Jim Here on this post!
Wish us well as we are in the process of opening our first business in Chile. We hope to have a family of businesses for our children to take over at the right time. A little background is needed as to how I came to this idea.
First of all when you come to Chile you quickly realize that there are may consumer items that they do not have. In some cases there may even be knock offs from recognized name brands that you all see everyday in the USA, but in Chile there are typically two things missing, Quality and Selection. In some cases Selection is not even available. When I speak with my Chileano friends they all have the same basic sentence when speaking about a service or product that is not available, "This is a problem in Chile". When every I hear this saying my antenna go up! Here are a few statistic and observations about "This is a problem in Chile".
1. Internet in Chile: In the cities or towns it is screaming good, but in the Country side or "Campo" it is miserable and the customer service and selection of plans is miserable. "This is a problem in Chile"
2. Banking: 85% is an estimate that I have heard more than one place of how many people in Chile do not have bank accounts. There here are 3-4 banks here in Chile and they do not offer banking to the common man, especially in the Campo. For a major portion of the population it is a cash basis economy. So if you do not have a bank account you can not get a loan to buy a car or house. "This is a problem in Chile"
3. Cars are Expensive and utility trailers are uncommon. There are few people who can afford a car here because Chile does not allow importation of automobiles unless they are new, and they must meet emissions standards, and annual auto taxes are high (even higher for motorcycles / mopeds). So you see a lot of busses and NO mopeds and few motorcycles, and lots of taxi cabs. This is very different than in Uruguay where you would literally see a family of 5 on a moped! I saw it, really!
"This is a problem in Chile"
4. It takes all day to buy or assemble items for a project. If you want to do some sewing of a new dress ladies or curtains. You will have to go to a fabric store (maybe 3 to get the right stuff) and then to a thread store, and so on and so on. Guys to buy some 2"x 8" treated boards for a picnic table, you will have to go to 5 stores and they will none likely (today) have treated lumber, but they have 2"x 8"s, but you will have to go to two other stores to get the 3" wood screws that you need to put it together. So you just buy the rough cut GREEN wood boards and buy a sealer for outside use and get back in the car with your lumber tied to the roof and drive the 45 min back home with something other than what you wanted to buy. "This is a problem in Chile"
Ok to the point, and LISTEN because it is a good point: When ever I hear "This is a problem in Chile" I do not see a problem I see an opportunity!
Chileans love to give up! There are no pit bulls or snapping turtles in Chile. The excuses are wide and varied and some may even be valid, but it is still an excuse. Or my favorite is "I do not know, that is just the way it is".
RETAIL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
One of the great products of U.S. ingenuity is a chemical treatment for automobile windshields called RAIN-X. As much driving as I did in the USA every year doing appraisals in all types of weather, and years of flying airplanes all over the USA I came to not only use RAIN-X but to include it on my "Must Have" list of auto care products. This product sells really well in the U.S. . Here in the south of Chile it rains+/-90 INCHES a year. This is for sure one of the best markets in the world for RAIN-X! You guessed it "This is a problem in Chile" and there is no distributor in Chile. What an opportunity for the Dorchak family to open a business.
I have a Chileano business partner now here in Chile and he is just a wonderful, honest man. He and I have a meeting this coming week in Santiago to be come the only distributor for RAIN-X and their complete product line here in Chile. Part of this is that we will have all rights to "LIDER" (a large retail chain that was just purchased by Wal Mart). Wal Mart has already contracted to have all RAIN-X products in their stores and by association all LIDERs.
Wish us good prayers, but it will take work and planning for this to go well.
LIVING IN THE 1950S IN CHILE NOW
This is just one of at least 10 opportunities that I have at hand in Chile. I have mentioned at leat 5 above that I could open. Can you find them in-between the text? The great thing is that you do not have to re invent the wheel, just do what has already proven itself in the USA and is not here. One of the biggest and successful marketing methods here is to show in the advertisement a North American and his family (obvious to me, but subliminal) using a product or service and it SELLS.
So what do you do to make a living here in Chile? What ever you want. The sky is the limit in this free market country. You just have to be willing to pick up and leave all that sensitivity training, and corporate gender neutral crap that is killing business and families and move here and do what you already know how to do! Yes it takes thought and some money. Any good idea takes must have thought and a little money. Chile is living in the 1950s. Capital is available and so is opportunity. To me it is a perfect storm.