Congratulations! After lots of hard work, your business is ready to start thinking about exporting to other markets, and the most viable option is Mexico.
So, you start researching about how to become an exporter. But, the more you research, the less you seem to understand…
Even though Mexico is our next door neighbor, all the different rules and regulations involved in an importing-exporting transaction, can make you feel lost and overwhelmed. And on top of that, the language is different, the culture is different , how on earth are you going to get through all that??
Relax… While your best move is to contact a business strategist with experience doing business in Mexico instead of trying to figure out everything on your own, here are some important things to consider in the early stages of your international trading venture.
Mexico is our second largest export market. Even though Minnesota’s main exports are agricultural products such as turkeys, pork, beef, soybeans, corn, and wheat, the possibilities are endless. Car components, electrical parts, and plastics are only some of the main products we export to Mexico, and more recently vehicles, engines for military aircraft, machinery, iron and steel products, and many others, are growing rapidly.
Mexico presents a huge advantage to U.S. exporters, which is that transportation options are not only limited to air or sea. Land transportation could be a cheaper, and even faster alternative that may positively affect the pricing and availability of your products in the Mexican market.
Unlike other Latin American countries, Mexico has a strong distribution infrastructure, which makes it easier for exporters to make timely deliveries at competitive prices, whether by sea, air, or ground (rails or roads).
NAFTA eliminated most tariffs and simplified the process to exporting goods to Mexico. However, as a savvy exporter, you must be well informed about the appropriate tariff treatment of each of your products and its components.
As you can imagine, there are necessary documents required by Mexican authorities that need to be prepared in advance, in order for the shipment to go as planned. Some of these documents are the invoice, the Certificate of Origin, certificate of free sale, any required sanitary (or otherwise) requirements, proper labeling (it has to be in Spanish), and others that may vary depending on your product. By following the appropriate procedures, and preparing the right documentation in advance, your shipment will pass through customs swiftly and smoothly.
If you don’t want to get totally involved in the exporting process, at least at the beginning, a good option is to employ an agent or a distributor to sell your products. A distributor buys your products directly from your location in U.S., whereas an agent receives a commission on the sale. That way, you can start testing the waters, without having to go through a learning curve that might not get you the results you want, as quickly as you’d like.
In any case, a good business advisor is the safest way to go. Visit trade shows, contact Pro México and the U.S. Commercial Service , and start visiting the country and making connections with legitimate organizations. After all, going global gets easier every day with the help of today’s technology, and it can be just the right move for your business.
Recently I was engaged in a Facebook exchange among a group of successful business women. Someone asked for opinions on using Grammarly—an app that is marketed as “A FREE, ACCURATE GRAMMAR CHECKER BUILT FOR EVERYONE.”
The comments started rolling in: “love it!” “best thing I have used in a long time.” “Cuts my writing time significantly.” And more like that.
I actually had installed the free app a few weeks before to give it a test run. I found it to be a nuisance because that little app was popping up and sticking its grammar-nose in every single thing I wrote. My emails. My blog posts. My word documents. That spelled danger to me, and I immediately deleted it.
My curiosity piqued, I checked the Terms of Service (which, admittedly, I should have done first). Here is what I found:
By uploading or entering any User Content, you give Grammarly (and those it works with) a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free and fully-paid, transferable and sublicensable, perpetual, and irrevocable license to copy, store and use your User Content (and, if you are an Authorized User, your Enterprise Subscriber’s User Content) in connection with the provision of the Software and the Services and to improve the algorithms underlying the Software and the Services. (emphasis added)
Here's what you need to know:
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you install Grammarly, whether it’s a free service or a paid service, you are specifically giving an unlimited perpetual license to your content to Grammarly and any company they affiliate with and any of their subsidiaries basically for any service they provide now and decide to use in the future.
That means that if you use Grammarly, instead of your own brain or a copy editor, you are no longer the exclusive owner of your content. That means they can republish, provide to third party affiliates, and use your data and materials any way they see fit.
The bottom line is that Grammarly has access to—and the unlimited, forever—right to use your content. Period.
And, once you install Grammarly, it is everywhere . It pops up in every document you create. Every. Single. One. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.
Of course, lawyers and other professionals with a confidentiality responsibility to their clients are ethically prohibited from using Grammarly. (And, I hope they read the fine print.) But even if you don’t have an ethical responsibility to keep information confidential, do you really want to give up the right to your content?
Think about it! And next time, read the fine print. … or call me, and I’ll read it for you.
*This post has been updated here
The driverless car industry is hot and super-competitive. That’s a given. Here’s what’s not hot if you are Waymo, the self-driving car business that was spun out of Google’s parent company:
Recently, there was a trademark spat between Adidas and Tesla. The story piqued my interest because the big players make mistakes that are instructive for small businesses (only on a grander scale)—and because it illustrates the importance of brand identity and underscores why it’s smart to register your mark.In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tesla filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register its Model 3, three-bar logo as a trademark. If the registration had been for the purpose of using the mark on a car, there would not have been a problem. BUT, Tesla registered to use its three-bar “E” on clothing. Adidas, a company known for rigorous policing of its brand identity, challenged Tesla’s right to register the mark as confusingly similar to the Adidas three-bar logo. Tesla withdrew its application. Adidas protected its three-bar brand identity.