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I have a business in the US and want to take it to the UK. What's the best way for me to test out the market without having to set up a company and pay taxes there?
We would recommend you work closely with your legal counsel and international tax advisor before you decide on a path. Many companies choose to work with a sales representative, distributor or professional agent with an existing customer base to test out their product and get assistance in developing out the market prior to opening up an office or bringing in employees. Typically if you work through a company that already has a business in the UK, you should be protected from paying taxes in the UK in addition to paying taxes in the US. There are pros and cons for using sales representatives, distributors, and agencies as we outline in detail in the Ways To Do Business in UK section of the Globig Knowledge Base. Some of the pros include: -Agents have existing customers and relationships to get your product in the door -You can minimize your costs of doing business because the agents have an established business you are piggy backing -This is a low cost way to test a market Some of the cons include: -You will have to find the right agents to represent your product well -You have less control of your brand and how it's marketed -You don't own the customer, the agent does -You won't have the full focus if the agent has other products they represent -You may not get enough feedback from the agent to help you shape your product and marketing It can be a good option to test the market by working with established agents/agencies before investing in employees, office space, local business entities, and extensive local marketing. The key to a good relationship with an agent is selecting the right one from the beginning, setting clear expectations, having well defined agreements in place, communicating and staying close to the agents throughout the process.