Do Check Rights, Do Business Right

Road to the USA

In the closing weeks of 2015, Peter (my father) and I participated at a Dutch Chamber of Commerce seminar in Amsterdam titled “The Road 2 the USA”, where various Dutch companies shared their business experiences in the United States. Last to speak, Mr. Laanen spoke with enthusiasm of his time running Ex’pression Center for New Media in Emeryville, California. Recounting pitching Pixar Studios to hire the digital media students graduating from the school, his message was that persistence and confidence helps make the sale in the States. This has translated well, while acting as the International Trade Director for the Netherlands Business Support Office in Silicon Valley, helping connect and support hundreds of Dutch companies over the years. Now if you know Peter, you’ll know he is always ready to add or change the presentations he gives on the fly and this day was like any other. Supplemented was a reaction to comments of previous presenters, who shared insights the use of check as a form of payment in the States: it was a hassle that served as a transaction cost for the Dutch businessman. Though a misunderstanding at best, this represented a clear case of lack of preparation on their part. Sure it does cost money to turn in a check in the Netherlands, a banking system that doesn’t use checks as a form of payment. Nonetheless a logical step to mitigate the issue when doing business in the U.S. (or anywhere for that matter) is simple: open a bank account in the United States! This was a business with plans to refurbish a factory for manufacturing, and access to American banking services wasn’t on the top of their list! This is problematic people.

Check the Do’s and Don’ts

Since we are on the issue of banking, we want to reiterate some of the Do’s and Don’ts for doing business in the U.S.A. If you are serious about doing business on the long term, you must open a banking account. You’ll be paid in checks with none other than United States dollars. If you need payments to go back in Euros to the Netherlands or elsewhere, certain bank accounts can process these transfers at incredibly low costs. It’s even possible to use new financial services like TransferWise to beat the otherwise high costs of currency conversions. As opposed to the EU, when writing checks (or balance sheets, invoices, slidedecks, etc.) the comma (,) and the period (.) are used in reverse. So while this check might make the European think he will be paid $1 million USD, it will yield only $1.

Here is your check for all of One Dollar!!

Here is your check for all of One Dollar!!

The proper way to write the check for a $1 Million looks like this:

Now you can have your million bucks! [I mean dollars!]

Now you can have your million bucks! [I mean dollars!]

Don’t be the one to have business finances in a mess when it is time to go to the accountant. Which leaves me with one more tip: when writing anything to do with money or finances in the United States, make sure to use dollars ($$$$) instead of Euros (€€€€). This goes for all measurements (Miles/Kilometres; Pounds/Kilograms, etc.), especially in presentations!

Let’s check back in on the Netherlands!

After almost 20 years outside of the Netherlands, the Laanen family (and the Brand) is returning to our home country. But don’t you worry! We will continue to advise, guide, and prepare companies to make the move the U.S. and Silicon Valley. Instead of helping you when you arrive, we will make sure you are as prepared as ever before flying away from Schiphol Airport, and connect you with the right people when you arrive. The Laanens, it’s not just a name, it’s a Brand!

Written by Bo-Peter Laanen, the younger half of the company and wrote his first blog post on this site a year ago.
Contact us to further discuss how we can help ready you for the U.S. market: