The Definitive Business Travel Guide – Leon Guanajuato

3 11 2010

“The Definitive Business Travel Guide – Leon Guanajuato” was written specifically for English-speaking international business people who want increase their efficiency and business results when working in Leon, Guanajuato.

Leon Guanajuato Business Travel Guide

The Definitive Business Travel Guide - Leon Guanajuato

Every business traveler knows the amount of time and energy dedicated to learning about basic infrastructure and logistics for an international trip. Time and energy that is devoted to non-business activities instead of focusing on the business issues and results you need.

Get your copy here

Wouldn’t it be great to have a guide that gives you the important information you need to get to Leon and start working as soon as you get off the plane?

I have seen and worked with hundreds of first time business visitors to Leon, and this E-book is based upon their questions, comments and advice on how to make a business trip to Leon, Guanajuato easier and more efficient.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY

I wrote ‘The Definitive Business Travel Guide – Leon Guanajuato 2011 Edition”, an insider’s business guide to Leon, with answers to your important questions about; where to stay, how to travel, logistics, food, what business customs make a difference in starting a business relationship, what is the best way to get started working in Leon, Guanajuato.

Special 2010 pre-launch price, USD $ 23.95 until December 31, 2010.

Buy it here





New website for Lee Iwan

7 08 2010

I have moved to a new website  LeeIwan.com!

Popular posts from the old site Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience will be updated and migrated, and new material added to the new site at breakneck speed.

By visiting and participating you will get insight and learn about the attitudes, actions and strategies that will increase results and reduce errors with international and Mexican business projects.

Examples:

  • How to effectively start a business relationship in Mexico
  • How to develop a strategic plan for the Mexican market
  • How to develop a realistic business plan – objectives and chronologies
  • How to creating trust and confidence from your first meeting
  • The “right way” to approach Mexican business people
  • How to find the right people in Mexico
  • How to integrate the secrets of doing business in Mexico into your activities and communications
  • How to avoid the most common mistakes that can sabotage you
  • How to construct a solid base of reliable  knowledge and contacts
  • How to focus and get results in each stage of business development:  investigation, cultivation, harvest
  • How to create a positive image based on actions and deeds
  • How to maximize your customer visits, trade fairs and commercial missions
  • How to avoid cultural mistakes in Mexico
  • How to use the power of patience to guarantee success
  • How to use communications to avoid misunderstandings and increase commitment to the business
  • How to avoid the stereotypes that will kill the deal
  • How to find the decision-makers in Mexico
  • How to find the resources and reliable information to make informed decisions
  • How to understand the Mexican business environment, how business people think, what they consider important, how they make decisions and why
  • How to surround yourself with support service experts to avoid costly start-up errors

Thanks for stopping by, please leave a comment, idea or your observations on how I might improve the site and information.

Lee

Website – Lee Iwan.com





Scenario planning and annual budgets

7 01 2010

Did you make a annual budget for 2010?

Bet it wasn’t easy.

Did you think about all the different scenarios that might happen in 2010, and incorporate those variables into several budgets, or was your final product one single annual budget?

I am not a fan of annual budgets unless they are tied into Scenario Planning.

I believe that they are a necessary exercise that helps in anticipating what revenue and resources a company might require in the coming year.  But I truly dislike those who compare real results with a static budget created 6 months or a year prior.

Businesses cannot perform  “as planned” in rapidly changing environments.  Budgets can serve as guides for spending and investment if properly assembled, taking into account internal and external factors of influence.

I am almost sure your budget made in October or November needs to be redone (if you want it to reflect real results) in order to reflect the massive changes that have already occurred in the economy and business environment.

In chaotic times, when uncertainty is the only sure thing, the traditional budget process can be a waste of time for the people making them, and for those “using” them if scenario planning is not taking place.

When the environment is subject to so many significant changes that will affect our suppliers, costs, customers consumption, international competition, etc., it is wiser to make several budget scenarios.

These scenarios will contemplate and plan for possible (or impossible) significant changes in the business environment, and help the organization to quickly take advantage of the situation when and if they occur.

What if oil prices plummet, or skyrocket?

What if inflation takes off, or recession gets worse?

What if there is a massive terrorist attack?

What if there is an economic collapse in Asia?

What if our number one supplier closes their doors?

What if the automobile and construction industries fall deeper into a slump?

What if the USA puts huge import duties on imported products?

It’s not about guessing what will happen (traditional budget).

It’s all about preparing to what MIGHT happen (budget scenarios).

How many scenarios should a company create?   As many as possible in order to analyze the strategic impact on the entire supply chain, cost structure and customers buying patterns.  It’s having a battle plan A, B, C, and D.

This budget scenario exercise is an ongoing process that involves risk assessment, prediction of economic consequences to potential or real events, and should involve the entire management team.  Depending on the actual environment and conditions this assessment might take place several times a year.

The identification of risk areas that will have significant effect on revenue or costs,  and the  acceptance that things will continue to change, will enable your organization to thrive and survive during turbulent times.

Links

How to do Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning

The Secret of Successful Scenario Planning





Stop telling me how free it is

6 01 2010

I don’t trust anyone or anything that tells me that something is ” free”.

Experience has also taught me that anyone actively promoting how “free” something is has a very special and usually monetary goal…to get me to buy something later.

If it is free, if you are giving it away with “no strings attached”, why are you promoting it and telling me?

If you are such a wonderful samaritan and altruistic person or organization, then why insist that I understand it is free?

Giving something away?  Just put it out there, let me pick it up, use it, read it, learn from it, watch it, or whatever…and then let me walk away without chasing after me trying to sign me up or charge me for something else, or looking for me to pat you on the back.

Part of the delight of finding something “free” is that it not overly promoted as being free, it’s a surprise, a delight.

If you are going to give something away, just do it, don’t make a spectacle out of your “good will” and “good intentions”….let others do that for you.





What signals are you sending?

5 01 2010

If you received NO economic benefit from your job.  Would you continue to do it?

If you answered “no”, think about what message and attitude you are sending to your clients, co-workers and business network.

If you answered “yes”, think about how this makes you different and unique to your customers, clients, contacts and relationships.





SAPICA 2008 – The footwear and leather goods fair

7 08 2008

SAPICA 2008 Spring/Summer

September 25 – 28, 2008

Poliforum Convention Center

Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

promotion.sapica@cofoce.gob.mx

COFOCE, the World Trade Commission of Guanajuato, would like to invite you to attend the SAPICA Spring/Summer shoe fair in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico on September 25-28, 2008.

COFOCE is offering free individualized introduction and agenda services to qualified foreign buyers and visitors attending SAPICA 2008 in order to increase their chances of doing business during the fair.

COFOCE’S international trade experts will assist you in: making an agenda and appointments during the fair, translation (if required), pre-screening contacts and will provide detailed information about doing business with the Mexican footwear industry.

COFOCE will save your business time and money by allowing you to focus and negotiate with pre-screened Mexican footware manufacturers during SAPICA 2008 that can meet your needs and requirements.

If you are selling, investigating and sourcing men’s, women’s, children’s, or western footwear, or seeking manufacturers or contract manufacturing for your brand or designs, SAPICA 2008 is one event that should not be missed.

Take advantage of this special offer from COFOCE and SAPICA to find suppliers and partners in Mexico in order to maximize profits in 2009.

Contact Lee Iwan at promotion.sapica@cofoce.gob.mx for more detailed information.

What is SAPICA? SAPICA is the most important shoe fair in Latin America, drawing international buyers from the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, and throughout Central and South America. The September edition will be featuring the Spring-Summer fashion for 2009.

How big is SAPICA? Last year’s fair drew over 850 exhibitors, +12,000 buyers and +35,000 visitors under one roof at the 484,000 sq. ft. modern Poliforum exhibition center in Leon.

Who should attend SAPICA? Footwear buyers and executives, purchasing agents, distributors, brand managers, agents, representatives, designers and anyone involved in the international footwear industry.

Why attend SAPICA? Mexico offers excellent competitive advantages including: Excellent logistics to the North American markets, quality components, current technology, know how, strong legal system and trademark protection, Free Trade agreements with 42 countries including USA, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and Israel among others.

How to get to SAPICA? Leon is located in the geographic center of Mexico and is served by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Mexicana, Aeromexico, Click, and Aviacsa. There are numerous direct daily flights to Leon (BJX) from Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Tijuana and Mexico City.

Where to stay during SAPICA? Leon offers numerous hotels with close proximity to the Poliforum Convention center including: Fiesta Americana, Holiday Inns, Real de Minas, La Estancia, Fiesta Inn, Mexico Inns, NE Hotel, Howard Johnson, Radisson, Enterprise Inn and many more.

When is SAPICA? SAPICA 2008 will be held September 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2008. Show is open to visitors and buyers on Thursday to Saturday from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM, and Sunday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

How can I register for SAPICA? Contact Lee Iwan at promotion.sapica@cofoce.gob.mx for more detailed information on how COFOCE can organize your visit.

Links of Interest

Mexican Footwear – How to Find Competitive Footwear Suppliers in Mexico

COFOCEhttp://www.cofoce.gob.mx

SAPICAhttp://www.sapica.com

Hotels in Leon, Guanajuatohttp://www.squidoo.com/leonhotels

How to do business in Mexicohttp://businesssob.blogspot.com

Promexico, Buy in Mexicohttp://www.buyinmexico.com.mx

Promexico, Invest in Mexicohttp://www.investinmexico.com.mx





Educating the workforce = strategic advantage?

5 12 2007

Yesterday I mentioned the move toward global government investment in education as a means to assume leadership status and to remain competitive in the future.  Link

Are individual companies dedicating resources for the education of their work force in order to insure future success?

There are a multitude of options available to the employer and employee in order to increase knowledge;  graduate degree programs, continuing education courses, specific industry training, seminars, conferences, short courses, books, magazines, blogs, the Internet, mentoring and travel.

How many formal or informal programs are in place at your workplace for employees to increase their knowledge?

Formal programs might include subsidies, grants, loans or co-participation in the employees education costs.  They might be specific courses run by consultants or experts, focused on improving specific skills.

Formal programs also include the participation in seminars, workshops, short-courses and other short term events.  They provide opportunities for networking, information, motivation and even a “breath of fresh air” from day to day operations.

How much money and time are set aside in your business for these education events yearly?   Why?

Who determines which events are important, and is there an evaluation as to which events provided valuable material and concrete results to the company?

Mentoring programs also provide opportunities to pass on knowledge, explore and share ideas in a “non hostile environment” and create valuable internal networks.
Informal programs for learning would include providing books or magazine subscriptions to industry press,  monitoring of industry blogs and the Internet for news and trends, attendance at trade shows and business travel.  These provide opportunities to receive new information, create dialogue, learn about trends and tendencies that are or will influence the business.

After any “educational” event, is there a formal feedback program that asks the employee “how can we implement this in our company” Link?   There is room for improvement here.

Will the continuing education of their workforce result in a more competitive future for the company, or will business always be able to “purchase” top talent in the marketplace without having to invest in education?

Related LinksSerendipity as part of business development

Maximize the impact of business conferences, seminars and special events in your organization

The future of our entry level workforce, gloomy

Our future depends on education





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   





Big Important Things – risk and opportunity identification

30 11 2007

“Big Important Things” (BITs),  are local, regional, national or international circumstances or events that cannot be controlled or prevented, that have a significant effect on current and future business practices.

One should always keep in mind the impact of the “Big Important Things” (BITs) on the supply chain, customers, the competition and your industry.

Those involved in strategy and planning must understand how BITs create enormous risks and opportunities.

One can only react to BITs, they cannot be created or eliminated by an organization.

BITs would include, but not be limited to:

  • Natural and man made disasters – hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, explosions, flooding.
  • Massive economic changes – depression, recession, inflation, currency devaluation, massive layoffs
  • War and Terrorism – security measures, logistics, international trade limitations
  • Government policies – trade barriers, laws and regulations, economic sanctions, embargoes
  • New technologies, – trends and tendencies inside and outside of the industry
  • Environmental or health issues – contamination, unsafe products, epidemics
  • Legal issues – pending or current lawsuits, documentation and reporting, legal precedents
  • Significant global changes in demand or supply – shortages, increased demand
  • Energy costs – trends and tendencies

Contingency plans should be created, worst-case and best-case scenarios developed, and efforts made to lower the risk profile or strategically position the company to take advantage of possible changes in the business environment.

How to use BITs to identify areas of risk and opportunity 

  1. Analyze each of the following elements independently;  strategic raw materials, suppliers, logistics, major customers, the competition, your company, and finally your industry (local, national and internationally).
  2. What is the probability that a BIT would affect each element (impossible, low, medium, high, inevitable) and when (short-medium-long term)?  “My supplier is the only manufacturer in North America of the widgets we need, they are located on the western Florida coast and annually are affected to some degree my hurricanes and flooding.  There is a high probability that a major hurricane will hit them in the short to medium term.”
  3. Use a “what if” line of questioning for those high risk or high impact areas.  “What if a major hurricane hit my supplier and disrupted their production?
  4. What are possible scenarios to reduce your risk, or take advantage of the opportunity.  “Do I have alternative suppliers in place, extra inventory, insurance, how can I protect my customers, who else will this affect and how?
  5. Review this process at least twice a year to take into account changes in the probability of the BITs and modify the contingency plans or strategies accordingly.

Related Links

Analyze and Plan Using 7 Simple Questions

How to Systematically Analyze Any Situation for Better Decision Making

9 Steps to Better Decisions





Commoditization, is it happening to you?

28 11 2007

“We are living in an era where there are too many retailers serving too few customers and where there is no longer any brand loyalty or retail loyalty” Kevin Burke, President/CEO. The American Apparel and Footwear Association.

From this comment by Mr. Burke I believe the apparel and footwear industries are in the midst of an important struggle, to move away from their current status of a commodity business.

The winners will be those with strong design, distinct brand, and smart developed distribution systems. The same can be said for almost any current industry.

Too many retailers and points of sale? I doubt it. What I interpret from this comment is that there is intense competition between retailers, and instead of seeking exclusivity or innovation to attract and maintain customers, they are using the oldest,simplest trick known….lowering product prices and with it, the quality of the shopping experience.

It is a classic example of commoditization.

Manufacturers are also to blame. The rush to sell their product to high volume buyers insures loss of control of the marketing and retail channels.

The rush to sell everywhere, to everyone, at the same time allows and promotes price competition and price wars between the various manufacturers and retailers.

Too few customers? The real problem is overproduction. Current manufacturing focuses on high volume production and this encourages the standardization of product. The desire to reduce fixed costs drives manufacturers to seek out cheap world labor, increase productivity through mechanization (which encourages product standardization) and the outcome is a mountain of finished products, created all over the world, that are indistinguishable from one another.

Commodities. Most apparel and footwear companies focus on low cost, high volume manufacturing, they sell to wholesalers or retailers that also focus on volume. So suddenly branded products can be found in department stores, boutiques, grocery stores, flea markets and the Internet. The product is everywhere, consumers have learned that one should just look for it where the price is lowest.

This also makes it easier to pirate and sell a product to a growing network of sales outlets focused on offering a brand name for less.

No brand or retail loyalty?
If there is no customer loyalty (read as no perceived advantage to shopping with you versus the competition), and loyalty is important for continued growth, profit and success, then it’s time for a serious reevaluation of how one is doing business.

How can one stand out from the crowd, do something different and unique, and create a sense of exclusivity and prestige for the consumer?

This is the future.

Related Links

The easy way

10 top reasons for poor customer service and their solutions

Give this away

Are you listening to what the customer needs?





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





Are you listening to what the customer needs?

9 09 2007

I have been involved in a series of meetings with business owners regarding problems in their companies. 

Declining sales and market share due to international competitors, inability to compete or a decline in the entire industry sector are some of the reasons mentioned.

Solutions that were discussed and debated including cutting costs of raw materials, increasing worker efficiency, lowering logistics costs, streamlining the administration and related costs, government intervention and protection, outsourcing and even forming alliances with the international competitors.

What struck me as incredibly odd was that not once were the customer’s needs mentioned.

Not once did anyone mention creating new ideas, products or services for the customer.

There was no discussion of investing in new technology because “things are difficult now”.

There was never a comparison made between the marketing and promotion, branding or image of the competitors versus the company’s marketing, promotion, branding and image.  Why not? 

Every comment or observation focused on lowering production and logistics costs to the customer, never on increasing the benefits to the customer.

All that mattered is “how can I sell at a lower price”.

That’s right.  The entire future of these companies, and in some cases entire industries are focused on how make their products for less.  How to beat the Chinese, Indonesia or Brazil or whatever developing country has access to cheaper raw materials or labor. 

Common sense tells us this is not a viable, long -term solution.

Each of these companies has stated in their publicity, website and in their mission statements that their focus is on the customer and on customer service.  Why aren’t the customer’s needs and future needs part of the search for solutions when sales are declining?

If the customer really truly cares only about price, your product is a commodity. 

If the customer only cares about price, they don’t care about your company’s service, advertising and promotion, attitude or participation in their business.

If you really think that the low price will guarantee the sale, cut out the customer or technical service.  Take away financing.  Take away delivery and logistics.  Forget environmental and worker protection.  Reduce your inventories.   Standardize your prices and order sizes.   Cut down on sales and promotion. 

Call me when your sales skyrocket and the money pours in. 

I suppose it’s normal when sales fall, to attack costs, and costs are a fundamental element in being competitive in certain goods and services.

It is not the only element.  It may not even be the most important one for your customer. 

It probably is the easiest area to change quickly, and requires no investment.  People like easy solutions that don’t require investment. 

The relationship with your customer, the ability to meet their needs with your product or service and allow them to make a profit is what makes business click.

How well do you know your customer? 

What problems are they facing?

Is your contribution to their product important, significant or fundamental in their success?

Do they see you as simply a supplier of a commodity or an integral part of their supply chain and future?

Have you explored how you can work with them to make them more competitive?

Once this has been accomplished, bring the results to the boardroom and start the discussion of how to aid declining sales and deteriorating margin.

Don’t stop with the easy solutions.

Look for the difficult solutions, the ones that require compromise and long-term commitment.

Look for solutions that require investment of resources; time, money, and ideas. 

These are the solutions that the competitor focused on cost is not interested in. 

These are the solutions that will provide confidence and mutual opportunities for growth.





SAPICA 2007 – Leon, Guanajuato

24 08 2007

If you are involved in the footwear industry, the shoe business or the leather goods industry,  SAPICA 2007 will be of interest.

Held twice a year in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico, this years footwear and leathergoods trade fair, Spring-Summer edition, is being held from September 27-30, 2007.

Related Links

SAPICA – Squidoo

SAPICA – official website





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





The 3 Y’s – help for difficult decisions

29 06 2007

An organization’s management and leadership team is responsible for making timely decisions, supplying and applying resources when required, in order to efficiently reach known or perceived goals and objectives.

In order to make these decisions; research, information and analysis of the pertinent information is required.

Here is where management bogs down or leadership can make serious misjudgements.

  • Poor incomplete analysis or lack of the critical information required to assess the risks, obtain the required resources or understand the probable benefits.
  • Lack of understanding of the changes or resources that the decision will provoke.
  • Making the decision too early, or too late.

A quick and useful trick is to apply the “3 Y’s” to assist when faced with a difficult decision.

The “3 Y’s”

  • Why Me?
  • Why Now?
  • Why Not?

The First Why – Why Me?

  • Who is requesting that I make the decision? Why?
  • Is this in my area of responsibility? Why?
  • Is this my area of expertise, do I know what I’m doing? Why?
  • Do I have enough key information to make the decision? Why?
  • Can I obtain more information, in how much time and at what cost? Why?
  • Do I understand the analysis of the data and the conclusions? Why?

The Second Why – Why Now?

  • Does this need to be done or decided now? Why?
  • Is it in response to an emergency, part of “normal” operations or a change in strategy and objectives? Why?
  • Who depends upon this decision or is affected by it? Why?
  • Should the involved parties be informed of how the decision will affect them? Why?

The Third Why – Why Not?

  • What happens if I don’t make the decision? Why?
  • Are there other options, solutions, or alternatives? Why?
  • Do I think this is the best solution or decision available? Why?
  • Do I fully understand the short term and long term effects on resources, customers, work systems, goals and objectives that this decision will provoke? Why?
  • Who are the internal or external “experts”, what is their recommendation? Why?
  • How far am I putting the organization at risk with this decision? Why?
  • Are there metrics to measure or contingency plans in place in case this does not go as planned? Why?

By reacting and making difficult decisions without reflecting on the WHY we miss identifying the real problems and issues.

We miss solutions and strategies.

We miss opportunities to unify and support the organization.

We find ourselves responding to symptoms and not solving or responding to the core issues.

Related Links

Can’t make a decision

9 steps to better decisions





Summertime and Friday at work

28 06 2007

It’s the end of June, summer is in full swing.

For those who live and work in the temperate climates, summer feels different at work.

Summer is different.

Work is not as important or easy to focus on as it was in February with the snow blowing outside.

Work-Life balance becomes a critical issue for many.

All you managers and supervisors, it’s time to loosen things up at the office, especially on Friday.

Everyone enjoys a perk, a freebie or a bit of fun in their life, and this is especially true at work.

Lighten up the summer work environment with the following ideas:

1.  Have a random raffle or give away.  Give away a book(never a business book), a gift certificate to the coffee shop, tickets to a movie, a CD, never more than USD $ 20.  The winner has to be picked by a completely random process (no trivia, or knowledge necessary to win).  Giveaway should occur before lunch, no big ceremony, no speeches.  Don’t do it regularly.  It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else.

2.  Go on a coffee run for everyone.  You do it, don’t send the office person or secretary.

3.  Any big sporting event or local team playing on the weekend?  Have everyone pick a winner and final score, give the winner(s) next Friday afternoon off, or buy them lunch next Friday.

4.  Really furious about something or someone?  Let it wait until Monday.  This is a good thing for everyone involved.

5.  Let everyone go home early, even an hour will be appreciated.

6.  Bring in some summer food and snacks for lunch.  No big catered affair, just plenty of good food, napkins and plates and give everyone plenty of time to enjoy it.  Don’t forget the summer refreshments (skip the alcohol).

7.  In everything you say and do this Friday, try NOT to be the authoritarian boss, be a fellow co-worker.   You might learn something about people and motivation, and yourself.

Related Links 

10 things you should do on Friday afternoon

10 things you should never do on Friday afternoon

3 ideas for Friday