Helping companies to enter American market Successfully
MindCruncher was founded to help Start-Ups and small companies with limited finances. Such companies are most vulnerable on US market. Our experience in doing business on both sides of the ocean allows us to keep our clients from troubles and mistakes. In addition, we take care of majority of routine business tasks, allowing our clients to concentrate on their business development and growth.Services
to realize their business goals in US
Number of Clients
of our clients
have been working with us
for more than 3 years
of our clients are
an IT Companies
expanding their business to US
of our clients are Start-Ups
and young, small companies
with revenue below $500,000
Entering the US market is a – Huge step in business development
But it is also a complicated and a risky step
When it is made independently, without help. It is tricky and sometimes almost unrealistic without experts who know the American market, its specifics and pitfalls. Additional big complication is the significant difference between eastern European and American ways to think and do business. The only way to overcome such a difference is by gaining business experience in both environments.
There are many companies in the US, which offer various services for developing businesses, so the problem here is not in the lack of offers.
The problem is: how to make the right choice without physically being here in US
and other questions
- How to open an account in US bank?
- How to minimize the taxes in US?
- How to protect my IP?
- How to organize marketing and sales in US?
- How to receive money from US company?
- How to select the personal or contractors?
- How to use US business for emigration?
MindCruncher was created to solve all those tasksAsk a question
Our goal is not just offer some set of services, not just serve as an advisor, contractor and consultant in the labyrinth of American market…
To work as an organic part of your company
We are dealing with all the questions and issues arising on your path to a US market, regardless of how individual or unique those issues.
If we ourselves are not able to resolve an issue, we will find someone who can and will oversee the resolution. In other words, the meaning of our business is to offer our client fully functional office with all necessary specialists, but not as a whole thing (full-time and for a big price) just a part that is necessary you in that particular moment and with the price tag you can afford.
You will receive access to the necessary resources, In necessary quantity and for affordable price.
Everything related to organization and maintenance of the client’s office in US (do not mix with companies offering “virtual” office, with us your office is real, where your customers or partners can come, with live people answering the phone)
Provide physical address (not P.O. Box) where any postal service would deliver.
Customized client’s mail processing
- Mail collection and regular forwarding to an address provided by the client using client’s chosen provider (US Mail, FedEx, DHL, e.t.c.)
- Scanning the envelopes and storing them in the private client’s account on our website so client would be able to tell us what to do with every letter (forward, destroy, open and scan)
- Complete monitoring of the mail by our personal and action depends on the content
Setting up and maintaining the phone and fax number for the client (real dedicated number, not just somebody’s mobile phone)
- Per client’s request it can be a local number or national toll-free or vanity number
- Number of extensions can be added if needed.
- Phone calls can be forwarded to one or more phone numbers per client’s request
- Voice messages or their notifications can be sent to the right people via email
- Faxes or their notifications can be sent to the right people via email
Search, ordering and mailing supplies and other merchandise per client’s request
Providing personal and client’s representatives with all necessary stationary (business cards, letterheads. e.t.c.)
Full support for client’s visits to US
Setting up full dedicated office if necessary, per client’s request:
- Office search and lease per client’s specifications
- Hiring personal and contractors
- Employee education if necessary
Setting up phone customer support for the client
Help in development and setting up website for the client
Helping clients to register with D&B and obtaining DUNS number. D&B credit report opening, maintaining and optimizing. Same for Open Ratings.
Help in obtaining Security Certificate from Verisign.
Coordination of contacts with the government and requesting necessary information and documents.
Everything related to a development and supporting the financial policy most suitable for a client. Financial reporting and planning. Financial documents (checks, statements e.t.c.) can be stored in client’s account on our website or emailed to a client.
MindCruncher works together with highly experienced professionals from accounting and audit.
Help with choosing most suitable bank and bank services.
Financial policy optimization, financial planning using corresponding specialists.
Handling everyday banking routine
- Processing of income – checks, wires, scanning paper documents and sending to client
- Prompt execution of client’s requests to do wires
- Communication with the bank – answering questions, confirming transactions, debit cards unblocking, e.t.c.
Tax reporting, financial analysis and planning if necessary.
Constant monitoring of financial activity per client’s request for optimization and loss prevention.
Coordination of client’s communications with CPA, overseeing prompt and timely execution of all accounting tasks.
Setting up and maintenance of cash flow to Russia (or other countries):
- Transfer money to a client’s head office
- Payments to partners
Organization and support for owners finance
- Personal account opening and support in US banks
- Helping to obtain debit or credit cards
- Setting up money transfers to owners and other employees
Setting up a flexible system of payments to employees and contractors using Payoneer service.
Helping to open merchant account
Setting up financial consultations to solve an unusual tasks
Helping client to make payments if client itself cannot make it at the moment.
Helping to choose and then coordinating communications with the lawyer. Prioritizing of particular services needed to a client. We are working with highly experienced professionals such as femida.us (International Legal Counsels PC). We are working closely with femida.us for a number of years and we are their client too. Possible legal services than may be needed to the client.
Company incorporation and preparation of complete set of corporate documentation.
Patents, trademarks, copyrights.
Client’s representation during negotiations and communications with partners or customers.
Client’s representation during conflicts.
Client’s representation in court.
Business consulting regarding all questions related to a setting up correct and efficient business.
Business material preparation in US native English. Translation, proofing all kinds of texts from a simple ones to a complicated, technical ones).
Consulting for a website development to consider local market specifics.
Business plans development:
- For banks.
- For internal use.
- For financial optimization
- For new business creation.
Help in setting up contacts with partners and potential customers:
- Translation during negotiations.
- Video conferencing involving all interested parties.
- Setting up meetings in person.
- Representing client during negotiations.
Helping to choose and setting up the communications with any specialized companies whose services are needed to the client (such as marketing, advertisement, finance, e.t.c.). Search for necessary specialists, preparing contracts or orders. Overseeing prompt and quality implementation of client’s orders.
Helping in selling the business.
Full set of marketing services
Branding, re-branding, image correction, various related research.
Developing a business strategy and tactics, marketing strategy, promotion.
PR services – PR planning, communications with media, efficiency analysis for PR. Participating in public events) presentations, meetings.
Press releases. Preparation, translation. Placement in different sources.
Media planning, media analysis, competition analysis, communication strategy development.
Preparation, manufacturing and distribution of advertisement and other marketing materials.
Work with social networks.
Exhibitions, conferences, seminars. Organization and support:
- Organization, support and actual representation in exhibition booths together with the client or without
- Work on exhibition, conferences and seminars without stands and booths, with or without the client (budget option )
- Organization and implementation of follow ups after exhibitions, conferences or seminars
,, The starting point was when I saw how “Russian-speaking” clients trying to do business in US themselves, without an understanding of cultural differences and specifics of American market
Founder and CEO
Finished with distinction Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnic University, earned Master Degree in Physics. Worked in science for a few years, at the same time developing a few own software projects. Then moved to IT completely.
Moved to USA by invitation from Fannie Mae, one of the biggest financial company in the world. Worked for Fannie Mae for 13 years, going from Developer to Principal Technologist.
Created his own company MindCruncher LLC. The starting point for this business was observation that many “Russian-speaking” clients trying to do business in US without understanding of the cultural differences and specifics of US market and in doing so run into multiple issues and problems often not only without an idea of how to avoid it but not even realizing that those problems exist.
Joined ISDEF (Independent Software Development Forum)
Represented ISDEF in a briefing for US Congress hosted by Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus about issues with intellectual rights in Russia.
Elected in the Board of Directors of ISDEF. Appointed the President of ISADEF-USA. One of organizers and moderator of the Legal section of the traditional Fall ISDEF Conference.
Left Fannie Mae to fully concentrate on his own business – MindCruncher LLC
- 2004 to present
Actively participate, often with speeches and presentations, in a different IT related conferences and seminars sharing his experience and knowledge.
Why do you need company in US?
There are a few reasons why entering into US market is better with your own US company. First, the direct access to clients without the “middleman” (practically for all our clients US market is the biggest and most important). Image and prestige of being the US Company is also very important. It is no secret that the majority of American (and not only) clients prefer to do business with American corporation, rather than with foreign company. In some situations it is not just preferable, but necessary. For instance, when selling to the government or military. Next, also very important, argument for creation of the US Company – backup plan or insurance. Doing business today in countries of former Soviet Union involves many complications, risks and complete unpredictability of the future. In this conditions, reliability and protection of US business provides the possibility of normal development and planning for years ahead, up to a point when, if necessary (and we hope it will never come to that), the whole enterprise can be easily moved to US or another country. We have clients whose employees are spread over many countries, from Thailand and Malaysia to Chile, when the core of the company is in US. Another significant reason for opening US Company – access to instruments and possibilities non-existing in other places. It may be “smart” money (right investments), access to potential strategic partners, interesting marketing opportunities, financial instruments, access to the government and many more. Finally, such an important moment as emigration. Existence of working business in US provides the possibility for you to apply for Green Card and then for a Citizenship. On the other hand, if it is not required, at least possibility to visit US and work here as much as you need. Reasons listed above are the main ones but there are also others, specific and individual. We deal with each situation in details, personally, and starting to work only if we see that our help can benefit the client.
Why not offshore?
We can talk a lot about it, but let us mention the most obvious points. Main appeal of offshore was their anonymity, but this is thing of the past now. Today it is easy enough to get any information from any offshore (probably only Monaco is still holding up but probably not for long). The appeal of low taxes is offset by high risks (remember what happened on Cyprus for example). Finally, offshores are not really designed for active, day-to-day operations of business. The main goal there was always hiding money and it does not work anymore. I often ask those my clients who has offshore and all who promote them: show me something that you can do with offshore, and I cannot do here in US? Still no clear answer to that… However, problems with offshores I saw a lot.
The taxes in US are huge!
This is usually the first we hear from anybody when start talking about opening company in US. All those people usually have very poor idea of how taxes work in US. This is a huge separate topic, and because of that, we have special people who deal with it, but I will explain couple major things here. If you just look at tax rates, then yes, they seems high. However, important to understand that the base, to which those rates apply, is the company profit (not revenue) and it can be varied wide. Thus allowing you to minimize the taxes you should pay. For instance, if you do not have profit, you do not pay taxes. And every experienced businessman knows that having profit and success or prosperity of the business are not the same. In US, there is a large list of deductions you can use and many other, legal ways to minimize the taxable base thus saving on taxes. People often aske me: how much profit should I show to IRS? The answer is: does not matter. Nobody cares about it here. It is your business, your problems. I have had a client who was eating through investments for a few years and did not have any income; he filed $2mln in losses every year… nobody cared. Although, there are a few situations when you do need to show profit, for example, when you plan to use this business to emigrate (via L1 visa). In this case, company must show it has enough income to support you (to pay your salary). In short, there are special people – CPA – here, they are specialists in this area and can help you plan your business and financial policy so that by the end of the year you will get to a desired level of profit or loss. As result, out of all of my clients maybe only one out of ten has to pay taxes, the rest ending the years at the zero profit and do not have to pay. There is a mechanism that is very helpful in US tax law. It happens sometime, that you have to pay higher taxes than you expected. For example, when your partners suddenly transfer you their payments at the very end of the year and you do not have time to dispose of it properly. Or you did not really plan your income and did not say anything to our CPA, and then suddenly in November realize you have a million in profit and do not want to pay all the taxes from that (had couple of clients with such “issue”). Our CPA obviously did not have time for a full optimization and could not save all that was possible. Nevertheless, even though this year you may have to pay much, in the next 3 years you can return it if you plan your business carefully and show losses in the right amount. We did it a few times. Bottom line – how much taxes you will have to pay in US will depend only on how you plan your business. And the best part – all this is completely legal, no “black” accounting, everything is clean and legit and used for decades.
LLC or Corporation?
Main difference between LLC and Corporation is in the way taxes calculated and how business part is separated from personal (owner’s personal property). There are many nuances, but the main thing you need to know – if corporation owners are foreigners and they have serious plans for business development, probably including investments, strategic partners, possibility of selling the company in the future – you need to create corporation, it is designed much better for those goals. LLC, on the other hand, can provide some benefits if owner is US citizen. Unlike LLC, corporation has so-called “corporate vail” which protects owners in case of attack on the company. However, it is very important to mention here that this works only if all corporate documentation is prepared well by a very good lawyer. Bottom line – we still analyze each situation individually, but so far, we end up advising corporation to all our clients.
In what state it is better to incorporate?
There are a few stereotypes exist related to this, and unfortunately many people follow those stereotypes. For example, many wants to incorporate in Delaware, which is thought of an “American offshore” with owner anonymity and very low taxes. In reality, information about stockholders is closed the same way in many other states. And when it comes to taxes, the situation is not that simple. Yes, tax law is different in different states (we are talking state taxes, federal are the same everywhere). In Nevada, for example, there is no income tax at all… But the state tax are not the only fees the business has to deal with and in different states there are different sets of additional fees. Therefore, when you take all that in consideration, you realize that really there is no significant difference between states in this regard. The real criteria for choosing the state should be your actual business plans: where the office will be, where employees are working, where actual work is done, etc. At the end, one of most important factor in choosing the state of incorporation should be the convenience and simplicity of the state business law. In this regard, Virginia is one of the most appealing states; it has been one of the top three best states to do business in for a several years now. California on the other hand, has such a complicated and inconvenient business and tax law, that doing business there is so very expensive and complicated, that thousands of companies are leaving California every year, mostly for Texas. By the way, talking about California… There is a very powerful stereotype that IT Company has to be created there, in Silicon Valley as an IT center of the world. In reality, it is not true anymore. Dulles Technology Corridor in Northern Virginia already exceeded Silicon Valley in the number of IT start-ups created yearly and in some other important criteria. Now, practically every significant IT company has an office here. Investor money here too, qualified people, government clients… Bottom line – choosing the state for incorporation, try not to follow popular stereotypes, carefully consider all the factors, what is important to you. We are always glad to help and talk about your needs and choices (and we are not bias to Virginia just because it is our home state, we have clients registered in different states).
Why do I need anybody? I can do everything myself…
I often hear this. My answer is - yes, theoretically, you can do everything yourself. If you have plenty of time, money, patience and knowledge of English language. And yes, I know people who tried. For those who want to go this way I have had an offer: I will help with advice and information, for free. But in turn, you will let me use your experience as an example in my presentations and speeches – what you did and what was the result. So far, nobody accepted the challenge. Real experience shows that without local representative (citizen) in US it is extremely hard to do business here, complicated and expensive. Here is a similar example. People I work with are very smart and educated. Building a computer would not be a problem for any of them. Yet they do not do it, instead, they go to professionals who can do it better and cheaper and buying fully assembled product. Probably because it is always better when everybody does his or her own job. You develop your product; think about new versions and enhancements and we will take care of everyday routine of maintaining your business in US. People who talk about doing everything themselves, usually thing about couple of basic tasks such as registering a company, opening a bank account… Completely forgetting that starting a process and making sure it works, maintaining it – are two completely different things. Yes, you can register the company yourself in the State Corporate Commission and you will formally have a company and a nice certificate for that. And if all you want is to sell a coffee at the corner, it may be enough… But if you have serious plans and intend to grow your business – you need much more. Our lawyers will prepare a full set of quality corporate documentation you can show in the bank, to an investors or strategic partners, to an IRS… In addition, maintaining the company requires certain yearly actions and documents, our lawyers will do this too. Same situation with the bank for instance. You will probably can open an account (although there are some nuances), but what is next? There will be inevitable issues, questions; some of them can only be solved by a visit to the bank. It is not technically complicated, but you need to be present here to resolve it. So if you try to manage it all remotely, from abroad, everything is getting much more complicated and expensive. Not impossible of cause, but difficult. And the similar situation you will face in other areas of your business.
What does MindCruncher do? Is there a pricelist for services?What does MindCruncher do? Is there a list of services with prices?
Practical experience showed that working based on the list of services is not that convenient, not to MindCruncher, nor to the clients. You never know for sure what exactly you may need tomorrow, so you never can create an exact list of what you need. And looking for someone else who can do for you what you may or may not need and what was missing in the list without being here in US, without knowledge of local specifics – just a waste of time and money. Because of that, we chose the following approach – we will do for our clients everything they need, everything they would do if they would be here. We offer a fully functional office with all necessary specialists and experience, but not fulltime for the full price (not many companies can afford it) instead, we offer only the part of it, as much as you really need. I.e. you pay not for particular services, but for the people-hours of our time that we spent helping you to maintain your business on the level you really need. What exactly we do during this time depends on what you really need at this time. In my opinion, our main benefit for our clients not even that list of services we can perform, but the more important thing – we consider it our goal to help you do your business the most efficient way considering local specifics and avoiding all those mistakes often made by foreign entrepreneurs. Not many people realize how much American culture and way of doing business is differs from that in Russia and Europe or what you can read in books. During more than 10 years of MindCruncher existence, we run into and dealt with so many different and specific issues by helping our clients, that experience we earned is priceless now. And that is what we really offer.
What MindCruncher does NOT do?
We do not deal with any questionable, “gray” schemas. We also do not work with anything related to porno, gambling and other activities prohibited by US government. But beside those obvious limitations, there are two areas of service which, in spite of some experience we have, we prefer not to do ourselves. Instead, we work with corresponding specialists. It is because those areas require specific experience and professional licenses. It is legal services and tax preparation / financial planning. The company of Dmitri Dubograev (www.femida.us) does everything related to legal services for our clients and us. In US, the right legal documentation for the company as well as for the deals you do, is extremely important and Dmitri Dubograev is the only lawyer we completely trust (we had experience of working with different lawyers). Mistakes in this area, when client does not follow our advice or not asking for it at all, can cost hundreds of thousands, sometime millions of dollars (and we have plenty of examples). Sometimes the company existence itself is at stake. The company of Boris Foxman (www.nbaccorp.com) handles all questions related to taxes for our clients and us. We tried a few services but Boris Foxman showed the most experience and quality in helping our clients and us. MindCruncher does only preliminary data processing for our clients to save them some money. In both cases, we coordinate the communication and help our clients to work efficiently with those professionals. Understanding your goals and business process, understanding how business done in US, what is important and what is not, we will help you ask the right questions, better understand the answers and thus avoid unnecessary issues and expenses.
MindCruncher pricing structure.
Practically it looks this way: we sit together with you, discuss your plans for business and your goals and based on that we agree on the amount of person-hours per month that is necessary to support your business. This defines the monthly payment you will be paying. In the future this number can be adjusted depends on the reality – up or down (the process of this is defined in the contract). In case of single occurrence of required extra work – f.i. if you decide to participate in an exhibition, or run a single big promotional campaign, and need our help – we will provide an estimate for additional expenses BEFORE the work starts. If we underestimate it and did not provide advance warning to you – it is our problem. There will be no surprise additional invoices AFTER the work is completed. This approach have proven very convenient for both – our clients and us. It allows for good advance planning. And as an example for the numbers – the minimum, when we do only basic support of the company, no significant additional activity on our part - $800 per month. If we do something significant, such as marketing and sales, customer support, etc. then the amount is higher and depends on actual effort we need to take.
The main problem of our developers and their productsYou please sell my product and then, I will share with you my profit…
Typical, unfortunately, approach for our businessmen in particular. Many do not want or just honestly cannot understand that the process of sale does cost money. If you yourself do not believe in your product enough to invest money in its sales, what would you expect from us? Yes, there may be issues with the budget, and here we are ready to help if we see corresponding efforts from your side.
Main issue of our developers and their products.
It may sounds strange, but often the main problem of our developers is that their products are very good. What does this mean? When good product gets on the market, it inevitably starts to sell even because of natural “word of mouth”. I.e. information about it spreads naturally between potential customers. It means that even with a bad website and minimum effort for promotion sales are rising (in the beginning). And this is a problem. This may create for an author a false feeling that he did enough and all extra effort for promotion would be a wasted money. It is very hard to explain to those people that it works this way only in a very beginning and if they want to get to real sales volumes, they need to invest 20-30% of the revenue (not profit!) into marketing and sales process. Otherwise, the sales figure growth will slow and stop very soon. Do not be fooled by the absolute amount of revenue, it may be significant, but if you invest properly your effort and money it can be much, much more. What complicates the situation even more, is the fact that most our businessmen are self-thought. They did not went through business school where all this explained and shown on examples. Therefore, we have to teach those people ourselves.