Start the year – forgiveness

23 12 2008

You have the opportunity to forgive others this holiday season

Give yourself permission to forget the past

Give yourself the chance to start over

Throw out the grudges and anger held inside

Forgiveness is not for others, it is for you

It is an internal process of acceptance and renewal, you need to forgive in order to grow

Give yourself the chance to start over this new year, wipe the slate clean

Living for the future is much more interesting than being chained to the past

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Happy New Year 2009

23 12 2008

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My very best

wishes for a new year

filled with health,

prosperity and

happiness


Great success with your challenges and new projects

How can I help?





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





Our future depends on education

4 12 2007

Over the past months I have noticed a new trend among forward thinking governments.

Massive investment in education as a tool to increase their advantage in the world economy.

The trend is on supporting education, and countries are lining up and investing in education to insure they are poised to take advantage of the future.

Read this excerpt from Value Driven by Geoff Colvin in FORTUNE.

“We’ve known for a long time that this day was coming, and now it’s here: Countries are finally realizing that their future prosperity depends not on natural resources or even on financial capital, but on human capital. Companies have been battling for years to attract and keep the best people. Now countries are engaging in the same fight”

Read the entire article here: The battle for brainpower.

For years the USA, Europe and Japan had the money, universities and jobs that attracted talent, and paid for it.

These countries are filled with national and imported global talent, and the benefits can be measured in dollars and cents, Gross National Product, number of patents, and technological leadership.

Things are changing.

What happens when this imported talent stays home?

The ability to attract or retain top talent in a country will result in more patents, more and better processes and products.

The overall increase in education in a country plus the import of talented people, will provide huge economic benefits to a country.

Future economic growth, it’s not about cheap labor anymore.





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