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Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience

Advice, ideas, comments, shortcuts, tips and information on business leadership and management. Practical guide to doing business in Mexico and internationally

Last Build Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2018 13:45:52 +0000


The Definitive Business Travel Guide – Leon GuanajuatoLee IwanDefiniitive Business Travel Guide Leon Guanajuato

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 22:38:59 +0000

“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. 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 […]

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New website for Lee IwanLee Iwan

Sat, 07 Aug 2010 16:33:31 +0000

I have moved to a new website! Popular posts from the old site Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience will be updated and migrated, and new material added to the new sight 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.

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Scenario planning and annual budgetsLee Iwan

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 14:02:24 +0000

In chaotic times, when uncertainty is the only sure thing, the traditional budget process is a waste of time for the people making them, and for those "using" them. 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 would 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.

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Stop telling me how free it isLee Iwan

Wed, 06 Jan 2010 13:49:03 +0000

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.

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What signals are you sending?Lee Iwan

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 12:58:14 +0000

f 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. 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 compared to your customers and clients other contacts and relationships.

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Who’s to blame?Lee Iwan

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 13:01:28 +0000

Don't blame the world. Don't blame the boss. Don't blame your co workers. It's all about our ability or inability to convince them. It's all about sales. Our ability to "sell" the proposal, to "sell" our achievements, to "sell" our value, to "sell our enthusiasm", to "sell" our ideas.

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It will never workLee Iwan

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 20:48:01 +0000

Change, applying new and disruptive methods to operations and problem solving, is always a gamble, and always generates resistance, and many times will not solve the problem. It will always..always.. always...stimulate new ideas, and get people talking, and more importantly thinking about the problem, the solutions or the process.

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Start the year – forgivenessLee Iwan

Wed, 24 Dec 2008 05:43:13 +0000

Give yourself the opportunity to forgive others this holiday season. Give yourself permission to forget whatever happened in 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 it for growth 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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SAPICA 2008 – The footwear and leather goods fairLee Iwan

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 04:20:58 +0000

Don’t miss out on Latin America’s largest and most important shoe and leather goods fair. Over 850 exhibitors, +2000 stands, and +12,000 buyers will meet in September to find new opportunities, meet with established footwear suppliers and manufacturers and network with industry peers. September 25-28, 2008

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Educating the workforce = strategic advantage?Lee Iwan

Wed, 05 Dec 2007 18:23:30 +0000

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 Links Serendipity 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

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Our future depends on educationLee Iwan

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 21:21:33 +0000

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.

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The challenge of international businessLee Iwan

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:07:07 +0000

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

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Big Important Things – risk and opportunity identificationLee Iwan

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 19:40:54 +0000

"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? 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

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Commoditization, is it happening to you?Lee Iwan

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 19:54:06 +0000

"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 theInternet. 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?

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