🌴 Ready to take on another day? 👋🏼👋👋🏾 I'm hoping to get you a little more prepared.
🌴 Today, I'm sharing some great how-to advice that tackles global trade and what you need to know to do it right.
🌴 Valentina Moretti, Esq. is the featured entrepreneur. She co-founded Samandhel and serves as its Vice President.
🌴 From solving supply chain issues to why you need a customs broker, Moretti shares what can go wrong when doing worldwide business and how to make it right.
🌴First, a quick reminder to subscribe here to receive Generation Si! directly to your inbox. Be sure to share this article (share button is at the top).
🌴 Now, let's get to know Valentina Moretti.
DOING THE SAME BUSINESS IN ONE COUNTRY CAN BE VERY DIFFERENT IN ANOTHER COUNTRY
“We thought it was going to be very simple. Very easy. You know, we’re going to do exactly what we did in Venezuela.”
Valentina Moretti, Esq., and her husband, German Parada, Esq., had owned businesses in Venezuela.
So when they moved to the U.S. in 2007, they figured, how hard could it really be to do the same here?
After all, they had lots of experience.
It turns out, they had a lot to learn.
“You’re in a different country. You have another culture. And there’s different ways of doing business. Very different from Venezuela.”
THE TIP JAR (tips provided courtesy of Valentina Moretti, Esq.)
STARTING OUT: Moretti recommends getting a lawyer and accountant when you make plans to launch your business.
She says what’s especially critical, if your native language is not English, is to find “someone who knows your language and who can communicate to you what you need to know before you open anything.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career): “Make sure you have your financials in order before you start.”
She recommends you answer the following questions:
“How long can you go without a client?”
“How long can you go with your savings?”
“Are you willing to expose your family to an economic crisis?”
STARTING OVER: “Research. Research. Research.”
“Go to your local chambers. Go to your local agencies. Small business administrations. In every state, we have one. They have plenty of resources on how to become an entrepreneur.”
She then advises you to make a business plan and ask for help in figuring out what you need in that business plan.
Then, ask yourself, “Is it realistic?”
She says, as entrepreneurs, you need to “plan, plan, plan. And then adapt. Because everything will change. Everything.”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE: “All of the successes we carry [are] because we are organized.”
Moretti says it’s all thanks to her mother who made sure Moretti became good with scheduling.
She says the other thing her parents taught her is to finish what you start.
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN: Moretti says she won’t second-guess herself again about letting go employees who don’t fit in in the business’ culture.
Especially if “they don’t see the world the way you do. And it is tricky because I do believe that… many people come with different opinions and different views. They will help you grow.”
Still, Moretti says, sometimes, they don’t really want to change for the better “and they are sabotaging from the inside. So, to those employees, or to those people, you need to just say no. Thank you. Bye-bye.”
FIND A GOOD CUSTOMS BROKER
Moretti’s business, Samandhel, is a business she co-founded with her husband that focuses global trade.
Moretti had her own law firm in Venezuela. She says knowledge is the key to working in global trade.
“You need to know all the regulations for import/export before you start doing anything.”
She says it’s also critical to find a good customs broker.
CERTAIN PRODUCTS ARE HIGHLY REGULATED
That customs broker will help you “do all the paperwork, the license, anything you need. Especially if it’s food and alcohol. And don’t do tobacco. That’s such a pain. Alcohol and tobacco [have their] own regulations. And they’re very, very strict.”
She learned how seriously the government controls this sector when a friend of a friend was starting a winery in Australia and sent her three bottles of wine.
“She just sent the wine to us without asking anything. Of course, like, a few months later, I forgot about that. We got a letter from [U.S.] Customs saying you have an illegal substance. You know, I almost died.”
Moretti and her husband explained the situation to authorities and surrendered the bottles. But it was a big lesson.
FIND A MANUFACTURING SOURCE CLOSE TO YOUR TARGET MARKET, IF POSSIBLE
With supply chain snarls creating a lot of headaches, especially for businesses doing global trade, Moretti says there’s a growing trend of bringing manufacturing, especially that was once done in Asia, closer to the U.S.
“For example, many companies are going to Mexico, to open their business in Mexico..."
She says they're doing it so they can be situated close to, or at least near, their target markets.
Moretti says she and her husband started looking at companies in Mexico and Canada for their manufacturing needs.
She explains why it’s been beneficial to many companies to operate that way.
Moretti says it’s “better for you in terms of money, in terms of delivery and communication, too. Doing business with two [or] three time zones is very difficult. So you have to wait 24 hours. You send an email, and then you wait. And, then, you get a response. And, then, you reply. 24 more [hours]. You know, it can be hard.”
CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
She says language barriers can also make things tricky.
Understanding the culture of a country can also be challenging.
For example, she says that some countries, which she won’t name, are notorious for not meeting deadlines.
“They will say yes, but they really can’t. Then, the end of the month [comes]… The product is not close to being delivered.”
Moretti says that, when you ask what happened, they’ll tell you, “We’re working on it. But they don’t want to communicate directly because they don’t want to lose business.”
To her, it boils down to cross-cultural communication. It’s something that can make or break your business.
SOMETIMES, YOUR “DREAM” CAN TAKE A DIFFERENT FORM
This November, Moretti’s business, Samandhel, will be celebrating its quinceañera (15th year), as she likes to say.
It’s been a journey.
And while Moretti didn’t become the first female president of Venezuela, as she had dreamed, Moretti still says, “I think I accomplished my dream.”
In Part Two of my profile of Valentina Moretti, you’ll learn why she thinks she definitely accomplished her dream. It’s a great lesson on networking.
INDUSTRY: Import/Export Consulting (Oil, gas & water-related services)
STARTED BUSINESS: November 2007
LATINO/HISPANIC CONNECTION: Moretti was born in Venezuela. Both parents are Venezuelan.
Universidad Central de Venezuela – Juris Doctor
Universidad Simón Bolívar – Master’s degree in Environmental and Crisis Management
DREAM JOB AS A KID: “I thought I was going to be president of Venezuela… for sure. The first woman ever.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET: “My next goal is to make sure we can penetrate the Middle East with our services. Yeah. Oh, yes. That’s my goal right now. New markets, for sure.”
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
WRITE IT WELL
We all have different gifts. Some of us find it more challenging to express ourselves with our writing. So I thought this template would be helpful if you’re having trouble writing a description of your product or service and why people need it.
Even if you already own your business and need to freshen up the description of what you offer, this might be useful. The template is even downloadable. Click on the link for more info:
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
TALK IT OUT
I believe support is a vital element you need when wanting to undertake any new goal or venture. So I wanted to share this roundtable opportunity for women where you can discuss what’s working and what isn’t for your business. Or, you can attend online to build that network of like-minded individuals who will provide encouragement to help you set goals and achieve them.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) of Palm Beach County
Friday, June 24, 2022
10:00 a.m. EDT – 11:00 a.m. EDT
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
Unfortunately, supply chain problems have been taking a prominent place in the headlines lately.
If you want to start a business that relies on global trade, it’s even more important that you know what you’re getting yourself into and anticipate issues.
That’s why I wanted to profile a Latino or Latina whose business is involved with imports and exports.
Then, I found Valentina Moretti.
Being a business owner was nothing new to her. And she’s highly educated. Still, becoming a Florida-based global service provider opened her eyes to how challenging it can be and how differently various countries operate.
Her mantra is, “Knowledge is everything.”
So it's not surprising she didn’t shy away from jumping in and educating herself some more to navigate the system here in the U.S.
And neither should you.
The advice she gives is coming from someone with a truly global perspective. That’s why I can’t wait to share with you, in Part Two, how she approaches networking.
She's done it in a way that has proven successful for her business and provides balance, enjoyment and cultural enrichment, personally.
And isn’t that what we all want – a fulfilling and balanced professional and personal life?
🌴Please share this article to spread the knowledge (share button is at the top)
🌴Sending you my best wishes for a happy day and a big thank you for your support.