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Know what you’re getting into, set realistic expectations, and learn from others before you take the plunge. Use our checklist as a guide.

Checklist: Doing Business in Mexico

  • 8/29/2013

Define success

  • Know what you want to get out of an expansion (i.e., new markets, lower production costs).
  • Clearly define success for the company and its stakeholders.
  • Align stakeholders on the potential risks and rewards of expansion, and ensure they can and will provide the required support.
  • Understand stakeholder expectations, know what they will want to do if targets are not met.

Consider funding

  • Determine cash needs for start-up, inventory build-up, collections from customers, and operating expenses.
  • Determine the timing of cash needs — all at once or several tranches over time.
  • Identify funding sources (i.e., cash reserves, commercial lenders, outside investors, shareholder investment).
  • Find out if there are minimum capitalization requirements and other local business start-up issues.

Look at people and resources

  • Analyze current employees and resources to determine if you have the depth to commit to an expansion.
  • Be realistic about the commitment of time.
  • Hire the people and acquire the resources you need.
  • Consider what you need from suppliers and clarify how they will support your remote operation.

Assign leadership

  • Decide who will call the shots in the day-to-day operation in Mexico.
  • Determine if leadership is available within the company.
  • Check out local leadership resources.
  • Seek advice on important cultural differences and business customs.

Don’t forget taxes

  • Develop strategies for repatriating earnings out of Mexico.
  • Understand the U.S. and Mexican tax implications of your decisions.

Measure performance

  • Set revenue and cost targets for six months, one year, two years, and five years.
  • Have a backup plan if revenue falls short and/or costs are higher than expected.
  • Determine who will measure results and how it will be done.
  • Develop processes and controls to ensure accuracy and completeness of information.
  • Determine your level of involvement with the local management team.
  • Define how you are going to provide oversight to any remote operation, and what outside assistance might be helpful.

Read "Doing Business in Mexico: What To Do Before Crossing the Border" to learn more.