After my Small Business Letter from America that goes to the UK, our friend Marco Terry, of the Invoice Factoring Blog, shared some of his international perspective in the comments. What’s the same and what’s different for small business around the world?
By Marco Terry
What you write about is pretty universal. Small businesses still have the same problems:
1. Finding clients
2. Keeping clients
3. Managing growth (or lack thereof)
One subject you can talk about is how the credit crunch is affecting small biz. That is also universal in the US, Europe and Asia (I suspect).
Now, in Latin American countries – it’s a whole different ball game :-)
How is it different?
That is a tough questions to answer since it’s complex. Some things that are important, in no specific order:
1. Who you know: In Latin America, who you know is very important. Having good contacts is vital to success. You could have the best company in the world, but by not knowing the right people (or hiring someone who does), your chances of success will be much limited.
2. Legislative and Taxation: Starting a company and managing one is much more complex. Many regulations, in both businesses law and tax law. This makes running a company substantially harder.
3. Hiring good people: Many countries have laws that make it tough to fire a non-performer. And many have laws that require that someone fired should receive one month salary for every year served. Therefore hiring is a big risk.
4. Court protection: Need to sue someone? Good luck. And get in line. Oh, and expect the process to be veeeeery long.
5. Have an invention: Great! Its patent and $3 will get you a coffee. No such thing as intellectual property protection in many areas.
6. Political Stability: This is getting better, but sometimes changes in government can make or break a business. I won’t name names, but there are at least 3 countries in South America that have developed strong leftist governments with anti-business feelings. BTW, I don’t intend to make this political, but it is a fact that certain government styles make life harder for business owners.
These are just some issues and why I *love* owning a US company.
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