Here's What You Should Know Before Exploring the American Market

Russian entrepreneur Azganush Misakyan on tackling the American Market

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For many business owners around the world, breaking into the American market is a prospect as daunting as it is exciting. Yet Russian entrepreneur Azganush Misakyan made it look almost easy.

Azganush Misakyan

When approached by Museum of Illusions to plan their launch in the U.S, she did something extraordinary: taking on the challenge, she built a team, obtained permits, supervised construction and created a successful launch – all in the period of one month.

Prior to turning her attention to the Museum of Illusions launch, Azganush Misakyan was already a well-established entrepreneur with ventures in Russia. Her Airbrushing School in Moscow, in particular, was a tremendous success. Specializing in designing, developing, and launching 3D commercial art projects for major museums, she had plenty to show for her talent in creating profitable launches but no experience of working with the American market. Let’s explore her ways to ensure success.

Here’s How it all Started

When Azganush worked in a Museum of Illusions, she was already an accomplished entrepreneur with a great track record.  On the question of what does her work involve, she told she has to ensure every stage of making sure an art’s premiere or business launch proves successful, brings in revenue and attracts new clients or visitors. “My take is somewhat unusual. I tend to focus beyond the launch itself and look at the bigger picture. Rather than attempting to attract huge investments prior to the opening, I plan powerful launches that bring in the money needed to continue expanding the business.”

Although arts and entertainment launches constitute the majority of her work, she has also been involved in the opening of other ventures, ranging from beauty salons to children's training centres.

Tackling the Unfamiliar American Market

She did not have any experience of working with American audience initially, but she decided to accept the challenge and make it happen. Misakyan says the life of an entrepreneur is not about reaching in a comfort zone and resting on your laurels, but about finding new ways to challenge yourself and succeed.

On the question of how did she go about making this project a reality, she said “I started by studying the U.S. market—museums, exhibitions, similar business ventures and projects. On what principle do they work? How much do tickets cost? What are other potential revenue streams?” My aim for the launch was not to merely break even, but to make profit. I had to aim high—America was unfamiliar territory and it was tough to estimate how successful the venture would be.”

And Came the Successful

Azganush and her team decided on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles for the location, counting on the huge flow of tourists to give them a boost if needed. Even so, the final count of the ticket sales exceeded expectations—7,000 tickets were sold on the first day and more than 20,000 altogether during 15 days of sales, which amounted to over $250,000. It was an absolute success.

She faced ample challenges organizing the exhibition, like construction was one of the most difficult stages. In America, a lot of time and effort is required for organizing the necessary permits as you need permission for everything. The locals even have a joke that you need a permit to hammer in a nail. And then the construction work itself has to be carried out by people who have a specialist license, valid in the specific state in which they’re going to be working. This is why awareness of local legislation and the help of an experienced lawyer who can handle things on-site is very essential.

Advice for Entrepreneurs and Businesses Planning a Launch in the American Market

For those planning to launch in the US, Misakyan has one piece of advice—start by communicating with their potential customers and gathering data. This includes conducting a poll, organize focus groups, perform a preliminary market analysis and create a profile of your target audience. This will help to ensure that your venture is relevant and to identify profitable niches.

One should always hire a good, local lawyer as early on in the venture as possible. Legal advice from someone who’s an expert in their field and understands local requirements and mentality will be invaluable at every stage, so don’t try to cut the costs here.

Speaking of hiring, don’t rush the recruitment stage. Offer your potential employees a trial period before full-time employment to make sure they’re a good fit for your business.

And most importantly, be patient and plan ahead. In America, it can take longer to obtain permits and coordinate various aspects of launching a business or event, so take this into account and start early to avoid delays and unnecessary stress.

Upcoming Plans with America

As a matter of fact, after the Museum of Illusions launch had proven a success, other high-profile clients began to contact Azganush with requests for help with expanding to the U.S. market. “There’s definitely potential there for a profitable venture, so I’m currently working towards launching my own business in America, called Launch&Go, which will be intended to help non-U.S. companies with the opening of U.S. branches.” she concluded.