During the day, David Strausser is the general manager of the Northeast region for Vision33, where he helps small and midsized businesses achieve growth through technology. At night, he hosts the Shark Bite Biz podcast, which focuses on personal, professional, and business growth during the ongoing global pandemic.
David, born in Pottsville, PA, needed to be somewhere bigger, so at 18, he followed a friend to Tijuana, Mexico—and he liked it so much that he stayed for 15 years. Today, David is back in PA, based in Philadelphia. He joined Connected Enterprise podcast host Carl Lewis to chat about cultural and business differences between the United States and Mexico.
A Digitally Transformed Tax System
Many people don’t realize how close Tijuana is to the United States. It’s right across the border from San Diego, CA, and thousands cross the border every day. David says Tijuana is one of the most interesting places he’s ever been because of its cultural mix: you get the best of Mexico in the United States and vice versa.
But despite the proximity, there are significant differences in doing business, with the most notable being the tax systems. Mexico has digitally transformed its tax system—business receipts have QR codes linked to an RFC, akin to a federal tax ID. Even in areas of extreme poverty where someone’s only source of income is a small taco stand, this process must be followed to avoid paying higher taxes and losing write-offs.
Selling at a Slower Pace
David says Americans who want to sell in Mexico should prepare for a slower pace and drawn-out sales timelines. There’s a sense of instant gratification in the United States; if we want something, we buy it relatively quickly. But in Mexico, even if someone needs something “now,” they may not purchase it for years.
David found this elongated process frustrating. Sometimes, customers would promise to call back at the end of the week but not contact him again for a month. David also noted that even if there was a verbal agreement, customers would negotiate for lower prices until signatures were on the dotted line.
The Importance of Referrals
Referrals go a long way in Mexico. The letter of recommendation David secured from the Mexican government opened doors for him. He took it to organizations when trying to establish new contracts, which is culturally acceptable in Mexico. He says that as a foreigner, that referral established trust in new business relationships.
Listen to the Podcast
For more insights from David Strausser, listen to Vision33’s Connected Enterprise podcast. In each episode, host Carl Lewis interviews bright minds and industry thought leaders about enterprise technology and what’s coming next.