RG 152 – Successfully Breaking into the US Market as an International Business with Peter Harper

Nuts and bolts

Peter Harper is an Australian tax lawyer and international tax advisor. He specializes in market entry and advises entrepreneurs, product owners, family offices and private wealth managers on international expansion and executive migration. This includes cross border M&A and international estate succession planning. Peter has spent most of his career advising expat entrepreneurs and foreign owned businesses looking to break into the US. Peter made his first dollar at school selling basketball cards. He was born in New South Wales in Australia and schooled at a boarding school in Brisbane. Peter met his wife at university while he was studying law, they married young and joined her family business which was a service based franchise business. They moved to the US to help expand the business and this was the start of their entrepreneurial journey.

When Peter was in the US he was introduced to the man who would then go on to be his business partner, he offered Peter 50% of the business to be a co-founder. The business is called CST which started as an accounting firm and is now a multidiscipline practice going accounting, legal and tax with offices in LA, Chicago and Atlanta. His clientele are made up from expats, family business groups, private companies and entrepreneurs and they’re all linked because they want to move from country A to B. 70% of the client base are Australian and he helps by making life and business easier for clients by integrating their affairs in their home country and the affairs in the country they’re expanding into. Peter says that his most successful clients are the ones that are intentional with every decision and don’t do things on a whim. He advises to always have a business plan and see it through.

Peter helps established businesses and new start ups; he says that the established companies are easier to move because there’s a large pool of people who’ve moved previously who can provide advice and a template. When he advises the start-ups he tries to make sure they’re moving for the right reasons, for example have they used up all the resources in Australia or are they only moving because of the allure of the US. It’s true that location can affect funding for start-ups but if you have a great concept it’ll get funded wherever but it’s not so hot then it can be difficult to get funding outside of the US. Another thing that Peter had to quickly learn when he moved to the US was a cultural awareness of the differences of people from different parts of the US and their conceptions of Australians.

Top Tips

Most important habit – Meeting with the team each morning to go over the key numbers.

Most influential person – Team of 5 entrepreneurs he meets with monthly from his networking group EO

Most important tool – Slack

Contact – csttax.com Peter@csttax.com

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