Business is booming between the U.S. and countries in Latin America. Between 2009 and 2012, trade with these 20 countries increased 54 percent compared with a 36 percent increase with the rest of the world.
Doing business with companies and partners in Latin America can obviously be financially rewarding, but it can also be challenging, and good preparation has its rewards.
Knowing something about cultural differences between Latin America and the U.S. is a good place for starting a new business excursion south of the boarder. An interesting tool for looking at cultural differences was created by Dutch researcher Geert Hofstede.
According to the Geert Hofstede cultural dimension scale, the U.S. and Latin America are most different in the dimensions of risk avoidance and individuality. Hofstede’s scale compares measures of risk avoidance on a scale of high to low. Read more...
Any environment that includes ambient intelligence technology is designed to provide social support for any of its inhabitants. That’s a mouthful, but what it essentially means is that it is a “smart” environment — with attributes that are similar to how a smartphone is able to anticipate and adapt to what a user needs.
When it comes to meetings, it stands to reason that when there is some level of continuity, attendees will be more comfortable. And that makes them more likely to actually show up — as well as actively participate. Imagine that! I know that getting some people to say anything during meetings can be like pulling teeth. But there are always those people who well, to put it bluntly – just never seem to stop talking. Read more...
Some businesses are discovering what the entertainment industry has known for decades. Canada is a great place to expand business. Production companies began using Canada for its locations decades ago, as producers found that Vancouver can easily resemble middle America. Toronto can look like New York City and Calgary passes for the western region.
Aside from the stunning locations, it is also a favorite for film productions because they offer huge discounts and a subsidy for labor costs that the U.S. just doesn’t offer.
Other businesses would do well to investigate the many benefits of doing business in the land of the Canucks. Like it or not, the fact is that operating a business in Canada could be better for the bottom line than many other places. Read more...
For many of us, there is nothing more invigorating than a vacation. Europeans have always valued vacations from work because of their therapeutic elements. When I worked with a Danish bank, the first thing that struck – actually, shocked me was the three full weeks of vacation immediately – and unlimited sick days. Yes, you read that right. Unlimited. I almost fell over.
Since the U.S. lags so far beyond on that score – and likely will never catch up – the next best thing could be to update or arrange for new business spaces. We all know how expensive it is to redecorate – but renting business meeting rooms is very affordable. Read more...
Professionals of all types use presentation tools for a variety of reasons. Let’s face it. Many business meetings are just plain boring. There, I said it. I really hope my boss isn’t reading this — but it is the truth.
Anyone who has had to sit through a meeting with a person who speaks in a monotone voice can relate to what I am saying. When it comes to some meetings, what I wouldn’t do to be able to take a nap instead! In fact, sometimes I have to belt back a couple of cups of coffee just to make it through. I knew there was a reason they always serve coffee at meetings!
So how can you keep the meeting moving and audience engaged enough to keep from nodding off? Presentation tools! You may not have thought of using a slide show, PowerPoint demo or video on-screen to liven things up, but it really does work. It is amazing what just a little color can do to change a meeting. Read more...
With the economy still dragging, many businesses are downsizing so they require less space. While that can save some companies on rental expenses, it creates another problem – one is where to hold those all-important meetings. The newest crop of businesses are also small – meaning there is limited space for the same meetings that are so crucial for business development.
Morale is an issue that more firms should pay more attention to. It’s easy to let that issue slip through the cracks with so many other pressing things to deal with. But in reality – only content staff will pull a company forward. I’ve seen more than one company go downhill when the staff was neglected. It’s the trickle-down effect — the staff trickles down displeasure to both prospects and clients. And that’s the last thing any company wants to see happening. Read more...
In so many activities – atmosphere is everything. It can either make people comfortable and inspire participation or turn them off so that they just want to leave. And the last thing you want is for people to want to leave your meeting.
One of the best ways to assure that a meeting will be a waste of time is if it is boring. When people are bored, they check out. And people who are not present are not participating. When people aren’t inspired to contribute to a meeting, it just lessens its purpose. Even if all people will do is listen – a boring meeting makes even that impossible. I have gotten mind-wandering down to a science because of sitting through boring meetings. Read more...
Imagine what your work world would have been like if you were doing your job 50 or 100 years ago. Maybe what you do would not have been possible then, but imagine you, your ideas, and your zeal working to get things done in 1963 or 1913.
Entrepreneurship has changed drastically since then, and one of the greatest changes for the better is the availability of premium meeting and office space that was once only there for the already rich and famous.
Work is not what it used to be, and aren’t we lucky. A well-appointed, technologically up -to-the-second office location for meeting a prospective investor, training and motivating new employees, or brainstorming the newest innovation, was not there in those days; unless you already had it. Read more...
There is no doubt that the impact of technology on people’s lives has been more than extraordinary. Not even techno gurus could have seen it coming. For example, IBM scoffed at Bill Gates’ idea about developing personal computers, as did Steve Jobs’ cohorts – insisting that no one would ever want a computer. It is stunning when you think about it. Because today, not only do more households than ever have computers, but they walk around with them as cell phones and numerous other devices, as well.
The benefits of technology are so far reaching that it is not possible to capsulize them adequately. Businesses today rely so heavily on them that a company can be shut down for hours, days and even for the duration from a simple failure in technology. Read more...
In my experience, one of the key ingredients in the ability to produce the best work is creativity. But it is hard to be creative in a stuffy, small space. You would think that with all we know about how the brain operates that businesses would have a better clue about how work space affects productivity. But the fact is that many of them don’t.
It should come as no surprise that the spaces we work in to a large degree can determine our ability to actually think. With all the cutbacks, many businesses have had to scale back offices. Newer firms often have no official office at all.
While the local coffee house seems like a cool place for people to work and gather, the truth is that it really isn’t. The blaring music makes it impossible to hold a conversation, let alone hold a meaningful meeting. It also just doesn’t look professional to hold meetings in coffee houses. I mean, how seriously do you think someone is going to take you when you have them meet you at a Starbucks? Read more...