The challenge of international business

4 12 2007

I love international business.

It’s difficult, time consuming, requires more resources than selling in the national market, it’s complicated, frustrating, complex and incomprehensible at times.

It opens my eyes to new cultures, new ways of doing things, new languages and amazing people.

It has made me realize that there are many paths to a solution, and all of them are valid.

It is a highly competitive arena.

There are no second chances.

The people in the business of selling or buying products or services across borders live with this on a daily basis.

We like it.

It drives us crazy too.

It’s the same mentality that drives people to do crossword puzzles, go rock climbing, or take on huge tasks.

It’s about the challenge, the complexity, the rush of adrenaline when it all goes well and we succeed.

I realized how different I am from others, in my desire to be involved in global trade, during a conversation between three friends.  Two of us are involved in international commerce and the third lives in the local national market.

We stumbled on an idea that involves the consolidation of various local products (overstock and outdated inventory) and selling it via an auction process to international buyers.  It was a response to a very costly and real problem  that our friend lives with daily.  As we discussed it, our blood pressure rose, our hearts quickened, we got excited.

“Sounds like a lot a work, forget it, exporting is too much trouble” was the reply of our third friend.

I’ve heard the same comment many times before.

I watched the potential solution wither and die before us.

My friend is ready to live with a problem and loss of  income because he didn’t want to work harder.

He didn’t even consider hiring others, using specialized outsourcing, to work for him.

“It’s a lot of hard work.”

Of course it is.

Planning on exporting, importing or working internationally?

Find people who are genuinely interested,excited and turned on by the challenge.

The ability to embrace adversity, problems, and constant change as part of the daily working environment is key to working across borders and cultures.

Related Links

Looking for New?  It’s in another country

16 essential questions, the international business traveler’s quiz 

7 tips for doing business internationally   





No shortcuts to being a great leader

27 11 2007

There are no shortcuts to effective sustained leadership.

It is not easy to be a leader, or to maintain a position of leadership.

There is no book, movie, seminar or short course that will turn one into a leader.

We can learn about certain elements of leadership that we may or may not possess, and incorporate these ideas into our lives and behavior.

But leadership is not about what information we possess, our good intentions, or a business title and corner office.

It’s all about what we show to others.

It’s about what we do.

Day to day actions.

Sustained leadership success comes from; listening, attention to detail, implementing ideas, perseverance in the face of adversity, willingness to embrace innovation, training and mentoring others, planning and risk identification, and the most important factor of all, providing a living example to others.

A true leader provides a model to others.

Leaders will consistently provide examples of; honesty, integrity, ethics, dignity, passion, diligence, capacity to learn, and unwillingness to be defeated.

A true leader will also provide examples of how to lose, how to accept defeat and move on, because leaders are not always winners

Leadership is not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a way of life.

Related Links

Leadership lesson – A Message to Garcia

Leadership, do you want the job, or just the title and benefits?

What defines an exceptional leader

Improve your leadership profile





Get the mission statement off your website

24 11 2007

Do you read the corporate mission and vision statements on websites or in corporate promotional material?

I don’t.

In fact, I find them to be insincere, ambiguous and completely useless to the customer, and most of the time useless to the company itself.

So why do many corporate websites include them?

Does someone in the sales and marketing department believe that customers find this information important or believable?

Objectives, goals, mission and vision are important in an organization.  They define where we are going, and help in making decisions about how to get there.

You don’t need a mission or vision statement to be successful.You will need to make certain everyone in the company knows where they are going and are focused and motivated on getting there.

Customers will see the results.

You don’t have to tell them what you are trying to do.






ANPIC Fair 2008 – Leon, Guanajuato

14 11 2007

ANPIC, is an important international leather industry suppliers trade fair held annually in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.

The dates for ANPIC 2008 will be Thursday February 14, 2008 – Sunday February 18, 2008, at the Poliforum Leon.

If you’re involved in the international leather components and accessories industries, ANPIC is a fair that should not be missed.

Expositors include:
Components, Accessories and Fittings
Lasts, Heels and Soles
Hides and Skins
Machinery and Equipment for Footwear
Machinery and Equipment for Tanneries
Chemical Products
Synthetic Materials and Textiles
Services

Related Links

ANPIC Fair of the Americas

ANPIC 2008 – Leon, Guanajuato

Leon, Guanajuato Mexico

Hotels in Leon Guanajuato

How to do business in Mexico

Poliforum Leon





Top 10 reasons for poor customer service and their solutions

13 11 2007

Customer service, the interaction between the client and the supplier is an integral part of the purchasing and user experience, and as such, is the key to continued success in business.

What are the reasons for poor customer service?

Top 10 Reasons for poor customer service and their solution

1.    People are not trained.  When an organization does not spend the time to fully train their people the consequence is poor service.

Solution:  Dedicate resources (time and money) for training and reinforcement.   Employees should be fully informed about company goals, the products and services.  Emphasis and training should be focused upon the importance of listening and responding to the customer’s requests.  People can only do the job if they are given the right tools and objectives.  It costs money to train people.  It will cost more if you decide not to train them.

2.    People don’t care.  Selecting the correct personality is crucial for your business success.  Apathetic or self centered personality types have no place in a business that requires customer contact.

Solution:  Focus the selection and evaluation process to identify personalities that do not fit the required profile.  Get the wrong people out immediately, it also sends a clear message to everyone.

3.    Sabotage.  Angry or frustrated employees can actively work to sabotage and try to destroy the company.

Solution:  Keep honest and open communications with employees.  Informally and formally review performance, goals, objectives and feelings to stop potential problems before they reach the customers.  Get these people out of the front lines immediately.

4.    Employees don’t believe in the company, product or service.  If the image, marketing and promotion of the company is quite different from the reality, workers will not be able to sustain a positive attitude in the face of problems they know exist.

Solution:  Be honest.  Work closely with customer service, marketing and quality control to identify real problems and fix them.  Don’t let  marketing advertise over problems, solve them.

5.    Personal problems reflected in work.  When an employee’s personal life is in crisis or out of control, they may exercise control, aggression and negativism toward customers in an attempt to put some part of their life in order.

Solution:  Clear communications with employees:  If their personal life is affecting work performance, talk about it.  Time off, access to counseling or just listening may prevent more serious problems.

6.    Burnt out.  Too much negative, too many complaints can lower a person’s level of commitment and move their positive and helpful attitude to an apathetic one.

Solution:  Constant communication helps to identify who is burning out and why.  Get customer service people together to talk of success and how to deal with the frustrations.  Provide recognition or incentives for excellence in dealing with problems.

7.    Not providing the correct solutions to customers, lack of empowerment.    There is nothing worse than dealing with an employee who listens to a problem, then shrugs and says they have to ask someone else in the company to intervene and provide a solution.

Solution:  Give the people on the front lines the authority, power, tools and ability to solve problems.

8.    Don’t see the benefits – don’t understand their role in the company. 

Solution:  Employees project an image of the company.  They are the company.  They should be reminded of their importance and value to the customer and to the company.  Incentives, recognition, training and constant reinforcement are important.

9.    Apathetic from hearing the same problems over and over.  A fundamental role of the customer service division is to provide constant feedback on how customers view the company, the products and the service.  If this feedback is not analyzed and acted upon by upper management a feeling of apathy and frustration is created.

Solution:  Set up a model and procedure for the accumulation, analysis and implementation of solutions for the problems identified by customer service.

10.    Incentives/salary not tied to results.

Solution:  If you insist that the company depends upon people, and that people are the key to success, implement compensation packages, evaluations and incentives that support and reinforce this.

Related Links 

Are you listening to what the customer needs?

Broken Promises

Give this away

Don’t find a solution, find a way to make it better





Handy telephone dialing guide for Mexico

5 11 2007

Dialing the phone in Mexico is a bit complicated due to different access codes and dialing instructions for the different carriers.

In order to make your life easier, for business or vacation travelers, here is quick comprehensive telephone dialing guide for landlines and cellular phones in Mexico.

Covers 90% of the telecommunications companies currently in Mexico.

Handy Telephone Dialing Guide for Mexico

Dialing Instructions for Telephones in Mexico

Dialing from

Received by

How to dial

Number of Digits

Landline in Mexico

Cellular in Mexico (local) same area code

044 + Area code + telephone number

13

Landline in Mexico

Cellular in Mexico, long distance

045 + area code + telephone number

13

Landline in Mexico (Not Telmex)

Cellular in Mexico, long distance

01 + area code + telephone number

12

Landline in Mexico

Nextel (local) same area code

Telephone number

8

Landline in Mexico

Nextel in Mexico, long distance

01 + area code + telephone number

12

Landline in Mexico

Long Distance, telephone in USA

001 + area code + telephone number

13

Landline in Mexico

International long distance

00 + country code + area code + telephone number

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Landline in Mexico (local call)

Telephone number

8

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Landline in Mexico, long distance

01 + area code + telephone number

12

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Cellular (local) same area code

Area code + number

10

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Celluar in Mexico, long distance

045 + area code + telephone number

13

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Nextel (local call), same area code

Telephone number

8

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Nextel in Mexico, long distance

01 + area code + telephone number

12

Cellular Phone in Mexico

Telephone in USA

001 + area code + telephone number

13

Cellular Phone in Mexico

International long distance

00 + country code + area code + telephone number

USA

Landline in Mexico

011 + 52 (country code for Mexico) + area code + number

15

International (not USA)

Landline in Mexico

00 + 52 + area code + number

14

USA

Cellular in Mexico

011 + 52 + 1 + area code + number

16

International (not USA)

Cellular in Mexico

00 + 52 (country code for Mexico) + 1 + area code + number

15

Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience Business South of the Border October 25, 2007

Telephone Dialing Guide for MexicoTelephone Dialing Guide for Mexico





Social network site – Mexico economic development

25 07 2007

I was invited to a new social networking site on the Ning network, Build Bridges Not Walls!.

The idea behind the site:

“People that want economic development in Mexico will trade together. This site is to put people together for electric handshakes, trade, new business ideas or just old friends finding each other again.”

Members can add photos, videos, blog entries, comments and meet others with similar interests about business and economic issues related to Mexico.

Looks like it will be an interesting site.

Related Links

Build Bridges Not Walls!

Ning, create your own social network