What is Soft Landing?
Soft Landing: a controlled landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred
Soft Landing (business): a controlled launch of your business into a new market during which less cost and risk are incurred
Soft Landing is a controlled launch into a new market. The purpose is not to crash-land into foreign territory. It is a program for international companies who have launched and gained traction abroad and want to expand to a new market without investing all of their resources at first. In this way, the company does not take their attention away from their main operations.
Companies looking to launch into a new country, such as the US, have a lot to consider. An entry into the US is a large investment that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is complicated and risky, but soft landing makes the process easier. They can test the market, position their brand, and ease into operations as the subsidiary grows.
With soft landing, companies can take a calculated risk by launching their business using a qualified partner. This soft landing partner is already established in the new market. They have a network of partners and resources to ready to connect and conduct business. Their program costs considerably less than launching into the US market alone. Most importantly, they have experience launching companies into the US market.
Soft Landing has many benefits. Firstly, it costs much less than launching into the US market alone. Because they are only testing the market, they do not have to invest in a full launch. Thus, these companies could save hundreds of thousands of dollars on their launch.
Secondly, there is less risk than launching alone. Soft landing is controlled, meaning that the program partner tests the new market for the international company. They use trusted resources and set specific, achievable milestones to measure the company’s traction abroad. So, the company can ensure success when they proceed to a full launch down the road.
Thirdly, soft landing programs have a lot of experience launching companies into new markets. They will know how to successfully test the market and expand because they have done it numerous times before. They are familiar with the market the company is launching into because they operate within it. Additionally, they possess a complete network of local and international partners and resources in many different industries. They can easily connect the foreign company into their local ecosystem.
Fourthly, some soft landing companies, like Starthub, also provide office space. They can set up a physical location for the company launching into the US. This service can save tons of money in rent, but also help the company establish credibility in their new market.
Fifthly, soft landing companies handle all of the project management and human resources associated with the launch. They will hire a local team, handling recruitment, negotiations, and training. The program also manages the US team according to goals set by the foreign company. In this way, the company launching into the new market can save time and focus on the overall strategy.
Visa + Business Registration Assistance
Finally, soft landing can help companies with the visa process and business registration process. The programs may include this service, or it may be an add-on. Even when launching into a new market alone, most guides highly recommend seeking legal advice for these items. It is extremely valuable to use the program’s legal resources to accomplish these confusing and time-consuming processes.
The exact process of soft landing varies from company to company. The basic process begins with a foreign company, who decides to do a soft landing in the new market. They will find a soft landing partner, such as Starthub. The partner will assess the foreign company. They usually take the time to get to know the company’s values, products, numbers and long-term strategy. Based on the audit, the partner will establish milestones. Meanwhile, they will also take care of the business registration in the new market and assist with the visa process.
Next, the soft landing partner will begin to test the new market. They will find a product-market fit and adapt any messaging to the culture of the new market. Think of this process as someone dipping their toe in the water, and slowly easing into the pool. The soft landing partner will make an effort to gain traction in the new market while the company executives focus on their main operations back home. Most of the time, the company does not need to move to the new market during soft landing.
After testing the market, the partner can proceed by making partnerships with clients and hiring a US team. Starthub’s soft landing program includes this step, but other may not.
To conclude, soft landing programs can be different, but the main point is to launch a foreign company into a new market with mitigated risk. It is a great way to test the waters of a new market before a full financial commitment.