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Jack Dixon
New member
Username: Dixon2864

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 12:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't need to work, but of course I'd get bored without something to casually take care of while living in BA. Considering the cheap labor, I'd have no reason to work extremely hard, but I do realize that in order to stay in business, I'd have to be there daily.

With the above said, that I don't simply plan to open the business and leave it to others to run, what's the chance of success?

I've seen ApartmentsBA tell everyone that business isn't easy (near impossible), but at the same time tell everyone how successful he is (sorry, man, it is true). I'm just wondering how any business exists if it is all so so so difficult.

A friend who lives in Costa Rica tells me that Gringo 9 out of 10 Gringo-owned businesses fail there, but he said it was because they aren't actively involved. I would be involved since I won't have anything else to do so I'm wondering what is the chances of success? ApartmentsBA makes it sound like nothing would ever be successful in BA so I'm confused.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 726
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 8:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The food business in Buenos Aires is a local staple, whether it is a coffee shop, a cheese+wine service, a pub or a restaurant. These businesses have all a good chance of succeeding as we spend great deal of time going out/hanging out. So demand is usually high. But my limited contact with owners tells me that the success stories are from those who understood how to manage costs really well.

Several decades ago, when the first fast food chains landed in Argentina, notably McDonald's, everyone thought they would fail for there were (are) so many good restaurants. But some are still in business and have become success stories. I would not know what the chances are for a Starbucks having BA a coffee place in every corner, but you never know. Although hard to believe, McDonalds was introduced in Argentina as a stylish place and for a while it was the cool place to go. I wouldn't know now, but 20 years ago helped them penetrate certain market segments.

Another thing... these type of endevours also have rapid turnovers. They may come and go quickly, even for argentine owners. In my last trip, I noticed 3 out of the 4 wine boutiques that were in the area of Santa Fe and Suipacha had closed, after being opened for 3 or 4 years. And being familiar with that area I have seen a lot of food places opening/shutting down in short cycles.
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Gustavo Flores
Junior Member
Username: Xgustax

Post Number: 42
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 10:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

ok...
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Dixon2864
New member
Username: Dixon2864

Post Number: 2
Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 1:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, I suspect that it is possible to stay in business for as long as the owner stays interested in the business. The scenario that Roberto has described is the same in Berkeley California so BA is no different. I was in Berkeley with a friend on Tuesday night - my friend lived near Berkeley for 5 years and also owned a taqueria in Berkeley at one time. She sold her business in 3 days though it took 30 days to settle with the buyer. As we are walking along the street, she began describing all of what **was** in the shops at one time or another and then she said they just keep coming and going.

Roberto, I understand it is important to keep expenses down. No matter where the business, this is imparative as well a very reasonable lease. I've known too many businesses that fold simply because they agree to a lease that just isn't possible.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 728
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 5:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

> Roberto, I understand it is important to keep expenses down.

I also meant that in a different way, like cutting corners, fooling the tax man, etc. And I am not endorsing these practices just saying that some of the very successfull owners I met seemed to have mastered such science. But I am sure there are *white* success stories as well.
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Dixon2864
New member
Username: Dixon2864

Post Number: 4
Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 5:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Got it Roberto, it usually isn't a challenge to hide $$$ from the tax man when most of the transactions are done in cash. Thanks for the clarification.

---
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luciano pereira
New member
Username: Luciano

Post Number: 1
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 4:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Maybe a good lawyer and an accountant could be more useful than go in 'that direction' I'm an argentinian lawyer and legal professor if you need somo legal advice please feel free to contact me at lpereira [at] derecho [dot] uba [dot] ar
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 169
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 9:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Jack Dixon,

I just saw your post above and your comments about me. I stand by what I wrote. Doing business here is brutal. Ask an expert like Roberto if you don't believe what I'm saying. I've done business in the USA, Europe and here and it's 10 times harder here than in a first world country.

I'm NOT saying it can't be done here. I'm only saying that most ex-pats I see that start up shop here are gone within 1-2 years. The biggest problems I see is they have no good formal business plan, they are not well funded BEFORE they come down here, they don't understand the laws, they don't have a good strong local network contact base (which is essential to making it here long-term). They don't have good legal and accounting representation,etc.

Again, I'm NOT saying it's impossible to make it here. I'm only saying that most foreigners get totally frustrated and pack up and go back home. Things here are incredibly complex, laws quickly change, the tax laws here are very difficult, the taxes are very high here when you have employees.

Yes, there are businesses and they make it here by locals. It can be done as well by foreigners but the biggest thing is the mentality of the business. Most locals have contended with this system here all their lives and they are accustomed to it. Most foreigners are not and you will drive yourself crazy comparing things to how they SHOULD work.

My advice to you is to spend some time and put together a good business plan and stick to it. Research the laws and very important to get a good lawyer and a good accountant that specialize in foreigners.

Best of luck to you.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1146
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 11:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't know how Mike did it. Could have just been personal luck. But he surrounded himself with the right people. Without *connections* you can only go so far before you get entangled in the complex web of argentine regulations. Connections is what will help you smooth out the business plan he always refers to.

Mike, meeting powerful people was probably your lucky break. But wouldn't you say that you were at the right place at the right moment and you were just helped because you were helping yourself? To your credit, you attracted that.

Plenty of people make plenty of money in Argentina every day, every month but NOT every year. Farming was out of luck for as long as I can remember, even left for dead. But there was a resurgence after the 2001/2002 crisis and the come back has been historical. As one friend put it, you only see 42" plasma TVs in the "chacras" these days. You will have to dig and hope to come across the connections that will further your goals. Although this may not apply for smaller mom-and-pop businesses.
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 170
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Roberto,

People always say I'm "lucky" but honestly I think luck had very little or nothing to do with my success here in Argentina. Again, putting together a solid business plan which included making sure that I met the 'right people' was included in my plan. That wasn't easy nor quick.

Keep in mind I came down to Buenos Aires just about every month (or more) for 2 years before I moved here. It wasn't like i just woke up one day and said, "hey, I think I'll move to Argentina and see how that goes". Far from it.

It was a tremendous sacrifice and EVERYONE at the time told me that I was making a huge mistake. EVERYONE. I quit a high paying job where I had many months of vacation a year, I sold my house and all my personal possessions and I cashed in my 401K. I hardly call that "luck". It was a huge investment of both my time and also financially.

Yes, meeting great contacts was very helpful but it wasn't lucky. I worked hard at creating those contacts. I don't discount the fact that I made the move at a good moment but it's hard to say as really I'm buying more proprety now than I ever did at the crash. In fact, I bought no properties at the crash. I waited a good 1.5 years before I bought my first property.

I don't post this to say I'm anything special. I post to help people and share my experiences. I'm NOT exaggerating when I say this is a brutal place to do business. I really mean that. Many laws don't make sense, the banking system here is completely crazy! (consider they tax you 0.6% to DEPOSIT a check OR write a check!!).

I think in life and business you create your own "luck". Argentina isn't one of those places you move to if you feel lucky. As mentioned before, you better have a solid business plan and a pretty big bankroll before you move here.

I agree with Roberto to an extent about lots of locals making plenty of money but many not on a consistent basis. I think here in Argentina you must always expect the unexpected. Still, I see real estate as the safest 'plays' (investments) in a country with no faith in the banking system.

Just make sure if you plan to do any serious business on any type of scale, you align yourself with the top lawyers, top accountants, top bankers (both private and public) and highly trustworthy people from good prominent families.

It's frustrating because many laws don't make sense and they are constantly changing. I have two full-time in-house accountants and an in house lawyer plus a big law firm on retainer as well as a big accounting firm to help navigate and make sure things are done properly.

As always, best of luck to everyone.
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 171
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 11:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh yeah...i forgot to mention..it's not "luck" either working 17 hours a day most days. In the USA I never worked more than 8 hours a day. It's ironic because part of the reason I moved here was to have a more laid back and leisurely lifestyle but I work here twice as much as I ever did in the USA.

Oh well.
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luciano pereira
New member
Username: Luciano

Post Number: 5
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Board Administrator with all respect, your remarks are wrong IMHO, if you can't understand - at least in a long term point of view - the dynamic of an economy, maybe your analysis is lacking some variables that may not be 'that' important in other places but defined your business model in argentina.

I don't want to make it personal so let's move on to the original post:

You can have success if you take the time to do 'your homework' understand demographics, economy, and above all that what make a product successful in one place don't work in other places.

Once upon a time i worked for an Argentinian company that produced high quality meat products for export. They wanted to win foregin markets in Asia, they did a big reaserach project about the right taste, aspect, the more attractive packages, the best places to show the product, etc, etc. They even use focus groups and all looks like this would be a great success.

What happened my friend?

The product get piled in supermarkets at the point to be ulmost rotten nobody understand why nobody bought the thing... the price was right... everything looks right

I told you the end of the story just because this happened a long time ago and the company know ir reoriented and successful

The mistake was the size of the package: It was presented in a beatiful package of 2 kilos! and Asian people almost every time they eat prepared a wide variaty of small dishes they just don't said come on bring me more bbq sauce and give other kilo of ribs. Another thing that fails was that people didnt' know how to cook that products that's why the most inteligent thing to do at that time was to prepare a joint venture with some restaurants and sell the same product as an exotic-exclusive meal, with a big i mean big difference in the price per unit and earns.

Don't be afraid of a new market, but do your homework

II Chapter

That was about starting something, there are one more thing:

you need good, or in case you can afford it, great people working for you, cheap labor, cheap results.

Please remember the difference between cheap and unexpensive i think that is the key,

if you need cheap labor go to China. If you need unexpensive labor go wherever your hard earn dollars give you an easy start with less capital and gives you a good return of investment

Good Luck
Dr. Luciano F. Pereira
Buenos Aires Argentina
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luciano pereira
New member
Username: Luciano

Post Number: 7
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

But you are Apartmentsba.com your own boss and do what you want in your terms. That's called passion with the lack of it you can't do business as simple as that. It happens to all bussines men/woman from an owner of a mini-mart to Donald Trump.
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 172
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 1:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Luciano,

Thanks for your post. Yes, to an extent you are right I'm my own boss. I don't answer to anyone but myself. I am VERY passionate about my work and that's why I work so hard. However, part of the reason I MUST work so many hours is dealing with alot of red tape. Many of those hours I spend is dealing with things that in any first world country I wouldn't need to deal with.

I know locals hate when I say it's complicated here but the truth is that it is. Anyone that has worked in the USA or UK and compares it to here will be ready to pull their hair out. Part of it is you must just learn to cope with it.

I agree with you that you must be very passionate about whatever you do to succeed. Whether it's a coffee store or someone like Donald Trump. I learned a long time ago that you should find a job that you actually like doing. There are lots of jobs you can make tons of money and absolutely hate it. Fortunately, I'm in one that I love in a country that I love that is now my home.
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luciano pereira
New member
Username: Luciano

Post Number: 8
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 1:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Apartmentsba.com you are right when say that things are complicated here i work for a brief period of time - 1 year - in London and some things are not the same. But are not impossible that's my job in fact.

Changing the subject i was wondering about a franchise for Costa Atlantica - my goal is to move definetly to Pinamar - and i travel almost every week there. Let me know please.
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luciano pereira
New member
Username: Luciano

Post Number: 18
Registered: 6-2007
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 12:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

For you apartmentsba.com

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Life-Lessons-Chaos-Tim eless/dp/0060182466

;)
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Eric Baeder
New member
Username: Doggieboy

Post Number: 10
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 8:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There is someone who is on the radio in the local market that frequently advises people who are thinking of starting a business to go and take a job with someone else in the industry/market that you are interested in. Not to steal business, but to use the coffee shop example: you could learn about suppliers, rents, pay scales, insurance and a host of other things. He advises working for at least 6 months as you might find out that you don't even like it. I thought that was excellent advise.
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 173
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 1:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Luciano - thanks. I'll check out that book. I'm heading to Europe next week and have a LOT of hours in the air so if I can find the book I'll check it out.

Eric - that is excellent advice that I totally agree with. Before I moved to Argentina, I leased out several apartments and learned about the laws and before buying I saw how the rental business would be and rented for a while while learning about the business. It was extremely valuable and a big part that I attibute to my success here in Argentina.

There is no recipe for "overnight success" here in Argentina. In fact, I don't think it exists here or really anywhere. One of my favorite sayings is "overnight success usually takes about 10 years". That is so true.

Like Roberto, many people mistakenly think I was "lucky" or luck paid a big part in what I built up. That is far from the truth. In most successful operations no one sees the years of due diligence, the years of research and planning, the tremendous sacrifices and investments made.

Argentina is a special place where you just have to really plan and expect the unexpected. There is some sort of crises here every 10 years but there are certain sectors that do well here historically over the long haul.

You will note that as devastating as the financial crash was, many wealthy families here just got wealthier during the crash. The poor and middle class got crushed but the upper class for the most part was more insulated (at least the ones I know).

As crazy as the country is, it's a wonderful place to live and I very much enjoy living here and I honestly don't see myself living outside of Argentina again. The city is beautiful, the people are wonderful and the quality of life here is extremely high.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1150
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 2:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

> Like Roberto, many people mistakenly think I was "lucky" or luck paid a big part in what I built up...

Mike, no, it wasn't meant like luck as if in "winning the lottery".

It was meant as a lucky break. Many work 12/15 hours a day and never have that break. But I also believe that breaks only happen if one goes above and beyond without any expectation. You deserve all your success.

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