Four Tips to Improve Traffic to Your Blog

People visit the World Wide Web for information. Entrepreneurs capitalize on this need for information and generate revenue. There are a number of ways we can generate revenue on the Internet. Blogging is one of those.

One of the important things that one needs to keep in mind while advancing into the intricate world of blogging is to supply information that is concise and up to the point. People visit your blog for information. If they are presented with something else other than what they are seeking, they will be tempted to leave.

There is a popular notion that blogging businesses fail due to the reader being presented with a lack of information. This is true to a certain extent. However the most prevalent reason is that the user, in most cases, is presented with an excess of information. If users see too much of information in your blog, you can be guaranteed that they will choose to visit another blog of the same topic, in which case you are losing potential source of income.

There are four techniques that you can follow to ensure that your website receives maximum amount of traffic.

1) Present content in comprehensible and succinct sentences

The skill of writing in a clear and concise manner can only be attained with time and practice. The natural tendency for a beginner is to present too much information. In most cases, a novice tends to give out too many details that are guaranteed to bore the reader. The only way one can avoid this pitfall is by rereading a paragraph two to three times and making sure that it doesn’t get soporific.

2) Readers should easily be able to scan your content

Surfers are always on the prowl for content that is easy and efficient to comprehend. A good way to accomplish this is to write in an easily scannable manner. This is achieved by including headings and subheadings in your text. Headlines should mark the beginning of a new topic and subheadings should mark the beginning of a new subtopic. This method ensures that readers can quickly scan the entire article and easily find the information they are looking for.

3) Make sure you write without bias

Don’t include words that give readers the impression that you are opinionated. This sort of writing style gives readers the impression that you are trying to sell them something, which is something you are trying to avoid, as this is the primary factor that drives someone away from your blog.

4) Make sure you run your text through spell check

Grammatical errors disrupt the flow of your sentences. This kind of distraction is sure to form a negative impression in the reader’s mind and can drive them away from your blog. Another alternative to this is listening to your post being read out loud. Get yourself a good pair of quality speakers when you do this, so you can really hear how your post sounds when you are listening. We recommend reading this Edifier R1280db Review.

Once you start following these four principles, you can be assured that you will notice a considerable increase in the traffic to your website and the revenue associated with it.


Tips for Being a Successful Employee

Tips for Being a Successful Employee

Except for some part-time, intermittent teaching, consulting and wedding officiating, I have always been someone else’s employee. Sometimes as line staff, sometimes as a middle-manager and sometimes in upper management, I have opted for the security of a guaranteed pay check and benefits over the higher risk and potentially higher earnings, of self employment. This is who I am and I know it. How well do you know yourself?

Being a successful employee is not simply a situation defined by the lack of having your own business. It is a choice and type of work well suited to some and a painfully poor fit for others. I have found that to be a successful employee – to work for someone else – to not be the person in charge making the decisions – requires certain mind sets and understandings. I offer the following list of criteria apt to enhance a person’s success at being a good employee.

To be a successful employee, one must come to grips with the following realities:

  1. You are always entitled to your own opinions. However, they are not welcome in every work situation and being asked for input should never be confused with the responsibility for making the decision. Sometimes, opinions that are at odds with those of the ‘boss’ are considered insubordinate, inappropriate and cause for either discharge (“You just don’t seem to fit in here”) or being frozen in a non-advancing position (“We think that so-and-so is better qualified. S/he thinks more the way that we like to see in our senior people.”)
  1. Eating crow may need to become a regular diet. Deferring to decisions you feel are mistakes are not uncommonly aspects of being able to survive a work environment – especially one where, particularly in public service, it does not appear to be the ‘cream’ that has floated to the top.
  1. You need to develop comfort and attain satisfaction from what you CAN accomplish given the constraints placed on you and your authority by the people you work for.
  1. There will be times when other people will claim (and be rewarded for) ideas that were actually yours. This is particularly irritating to creative types whose need for security keeps them in the employee group.
  1. You can’t always tell everyone (or sometimes anyone) how you really feel about things. Your feelings are apt to be regarded as signs of weakness and may reduce your value to the company.
  1. It is not reasonable to expect that you will like or be liked by everyone you work with. Figuring out who is who -and quickly – is a key element in planning an achievable career path iwithin an organization.
  1. Security, though likely with ambivalence, is a higher priority than risk-taking and higher earning potential, and finally,
  1. Regard no job as the ‘last’ job. Sometimes, as an employee, differences, much as they sometimes do in other human relationships, become irreconcilable. Leaving a job on your own volition in recognition of such a situation looks a lot better and is probably easier to explain than is being fired or ‘discharged’ by the employer. Like most other things in life, changes are generally preferable at your own initiative.

These are but a few of what might be a much longer list of guidelines. A lot of them are hard to swallow but working for others is just that, working for others who usually put their own priorities and values well in front of your own. This is reality.

Working for yourself is entirely different. You make the decisions and are responsible for what goes well as well as for what fails. There is no one else to blame. If you do well, you succeed. If you don’t, you fail. Self-employment brings a higher degree of risk and personal responsibility. There is no one else to blame if things don’t go right. There is no insensitive manager to hold responsible. It requires a higher degree of self-confidence and, simply, gumption!

Unlike some paid employment, you cannot continue to earn money if you don’t do things right. Sadly, the obverse is likely best personified in the public sector where actual performance and longevity or promotability seems to have little if anything to do with actual competency.

The old saw of “To thine own self be true” applies when it comes to how you decide to choose to make a living.

 


Four Types of Retail Companies that Should Still Be Around in 2019

As we enter 2010, many people in the business world are speculating as to what companies, or types of companies, will be gone by the end of the new decade. As a business advisor, who likes to stay optimistic, I would like to share, with you, four types of retail companies that should still be around by 2019.

Do It Yourself

 

“Do It Yourself,” style retail companies should still be around in 2019. As long as people want things done, there will be people that will want to do it cheaper on their own. Granted, it is way too early to tell if the small corner do it yourself style stores will still be around, but the big boys like Home Depot should be.

 

Car Dealerships

 

At this point, there is no reason to think that car dealerships will not be around in 2019. Out of all types of retail companies, car dealerships are the most hands-on. Why would one want to purchase a car without taking it for a test drive? While we might see televisions and computers purchased predominantly online by 2019, car dealerships will still be in full force.

 

Liquor Store

 

Don’t worry about corner liquor stores going away before 2019. As long as people want the convenience of walking a block or two to pick up a six pack of beer, corner liquor stores will still be around. Granted, there has been a trend in some parts of the country to franchise these corner stores into a major chain, but that has yet to catch on.

 

Adult Book Stores

 

Many believe that traditional book stores as we know them will be gone by the end of 2019. As long as there are people out there that want porn, and can’t access it through the internet, there will be people to shop at adult book stores. While the push will most likely continue from Christian groups to have adult bookstores banned, the chance of this going through in every community is slim.

With all of the companies, and company types that will probably fall to the wayside in the next ten years, these four should hold through and pass the test of time. Do It Yourself style stores, car dealerships, liquor stores, and adult bookstores are four types of retail companies that should not only be here in 2019, but for a very long time after that.


Understanding Business: What is a Letter of Intent?

Although it seems to sad to admit it, there are many times in life when we are not able to guarantee the things we say or what we want to do. However, this simply is not acceptable in the business world. With that in mind, one of the most important pieces of paper, and one that has significance even into everyday life is something known as a letter of intent. Even though some aspects of business may be difficult to understand at times, the idea behind the letter of intent, and understanding it is thankfully, both important and fairly simple.

Often, when we think of business agreements, or any legally binding action, we think only of contracts and other such documents. However, this is simply not the case, and an equally important document, that also possesses legally binding characteristics is known as the “Letter of Intent”. Basically, a letter of intent is a signed, documented and witnessed letter that contains evidence of an agreement between two parties. While it may be different from a contract in many ways, there are also many circumstances in which the letter of inent is faster, more convenient, and simply a better choice than a signed contract, which can take long period of time and often comes with far more paperwork and legal foot work.

 

In fact, the letter of intent has become a common element for anyone who has considered making a promise as to what college they would like to attend. If a student commits in a signed letter that he or she would like to attend and is accepting the invitation of a college, than we have evidence of a letter of intent, which is binding. Simply, what this means is that a student cannot agree to go to one college and then pull out and attend another when a better offer comes along.

 

In addition to college, letters of intent have also popped up in broad places across the legal spectrum. Different companies may use these letters to communicate delivery or pick up promises far more quickly and efficiently than a normal contract could be used in the past. A letter of intent may also be used as an intermediate step before an actual deal or agreement takes place. For example, the owner of one business may send a letter of intent wishing to setup up a time and place for initial negotiations of a proposed deal. The letter would also state several other important factors, such as the matter to be negotiated, the parties involved, the possible limits of the deal, and any other relevant information. This, then, insures that the parties are dedicated to their meeting and that the actual deal or agreement will go far more smoothly and efficiently had it been a haphazard or unplanned affair.

 

However, many businesses also make mistakes when it comes to letters of intent. Specifically, many tend to leave them in far too broad or general terms. It is incredibly important to remember that the letter of intent is a legally binding contract, and it should be treated as one regardless. When a company or individual becomes lazy when laying out the basics set forth in the letter, or simply signs away and sends without proper considerations, we can have many of the same problems that we would experience in a contract that has not been properly constructed or properly read and evaluated. For this reason, it is incredibly important that the letter be made as accurate and checked as thoroughly as possible. Poorly written or constructed letters of intent can be a major legal liability, and this is simply one more reason why it is important to make sure they are as accurate, clean, and clear as possible.

 

While he letter of intent definitely may not be the first legally related term we think of when considering binding agreements and other documents, it is quickly becoming an important method of communication and information of intent among concerned parties. However, as useful and convenient as a letter of intent can be, it is also important that the letter of intent is used responsibly and the true meaning and significance (as well as the legally binding nature of the letter) is considered and always kept in mind and respected.


Starbucks Joins Wal-Mart as Businesses Facing Consumer Animosity

An interesting development has been taking place across the business landscape around the country as Starbucks finds itself in the unenviable position of being seen as a corporate titan similar to Wal-Mart and Microsoft. For years, Starbucks has been seen as the best thing to hit a community since sliced bread. But with its continued expansion and some would say oversaturation and impact on community coffee shops, Starbucks has become enemy No. 2 for community activists who want to keep Mom-and-Pop businesses alive, including the independent coffee houses that have long served the communities around them.

Fifteen years ago, Wal-Mart and Sam Walton were seen as consumer-oriented and a friend to all. While their focus has remained, communities have seen the destruction that comes with the entrance of the world’s largest retailer. Without comparison, when Wal-Mart commits to a community, small businesses suffer or are even forced to close up shop because of their inability to compete with Wal-Mart on price and the number of offerings Wal-Mart can put on shelves. In a typical small storefront, the most of any single product a store can put on a shelf is three or four. At Wal-Mart, dozens of choices, with different prices and qualities align the store shelves for the waiting eyes of consumers looking for the best bang for the buck.

 

The inability to compete has enabled Wal-Mart to gobble up chunks of market share in every community that they have entered. Has anyone ever heard of a Wal-Mart closing because store sales were down? It is unheard of because no company can compete with Wal-Mart because of the scale and scope that Sam Walton’s creation brings to the table. That same complex has found its way to Starbucks as the Seattle-based company now finds itself the brunt of community activism. In Memphis, the earliest Starbucks were inside Barnes and Noble restaurants before stand alone operations began to appear in earnest. That was ten years ago. Since that time, Starbucks has exploded with expansion as it has in every major city across the country and globe. This year alone, Starbucks plans to launch 2,500 new stores. That has to come with some consequences as consumers watch the decline of the coffee houses they have visited all of their lives dwindle in the face of the Starbucks effect.

 

Which is why web sites such as Ihatestarbucks.com are creeping up on the Internet in large scale. On the anti-Starbucks site you can find a list, state-by-state of where you can go get good coffee instead of Starbucks. While Starbucks continues to make Fortune’s list of the Twenty Most Admired Companies, that admiration is fleeting as droves of baristas jump ship to less corporate coffee houses like High Point Coffee and other startup coffee spaces. Beyond the baristas, the communities have become anti-Starbucks as well. Many have heard of the litigation Wal-Mart faces in some communities when it tries to enter it with a new superstore. For the first time, Starbucks is feeling that same pain.

 

With the CEO of Starbucks recently talking about the commodization of coffee and the Starbucks brand in a memo the ardent voice of displeasure has been heard in the coffeebean bought offices of the world’s largest coffee retailer. Beyond simple saturation and brand-weariness, communities take a great deal of pride in their local businesses, even when Starbucks sells better coffee, with more choices than their neighborhood business. If they could both survive and thrive in the face of each other, the backlash against Starbucks would certainly die down. But seeing that the death of one is an obvious inevitability communities have taken up the cause of the underdog, the little man; as they rightfully should. It could be one of them.


How to Name Your Business

When it comes to naming your business, be it a website, a brick-and-mortar storefront, a firm or a multinational, the right name choice can make a difference in your success. The name is the “first impression” you make on your customers. It has to strike like lighting with the best intended effect, or all your work may be for naught.

Therefore it doesn’t pay to take your business name lightly. Even the most whimsical-sounding business names are often carefully-selected. Instead of a “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream”, you might wind up with a “Hank’s Lingerie”. Keep the following factors in mind when selecting your business name.

 

A good business name should…

 

Be Original

 

It goes without saying that the name cannot already belong to another business. But more than this, if your business is “The Happy Sun Company”, take care that customers can find you when searching online; and not the hundred other businesses scattered across five continents, and thousand other products and services that share this name.

 

Be Easy to Spell and Remember

 

Do yourself a favor and make the name recognizable, and one which you will not have to spell for your customers. Otherwise you’ll be explaining it ten times a day, and you’ll soon wish you had that time to do something else. If it takes ten seconds to explain your name, six times a day, that’s a minute a day, and over one day a year you take just to explain your company name to customers.

 

Yes, misspelling Truck Repair as Trux Repairs might earn you a top spot in the search engines, but you will get tired of spelling your business name in about a week.

 

Be SEO-Friendly

 

The ideal business name of course would have a search engine search result page all to itself. This is unlikely. But you can sometimes find combinations of words that would give your site first rank in a search. Instead of Café, or even Jay’s Café, you might try an unrelated name, like “Fencepost Café”. When a customer searches for your business online, they can see it right at the top of the results.

 

Fulfill a Trademark Search

 

No DBA (Doing Business As) registration can be allowed prior to a government trademark search. Yes, your construction contracting business is called Ace Contractors, inc, and you’re the only one in the city. Yes, there are probably a hundred others just like it in other cities. However the first one who registers his or her trademark to that name, is the only one legally able to use it – and can then possibly litigate against others who use it commercially, if they deem your business to affect their bottom line.

 

Trademark registration can take many months; in the meantime, your company can display the ® mark on your name, which means Registered. This will keep any other company from using the brand you have pending.

 

It should be noted that your trademark must be registered in any country you intend to do business in. One country at a time. Many people see your successful business and squat on your overseas trademark in hopes of making a “sale”. That’s “business”.

 

Represent the USP of Your Business

 

Your business name should reflect the special service or quality that distinguishes your company from the competition – the USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. Are you the cheapest? Fastest? Most adaptable? Say so with your business name.

 

Capture the Tone or Feeling of Your Business

 

Cute? Serious? Corporate? Family-Owned? Community-Centered? As Steve Martin once opined, nobody will put their money into “Fred’s Bank”! Yes, you might call your dogwalking service “Alice’s Dog Walking Service”. Or you might take it a step further from the Name/Type cliché and capture a feeling, such as “Puppy Walkies and Frisbee Service”. You get the idea. The whimsical name reflects the right kind of personality people would entrust their dog’s daily welfare to – a happy and energetic person.

 

Avoid Clichés

 

Common cliches probably include the first things that come to your mind when naming a business. Healthy Home Care, Clean Car Wash, Cheap Web Host, etc. Fill a page with ideas, then tear it up and throw it away. Your naming enterprise begins on page two.

 

Avoid Bluster

 

Ok, you sell your homemade cookies and baked goods on the internet, but is it fair to call your business “Nibbles Conglomerated International Company”? You partner with a web designer in Sydney, is it accurate to call your company “Trans-Pacific Advertising”? The best way to name your business is to more accurately describe what it is your business does, and who, in fact, it serves. If it’s a choice between a difficult original name, and a generic accurate one, choose a generic accurate one. “Bright Cove Carpet Cleaning”, though less imaginative, will win more new customers than “Custom Warp  amp; Weave”.

 

Have Credibility – For Your Niche

 

Finally, your name must reflect your own credibility and reliability, as an established business that will be here tomorrow. The name should adhere to the standards of the business niche in which you operate. A hair salon might have a creative name, while an investment agency might promote conservative values. There are even name generators on the internet to help you come up with creative new words for your business!

 

Put some thought into the naming of your business – if you find it too challenging, get yourself a professional copywriter or branding agency to help you. Your business name operates in conjunction with your business image, brand, niche, USP, and web presence, all functioning together like a perpetual-motion machine. Your business, like you, has a special place in the universe, that might be imitated but never duplicated.


Career

Self-Made Careers Over 50

After twenty-nine years, a fifty-seven year old sales manager for a Detroit auto parts supplier received a termination notice the week before Christmas.

Without the keys to his former company car but with a month’s severance check and a banker’s boxful of personal possessions off the walls and out of the desk in the office he’d occupied for more than a quarter of a century, the ex-sales manager took a cab home, trying to think of an easy way to break the news to his wife.

But there was no ‘easy way’ to tell her that he’d lost a job he loved, a job that not only provided a comfortable living but also provided his identity for most of his adult life. So he was honest about how scared he was, about his not-too-optimistic view of the future and, while he was at it, he admitted that the retirement they were looking forward to was no longer assured.

For better or for worse, the sales manager and his wife were empty-nesters with two married daughters living in California and a son serving with the Marines in Afghanistan.

They had no one to turn to but each other, so they formed a working partnership dedicated to generating the income they needed to support themselves and to continue preparing for retirement.

He put his ego aside and applied for unemployment benefits while she put her ego aside to take a part-time clerical job in a rundown downtown drug rehab facility. She agreed to be completely supportive, without criticism or complaint and he agreed to make looking for a job his new job and to keep her posted on his progress.

He was anxious to get back to work so he left the house by seven each morning to do what he loved to do . . . sell. The difference now was that instead of selling auto parts, he was selling himself. He did his research and created an ever-evolving list of ‘target’ companies that included just about every prospective employer within a radius of a hundred miles.

After six months of clicking through every imaginable online job site, searching endless help-wanted ads and contacting hundreds of potential employers, despite his experience and excellent work record, he realized that no one was going to hire him.

So, he decided to hire himself.

Smart self-made career planning

The ex-sales manager and his wife realized that to start a new business at any age, especially in this economy, could be terminally risky. So, they decided to not leave anything to chance.

Husband and wife agreed to extend their partnership to cover the new business. They would plan the business together and once it was up and running, he would manage the marketing and sales activities while she handled the administrative side.

The business would ‘contract-sell’ B2B products and services for dealers, distributors and manufacturers with a ‘portable, no-overhead’ sales department that would work for non-competing companies for a fraction of what it costs to operate an in-house sales department.

Defining a self-made career to ensure success

Husband and wife met with a Small Business Administration counselor to work through a ‘SWOT’ (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to determine whether or not their basic business proposition would fill a real need in the market.

They consulted with a business attorney, a commercial banker and an insurance agent to determine what the legal structure should be and how best to finance and insure the business.

The last step in the process was to write a business plan to follow as they launched and began to operate the business. The plan described the business, its legal structure, its economic goals and defined how services would be advertised, marketed, delivered and priced. The plan also included an estimated operating budget for the first twelve months based on projected income and cash flow.

After meeting with a Small Business Development Center counselor, the husband and his wife made some minor adjustments to the basic business plan, arranged for SBA start-up financing and then went home to get a good night’s slept.

They knew they’d need it.


Structure

Business Structure: Limited Liability Company: Is A Limited Liability Company The Right Business Structure For You?

There are many different business structures that may suit your entrepreneurial needs, and most countries offer the options of starting a business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. But in the US, there is another option, called the Limited Liability Company (or LLC for short), which combines some of the benefits of all the other options.

What Is A Limited Liability Company?

A Limited Liability Company is a business structure authorized for use in certain US states that allows both the owners and managers to have only limited liability for the financial aspects of the business (mostly tax benefits), while incorporating some of the perks of running an S corporation. An LLC is not a corporation however, even though some entrepreneurs (mistakenly) call this business structure a Limited Liability Corporation. Additionally, owners are called members, and there can be an infinite number of them.

The Benefits Of A Limited Liability Company

Running an LLC has several benefits over sole proprietorships, partnerships and/or corporations. They are:

  • Limited Liability: like the title says, an LLC offers is members limited liability for all financial decisions. The only way to waive this is to have the member sign a document personally guaranteeing the money they’ve invested into the business;
  • Flexible Profit Options: Unlike the S Corporation which has a 50/0 profit split, LLCs can pick and choose the type of profit structure that works best for their organization;
  • No Need For Minute Taking: S Corporations require all meetings to have minutes recorded and filed, and all resolutions registered. An LLC gets away with having to do neither, thus reducing administrative time (although many LLCs do anyway);
  • Tax Benefits: By having an LLC, all profits and losses move through the corporation and into the members’ hands, thus avoiding any sort of double taxation issues (where both the corporation and the individual are taxed on the same amount).

The Drawbacks Of A Limited Liability Company

Like any business structure, there are drawbacks to every option. The drawbacks to a limited liability company are:

  • Finite Timeline: Corporations can live forever, but LLCs only live as long as all of the members are still alive and don’t declare bankruptcy;
  • Unable To Go Public: Unlike a corporation, limited liability companies cannot take their businesses public;
  • More Complex: A sole proprietorship is the most basic of business structures, and even a partnership is less challenging to run than an LLC. However, an LCC (as explained previously) has less paperwork to manage than a corporation.

Holi

How To Pump Up Profits From Holiday Sales: The Best Ways To Maximize Profits During The Holiday Season

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs make a good portion of their yearly sales during the last few months of the year according to the National Retail Foundation.

Maximize Profits During The Holidays Through Loyalty

This isn’t to say a small business needs to start a loyalty program with cards, points and so forth, but rather to focus on what makes customers come back, year after year, to do business with a local business. Which of these ideas might work?

  • Review local media regarding customers wanting to get closer to their roots to either shop locally or focus more on traditional, family-based values. How do these issues affect the business, and how can they be used to connect customers with products or services?
  • Connect with local organizations to let people know in the community that the business cares and is deeply entrenched in the success of the area. How? By donating to charities, helping organize community events, sponsoring local holiday events, and/or working with groups to allow them space, time or resources.
  • Arrange large, special events for the locals that no other business can. Speaking tours, yearly contests, or housing an installment of an art walk are all ways to build customer loyalty and maximize profits during the holidays.

Maximize Profits By Focusing On Holiday Sales Marketing

Marketing can encompass a great many things, and planning for the holidays doesn’t change that. What does change however is knowing how the holidays changes marketing focus, and what customers are looking for. So, to maximize profits during this time of year, try:

  • Ensure that all products being sold for holiday profit are exactly what customers are looking for, especially towards the end of the season. This means having those “must buy” items in stock for last minute shoppers, as well as providing easy access to these products early on in as well.
  • Make a holiday sales plan based on past performance, other retailers in similar markets, and suppliers – and then stick to it. For example, if buyers don’t normally look for deep discounts until Boxing Day in the area, don’t bother offering them until then.
  • Take a peek at what is selling sluggishly and mark it down accordingly so that there isn’t extra inventory after the holidays that requires even more slashing.

Maximize Profits With A Specialized Holiday Sales Plan

It is increasingly difficult to compete with the big box stores as entrepreneurs because of the large chains’ deep marketing budgets. But that doesn’t mean that its pointless to create a specialized holiday sales plan – it just means catering more to specific customer niches and ensuring they are captured with an appropriate message. Some ideas to ensure a larger, captive audience:

  • Use those emails addresses culled over the past year and create a special holiday newsletter for all past customers. Just make sure not to make a holiday sales email the first of emails received in a long time; not only does it make an entrepreneur look desperate, it can backfire if customers get wind of this.
  • Try targeted geographical online marketing via Yahoo! or Google.
  • Discuss mail drops with your local post office that focus only on those in the area that will most benefit from the businesses’ holiday message.
  • Jump on the social networking bandwagon and start creating a following via MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like.

mexico business

Starting a Business in Mexico: What Business Owners Can Expect South of the Border

Cultural and other differences between the USA and Mexico run far deeper than one might expect. Starting a business in Mexico requires careful investigation.

George invested his savings in a U.S. franchise which he had checked out with the greatest of care. As a self-employed person, he wanted to invest in a business that could provide him with income after retirement.

George put his money into a franchise that was about to expand into Mexico. The franchisers had been highly successful in the USA, but failed to investigate the customs and culture of its southern neighbor. After a few years, George had to sell his new business at a huge loss and he never got back his investment. Why?

The answer may lie in the fact that many U.S. business people only travel abroad as short-term visitors or tourists and never come to know foreign cultures in depth, as would residents, exchange students or Peace Corps volunteers. This naturally results in a plethora of false assumptions, which can spell disaster for businesses which cross the border.

Here is a very brief sampling of differences in services and outlook which might surprise an American starting up a business in Mexico.

  • Mexican Voltage is 127 Volts. This is just high enough to “fry” many US-made products, especially electronic. Voltage regulators are de rigueur in Mexican homes and businesses.
  • You Need an Accountant. Mexico’s confusing and constantly changing fiscal laws are too complicated for non-accountants to follow. Even the smallest home businesses have accountants.
  • You Don’t Want to Use the Post Office. Mexican mail is so unreliable that all service bills must be paid by standing in line. If you want to be sure a letter will get through, you have to use an expensive courier service.
  • Appointments Require Last-minute Confirmation. An apparently “definite” plan to meet at a specific time and place is merely considered tentative until a final confirmation phone call is made just before the event.
  • Family and Friends Make all the Difference. To find a competent electrician, a good plumber, an honest accountant, and so forth, Mexicans rely on the personal recommendations of relatives and close friends. Without such a network, foreigners will fare badly indeed. Solution: marry a Mexican.
  • You Need a Factura for Everything. A factura is something like a combination receipt and invoice. In Mexico, this must be an official, numbered document issued to registered taxpayers. If you can’t produce a legal factura, you haven’t a prayer to collect monies owed you, but once you are registered, you enter a bureaucratic morass from which you can only escape with the help of an accountant (See above).

This list is not meant to be complete, but hopefully will give the reader a brief glimpse into the complicated world of Mexican business. Hopefully these few observations will bring across one main point well worth remembering: every culture is unique and every time you make an assumption, you are actually making a fool of yourself.

Investigate deeply, investigate carefully and proceed cautiously. Without a doubt, you will learn a great deal.