed it with the goal of gathering all the information we need about your company and your expansion project to deliver high-quality services. The questionnaire will help us structure our kick-off call, it will help us generate a preliminary business roadmap for the USA, and it will serve as a basis for discussing various expansion scenarios with your team.

Later in the process, you may want to contact Sherpas to help you implement the various steps, modules, and action items listed on your US business roadmap. If you decide to contact a Sherpa (or several Sherpas), we will communicate the information from the questionnaire to that Sherpa: we will present the “brief” to the Sherpa so that he / she can understand your needs and prepare solutions before your initial interaction. It helps save time and get more organized from the beginning.

This questionnaire has been carefully prepared so that we can prevent many issues that occur in traditional consulting work. With TradeSherpa, you save time on presenting your needs to Sherpas, you have a full and clear picture of what needs to be done, you can focus on priorities with Sherpas as well as challenge them, you are put in touch with the right Sherpas at the right time, and you can control your budget and timeline.

What are the deliverables? I have trouble “visualizing” how the US business roadmap looks like. 2019-02-13T13:35:00+00:00

We are not very fond of static presentations like powerpoints or brochures, especially as our deliverables are as much a process as documents, but let’s try to give you a flavor of the US Expansion package through some screenshots below. We are also happy to set up a video call to walk you through these deliverables and to identify the value we can bring to your expansion project.

Week 1 – Discovery and preliminary business roadmap:

We invite all our clients to create a TradeSherpa account on our platform to get a preliminary (yet already customized) business roadmap that we use as a basis for conversation. This initial business roadmap helps begin discussing expansion scenarios, identify clients’ priorities, and assess what has been done / not done so far.

  • We cover 3 phases: 1/ preparation of market entry, 2/ US entity creation and set-up, and 3/ US entity management => https://prnt.sc/mhyzet
  • For each phase, we break down the various things to do and aspects to consider, with preliminary information regarding costs (incl. viable vs. recommended), the timeline, and useful Sherpas. Sample for phase 2 => https://prnt.sc/mhyymx

Weeks 2 to 4* – Interactive roadmap, comparison of scenarios, and recommendations:

*the process may stretch over time, depending on clients’ specifics and availability

The goal here is to equip our clients with a highly customized and interactive business roadmap that will act as a decision-making tool and a project management tool:

  • Together, we discuss expansion scenarios and their impact on the roadmap: for instance, clients may consider various recruitment plans, and it has an impact on various aspects (visas, state registrations, tax, payroll, outsourced providers, office lease, etc.). We help analyze and arbitrate.
  • We then build an interactive and further customized roadmap that takes these considerations into account: adjusted budget, adjusted timeline, prerequisites for each item of the roadmap, and operational recommendations to help structure the project => https://prnt.sc/mi6rgo
  • Being organized is key: for each item of the roadmap, we provide a month-by-month calendar of actions to be taken on the client side based on critical dependencies => https://prnt.sc/mi6sdc

Weeks 5 to 8* – Dashboard and introductions to Sherpas:

*the process may stretch over time, depending on clients’ specifics and availability

As clients decide to move forward, we help them with the implementation:

  • We deliver a dashboard showing completion progress and cash flow management => https://prnt.sc/mi6mst
  • We provide a list of recommended Sherpas at each step of the roadmap, and we make introductions to such Sherpas as soon as clients need them.
How long does it take to get a full US expansion plan? 2019-02-13T11:38:16+00:00

The initial business roadmap for the USA can be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks, provided that we get all the information we need from your team. From there, we discuss expansion scenarios together, we adjust the roadmap accordingly, we customize operational recommendations, and we build an actionable dashboard to manage future implementation. The process can stretch over time and we move forward with you depending on your priorities, availability, and capabilities. Typically, our clients work with us on their expansion plan during 1 to 3 months.

What if I already have my own Sherpas in the USA? 2019-02-13T11:00:36+00:00

That’s perfectly fine. Now the question is: are you happy with them?

If yes, we will make sure to incorporate their current scope of work in your expansion plan and we will make sure that you are currently making the most of their services with regards to your ambitions for the USA. We can of course interact with them as needed.

If not, let’s discuss and see how we can help you switch to new Sherpas. The goal will be to find calibrated Sherpas for your immediate and future needs while preparing the transition with the help of your current experts.

When should I contact recommended Sherpas? 2019-02-13T11:28:44+00:00

Basically, you should contact them whenever you are ready. Your US business roadmap provides you with a timeline for each step and each module to help you assess when it is best for you to contact Sherpas; you then decide. Some companies will want to talk to Sherpas very early in the process to make sure they have everything under control and to get organized ahead of time; other companies will rather decide to contact them as they progress through their US business roadmap.

Since you will have to digest a lot of information as you start implementing your US project (and to connect many dots!), we recommend that you do not wait until the last minute, of course.

What if my US project changes? 2019-02-13T11:02:57+00:00

For many companies, the expansion plan is a moving target. That’s a challenge we want to address and that’s why we offer to consider different expansion scenarios a we work on your U.S. business roadmap.

Being flexible is key.

How often do you update the US Toolbox? 2019-02-13T11:02:10+00:00

We have so much to share about doing business in the USA and managing US expansion projects! We are constantly working on developing new how-to guides, checklists, and tools (spreadsheets, cost simulators, etc.) to provide the most relevant and up-to-date equipment to help companies throughout their journey in the USA. Come back each month to check your updated Toolbox, and find out what’s been cooking since your last visit. We guarantee you that all resources are made in-house; we left the copy-paste-aggregate low-value activity to other industry players.

I want to purchase a package. How do I pay? 2019-02-13T11:52:04+00:00

Once we clearly identify your needs and agree on a package for your company, you will have 2 options to pay TradeSherpa:

Option 1:

You can purchase the package through your TradeSherpa account using a credit card. Simply log into your account and click on the “Select Package” link located at the top right of your screen. We will get notified once the payment is processed and we will then contact you to schedule our kick-off call.

Note: All online payments are processed by Authorize.net, a secure US-based payment getaway service provider founded in 1996 and now a subsidiary of Visa Inc.. PCI-compliant, Authorize.net meets the data security standards developed by the major card brands in the world.

Option 2:

We can send you an invoice through email, and you will be able to pay either using a credit card or using other payment methods.

Note: We can issue invoices using Authorize.net, our payment getaway. We can also issue invoices using our partners Veem or Transfermate, which are reliable international payment solutions that help minimize bank fees for cross-border transactions.

Please note that we won’t start the work until we receive the payment, which may mean delays depending on the payment method you use (e.g. traditional wire transfer).

Are online payments safe and convenient for international companies? 2019-02-13T11:54:48+00:00

Yes. All payments made through your TradeSherpa account are processed by Authorize.net, a US-based payment getaway service provider founded in 1996 and now a subsidiary of Visa Inc. PCI-compliant, Authorize.net meets the data security standards developed by the major card brands in the world. Also, they have received many awards for their customer service: thanks to their 24/7 available support, fixing issues can be done on the spot.