The Mexican Market is like a “Swinging Piñata”: 6 tips for Doing Business in Mexico
November 12, 2012
A recent report by the Australian Government compared the Mexican market to a “swinging piñata, ready to be tapped.” The foreign investor approaches and must leap blindly before finally cracking into the market and reaping the sweet rewards. There are many good reasons for doing business in Mexico and your crack at the piñata will be made easier if you follow our 6 tips for Doing Business in Mexico.
1. Seize the opportunity
Due to its proximity to the world’s largest market and the lower cost of operations, Mexico has become a strategic location for investment. This is particularly true in the manufacturing industry. Many companies that previously manufactured in China have now begun doing business in Mexico instead. Mexico has skilled workers, shares a time zone with the U.S. and transportation costs are much lower. This makes Mexico and ideal manufacturing base for many companies.
2. Habla Español
While it’s relatively easy to open a company in the Mexican market, knowing the language is almost essential to doing business in Mexico. Language access will allow you to discover the rich Mexican culture and your potential Mexican business partners will appreciate your effort. Mexican consumers are open to American advertising so there are fewer cultural barriers but most people do not speak fluent English. Invest in marketing translation to be sure your message is received the way you intended.
3. Make Friends
Mexican business culture places high value on personal relationships and trust is seen as more important than a fleeting business deal. Luckily the Mexican people are very warm and friendly so it shouldn’t take long to build the foundation for a strong business relationship. Face to face meetings are preferred and often held over meals. Start with a breakfast or lunch meeting then move to dinner or evening outings as your relationship develops. An important tip for doing business in Mexico: the person who suggests a meeting in a restaurant is usually expected to pick up the tab since the term “invite” in Spanish is synonymous with “pay for.”
4. Take it Slow
Doing business in Mexico will often require you to move at a slower pace. It is common to receive a response to an e-mail weeks later; this is not an indication that the person is uninterested in your product or service. Factor in at least thirty minutes extra for each meeting in case you are kept waiting or it takes a while to get down to business. Many Mexican companies close for lunch from 2-4p.m. so check working hours when you plan your schedule.
5. Build Your Local Team
International staffing can help make sure you get the right people working for you and this is especially important in Mexico where strict labor laws translate to high penalties for firing employees. International bilingual staffing services can help you screen local applicants and set up the team you’ll need to get your business in Mexico off the ground.
6. Leap for the Prize
The final step is to launch your product or service into the Mexican market. The chamber of commerce related to your sector can provide assistance and information. Enlisting the help of a notary public is a good idea to help with the paperwork, licensing, and permits related to doing business in Mexico.
The Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Council has a wealth of information including details on labor laws, tax structures, importing/exporting, and legal issues related to establishing a business in Mexico at: http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/business_mexico/doing_business_mexico.pdf
If you would like additional information on this topic or have questions on planning and executing your next translation or multilingual initiative, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation or call us at (800) 413-7838.