Aaron Rodriguez explains the importance of labor digitalization for SMEs in Panama

For a long time, businessmen have wondered what would happen if a catastrophe of global magnitude were to occur, and how to improve the continuity of their business. That situation has already arrived through COVID-19. In an effort to move forward, Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in business optimization, explains how Panama’s SMEs can find a solution through labor digitization.

The current situation in which the whole world has been immersed by the pandemic has had great repercussions in many aspects. The labor sector has been one of the most affected.

Due to the situations of confinement and mobility restrictions of citizens, the digital transformation of companies has become very important, since this business digitalization covers different aspects that can respond to the problems that have arisen from these exceptional situations.

Many were probably not prepared to face this type of situation, which should make them reflect on how they should observe their environment to anticipate any positive or negative situation that may arise. “Technological advances have a high impact on organizations, regardless of the economic sector in which it is developed. This allows SMEs to respond in a timely manner according to the speed of the environment,” said Rodriguez.

The environment is constantly changing, full of uncertainties such as those we are currently experiencing. Still, it can also be conceived as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to be agile, creative, adaptable, and able to anticipate the needs of our customers and partners.

It is, therefore, necessary to rethink how things are being done and where trends are leading us. For SMEs in Panama, this means a great opportunity because they can take advantage of the size they have (micro, small and medium) as it allows them to obtain greater flexibility and thus anticipate in a timely manner what the market demands and the needs of the collaborator.

First of all, establish a work schedule. One of the main challenges of teleworking is to know when one should be connected and when not, so it is of utmost importance to set “office hours.” Setting a limit will allow you to optimally divide your time between work and personal activities.

Remember, when you are working and you receive a call from a friend or an unexpected visit from a family member, try to respectfully let them understand that you are working and that you will be available for them at another time.

Divide your week into goals. Clear goals will allow for successful results. Define with your direct leader the activities that will contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives and organize the weekly tasks based on this. In addition, it is recommended to have a premeditated time on the agenda for those day-to-day activities that were not foreseen. With a good organization, time will no longer be “a problem.”

Make an analysis of your activities. Once an employee has chosen to work from home, it is necessary to evaluate his or her work periodically (weekly or monthly, depending on the objectives). This last key is essential to detect both the shortcomings and the achievements of the activity carried out and thus be able to enhance the weaknesses that have been incurred.

Although everything will depend on the physical space that each person has at home, it is important that the tasks are not done from the bed or in the kitchen, but try to find a space of your own, free of distractions and as comfortable as possible,” suggests Rodriguez. “If you don’t have an “extra room” try to organize your work tasks at times when there are few people in the home and therefore fewer distractions.”

And finally, learn to set boundaries. Don’t be annoyed when people around you think that, because you work at home, it means that you will always be available. Explain to friends, family, and other acquaintances that the days you telecommute are not opportunities for non-work-related activities. Show the same consideration for your telecommuting time as you would if you were in the office.

“This reality means that digitalization, especially in a globalized healthcare crisis, has ceased to be an option or a fad and has become a necessity that, for many small and medium-sized companies, is a challenge. However, it is necessary to change the mentality and see a digital transformation not as an expense, but as an investment, which in addition to generating profitability, can be essential in the survival of a company in crisis situations like the current one,” concludes Rodriguez.

Aaron Rodriguez explains bottlenecks that can hinder process improvement

The first step in streamlining work processes is to identify what slows them down. Many process improvement methodologies exist to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your processes. Here, Aaron Rodriguez, a business optimization specialist, provides a quick overview of each of the process improvement techniques.

Lean tools are used to eliminate wasteful process steps or activities that provide no value. The eight types of waste that you can eliminate with Lean tools are defects, overproduction, unused talent, waiting, transportation, inventory, motion, and additional processing.

“An organized office environment is essential for process efficiency, “Rodriguez explains. “With the 5S methodology, you can create a clean, safe and productive environment for your team.”

This method is generally used in all types of industries, from manufacturing to small businesses. It is useful for reducing costs, promoting safety, increasing process/equipment efficiencies, and eliminating waste from manufacturing processes.

A value stream map is a graphical representation of the flow of materials and information needed to get your product or service to your customer. It is generally used in the manufacturing industry. It is useful for identifying waste within and between processes, understanding decision-making and process flows, identifying and prioritizing areas for improvement, and setting quantifiable targets for improvement tasks. The mapping process can take up to three days to complete, but with the right equipment, it can be done faster.

Kaizen is a technique that calls for constant improvement in all functions of your company. It can be applied using the PDCA cycle. It is generally used in management departments, but also by quality control circles, waste analyzers, and ordinary workers.

It is useful for improving processes, product/service quality, and customer satisfaction, improving team productivity and job satisfaction and promoting greater safety and faster delivery. It is a continuous process and requires the active contribution of the entire company.

“Six Sigma is simply a smarter way to run a company. The expert points out. “It’s about collecting data on processes to understand what is happening. This data is analyzed and interpreted to find effective ways to improve the process. In this way, you will achieve increased customer satisfaction, reduced cycle times, and reduced defects.”

There are some widely used Six Sigma tools to improve processes in companies. A clear example is DMAIC, a five-step method (a direct descendant of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle) that is used to improve current processes.

If your products/services or business processes are not meeting customer expectations or performing well, DMAIC can help you discover why and find long-term solutions to the problem. It is generally used in all types of industries, especially teams working on projects.

This method is useful for improving processes or products, finding solutions to problems within processes, and reducing cost and time overruns.

“DMADV, also known as Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), is used to create new processes at the Six Sigma quality level,” Rodriguez says. “If your current processes are not meeting the required quality levels even after they have been optimized, it’s time to do a DMADV to bring about evolutionary change. Or, in other words, create a new and better process. It is generally used in all types of industries, especially manufacturing.”

This tool is essential to develop a new process/product, reduce errors in a product line and improve customer satisfaction.

Rodriguez has covered a number of business process improvement methodologies you can use to streamline your workflow and increase your team’s productivity. Use them properly and you will see how your goals can be achieved more effectively.

Aaron Rodriguez explains how to turn business failures into successes

It is no secret that failure is a very common occurrence in the world of entrepreneurship. No one is born with the knowledge to never fail along the way, as everything is learned through the process. Aaron Rodriguez, a specialist in the business sector, explains how entrepreneurs can use failures to their advantage.

There are very few cases of successful entrepreneurs who achieved success with the first business they started. If you have already failed with an entrepreneurial venture, you have something in common with Walt Disney, Henry Ford, or Steve Jobs. All of them were great businessmen who, in the beginning, went through several failures when they started their lives as entrepreneurs. The key to their success is that they did not give up.

For serial entrepreneurs, those who try over and over again until they succeed, “experience” is another word they use instead of “failure.” By labeling a failed effort as an opportunity to learn, you are putting it in a positive light that will allow you to approach it with optimism.

Try to always use failure as a steppingstone. After each failure, review where you failed, and what you did wrong, and internalize it so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. It is not common for a successful entrepreneur to get it right the first time. In fact, it is quite the opposite; the bigger they are, the more they have failed.

Rodriguez states, “Most entrepreneurs like to start their venture alone. But if you make a mistake by yourself, it will also be harder to make good self-criticism. Having a partner, you respect and trust can turn every failure into an opportunity to collaborate. A good partner can help you determine what not to do next time.”

Never seek to hide from what is going wrong. First, be proud that you were brave enough to take the risk. By being open about your mistakes, you open yourself up to more entrepreneurs to share their knowledge with you and give you guidance to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

“Change the focus and the reason you started the business,” Rodriguez suggests. “Evaluate your motivations, because many times, emotions prevail over logic. You must be clear about what you want because if you are clear about what you want, and how much you want it, the path you open from that moment on will be crucial to reach your goal.”

Separate business failure from your identity. The fact that you haven’t found the path to having a successful business doesn’t make you a failed person. These are two completely different things, but many people conflate these thoughts, which hurts an entrepreneur’s confidence and self-esteem.

Every failure teaches valuable lessons. Try to understand the reasons that prevented you from succeeding, but do it in an analytical way, leaving aside feelings like anger and frustration.

Digging into the causes of failure will not change what happened. On the contrary, it will only leave you trapped in an emotional state that will prevent you from moving forward. You can’t change the past, but you can improve the future. The faster you take a step forward, the faster you will leave failure behind.

“Part of our fear of business failure is rooted in our fear of being judged and losing the respect and esteem of others,” Rodriguez says. “Remember, what someone believes to be true about us is not always so. Paying attention to the opinion of others can dampen your passion and confidence in entrepreneurship, which will undermine your faith in the next business venture.”

Formal education (personal and professional) often leads to an unhealthy attitude toward business failure. One of the best ways to deal with failure is to change the way you perceive a negative view – “if I failed, it means I am incapable” – to a more positive one – “if I failed, it means I am closer to success.”

If you have failed, study the reasons and change your relationship with failure, now is the time to gain momentum and start again. And, if necessary, again and again, until success is achieved.

Aaron Rodriguez provides tips for expanding a business into the Latin American market

Latin America is a challenge that most industries want to take on, thanks to the investment opportunities, the continuous development of its countries, and their geographical position, which allows easy accessibility and the desire of its people to consume new products and improve their quality of life. Aaron Rodriguez, a business and strategy expert, provides recommendations that allow companies to expand in Latin America in a conscious, scalable way and with ideal conditions in economic and social factors.

According to the expert, understanding the environment is the first step to follow. Nothing can be taken lightly. It is important for any organization that intends to enter the Latin American market to understand the idiosyncrasies and the way consumers think in this part of the world since this is a region, not a generality.

“Operating in Latin America requires knowing that not all countries have the same behaviors and consumer habits,” Rodriguez suggests. “Also, make sure to generate differential, innovative and impactful marketing strategies. All brands should take a prudent amount of time to do thorough market research in order to fine-tune operational, logistical, legal, and Latin culture-thinking details.”

Language is also a factor that must be considered. Not everyone speaks the same language. So, think about another item to consider in your plan to expand your business in Latin America: communication diversity.

This is a challenge to face, as culturally, the meanings of some words, concepts, or ideas change throughout the continent. Your ability to communicate counts since, in the American continent, language has substantial variations that can bring you closer to a target audience. Customers tend to be more perceptive with those companies that generate closeness, so you should always take care of what you say and how you say it.

Trust and good relations as a premise. You will surely know the goodness and charisma of the Latin American personality. Building bridges of good communication and honest and respectful business practices will make it easier for you to open doors with employers, suppliers, staff, and customers.

“One of the most important values for the Latino population is trust,” Rodriguez explains. “If you are thinking of expanding your company throughout the continent, you should dedicate part of your time to making friends, strengthening commercial ties, and getting to know your collaborators in-depth; they will appreciate that your treatment is close and friendly.”

A local partner could also be very useful. It is clear that we cannot know it all. Therefore, it is vital that you have the support of a partner who knows the local context of the business culture.

The Latin American market has certain complexities in that all nations are very different, and a single marketing plan designed for each country is not a recommendable solution. For this reason, having a partner who knows the customs of each country is almost an obligation. You should also understand that legal, operational, and tax requirements change, so a local partner will give you the confidence that you are doing business the right way.

While entering or expanding into the Latin market is a masterstroke for any brand, you must also deal with certain not-so-pleasant aspects that, at a given moment, generate anxiety. A good recommendation is to have contingency plans in place in case you have to wait too long for procedures such as licenses, bank accounts, or administrative processes.

Expert advice is essential to know the times and resources to be used for each procedure to be carried out. Do not rule out the possibility of locating contacts in the agencies where you must go to perform these tasks.

An additional tip is to avoid, as far as possible, carrying out these processes with independent processors, since you run the risk of being swindled, losing your money, and possibly having legal problems.

Remember that conquering Latin America is a business opportunity that cannot be missed. The region’s market is already a world power, thanks to its constant growth, the interest of several companies to invest, work capacity, and new training opportunities. Do not be left behind and activate the marketing plan that will take you to conquer Latin America.

Aaron Rodriguez explains how to anticipate market trends by analyzing the consumer in social media

According to different data from annual studies of social networks, more than 85% of Internet users between 16 and 65 years old use social networks (around 20 million people). Taking this into account, it is more than evident that the internet and, in particular, social media provides companies with information that was not accessible before. This information can be based on marketing trends, which according to strategy optimization specialist Aaron Rodriguez, can be essential to anticipate what consumers are really looking for.

Understanding this is very simple. Currently, many of the conversations of Internet users are recorded on the web in different channels (much of this information is publicly available). With the help of monitoring tools, it is possible to access this and track key data.

Social listening allows you to have a real-time view of consumer behavior, make market analyses, detect consumer trends, and all this without having to invest huge resources of time, effort, or investment. Through a tool like this, you can monitor trends in search of features that can help different departments and stakeholders to predict what customers want and develop new products.

“This trend analysis can help sales and marketing departments to predict sales, adjust budgets and optimize advertising strategies and marketing plans,” says Rodriguez.

Monitoring Google searches allows you to know who your customers are and what they are most interested in from a brand’s universe. A recent study by Rodriguez examined the predictive power of searched keywords, giving insight into how marketers can better measure, analyze and apply Big Data to their efforts.

Rodriguez explains, “For example, an automotive company in the United States analyzed online search trends in order to compare the volume of searches related to a car’s features in relation to a car’s brand. The results concluded that feature searches were notably more accurate in forecasting sales.”

On many occasions, there have been talks about tracking consumer conversations on the internet. As you may realize, these conversations yield information not only about the brand but also about consumer habits.

If you want this data to help you detect trends, the idea is to collect as much information as possible about consumers, to get a broad picture of your audience, their behavior, preferences, tastes, feelings. This analysis can be done based on the different touchpoints of the customer journey.

When a key concept has a high number of mentions, it can be an indicator. Demographic profile and geolocation: by gender, age, geolocation, interests. The volume of mentions: analysis of mentions trends compare by period, same period last year, etc.

There is also sentiment which can become an indicator of the sentiment generated or the way in which consumers express themselves on a concept/topic. Influencers help you to detect the people who are generating the most buzz around a concept or topic, as well as their network of influence.

“When we talk about analyzing the competition, we refer specifically to looking at the reaction of your audience to various actions, for example how users of the competition receive a new product, or how they refer to the features of their products, everything will depend in part on the parameters you want to measure,” asserts Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has given two best practices that should be followed. The first is to choose similar campaigns or precedent actions that competitors have previously implemented to compare the same KPIs, to detect commonalities.

Second, you should detect the products that are top of mind for your consumers and those that have the highest visibility at the point of sale. Identify the channels with the greatest impact, as well as the terms that generate the highest volume of mentions.

Indicators on the visibility of your campaigns such as reach, share of voice, generated engagement, channels, influencers, and media network involved, generated hashtags, as well as the content created by your audience or UGC, are revealing insights into consumer habits.

“Social listening tools allow you to perform a competitive analysis of the sector,” Rodriguez suggests. “Ranking lists make it easy to detect common themes for all competitors in a market.”

In conclusion, let’s assume that major brands in the beverage industry want to know what consumers are saying about sugar-laden beverages. Ranking tags allow you to group all the conversations that refer to a particular topic and in this way, it is not only possible to see the volume of mentions generated, and therefore its relevance, but also whether it is associated with a particular brand.

Aaron Rodriguez explains the challenges Mexican businesses currently face

The last few years have been critical for trade globally, with the pandemic caused by COVID-19 being one of the main players in the changes. Aaron Rodriguez, a specialist with years of experience in global trade, explains the challenges facing trade in Mexico caused by the current crisis that has not yet completely disappeared.

“We must understand that countries like Mexico will have the challenge of rethinking their commercial and logistical processes in the face of this international panorama of uncertainty caused by the pandemic before COVID-19,” mentions Rodriguez.

According to Rodriguez and his specific analysis in the North American country, the arrival of COVID-19 unleashed a worrying context for world trade that has been weakening it greatly during the last few years. “Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the measures that the current governments have had to take, serious consequences were provoked in the main world economies,” asserts Rodriguez.

He also mentioned that this pandemic caused countries to begin to realize the fragility of global chains. In the specific case of Mexico, it made it rethink its dependence on major world powers such as the US.

Mexico has a large window of opportunity because regional chains are the main basis for accessing international markets. For the expert, Mexico has an important competitive advantage in being connected to US economies and will recover faster than Latin America and Europe.

“Mexico has agreements with many countries to generate free trade agreements which allow its economy to flow and compared to other countries such as China it is not going to slow down,” shares Rodriguez.

It is worth mentioning that the recovery of the current economy has been asymmetric, with recovery in Asia happening faster and in LATAM, but in this region, there is a lot of informal work, and “it is suffering” as many of those workers are in services, a sector that is worse off than the others.

The current economy is asymmetric, which means that the price mechanism fails to determine the proper allocation of capital. In financial markets, for example, adequate collateral, risk, and reputation (ability to pay) are more important than the interest rate.

There is an asymmetric downturn. The decline in Asia was less than in the United States, Europe, and Latin America and now, looking towards this year, some countries will continue to have problems.

The unemployment rate in Brazil rose to 13.3% in the April-June quarter two years ago. This represents a loss of 8.9 million jobs in the period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current situation may have improved, but negative numbers remain.

Some countries, such as Brazil, put in place government assistance to eradicate the poverty caused by the pandemic and Mexico has not generated that. Mexico’s situation is not bad compared to other countries but not as good as in Asia.

Rodriguez also considers that what we are currently experiencing is an acceleration to migrate to the digital part “it was already happening, but it was slow, at least, not so fast,” many companies were not prepared for this world that accelerated digitization as SMEs.

Also, it was noted that people’s behavior tends to opt more and more for digital purchases. People “trust” because they see that it is “easy” and possibly will prevail by finding speed and offers with respect to face-to-face purchases.

Regarding regional chains due to the global pandemic, Rodriguez mentioned that they are being strengthened throughout the Latin American region; this will be a pillar of regional integration for Mexico. Regional value chains are a productive chaining process involving two or more countries with productive affinity, territorial proximity, and commercial complementarity.

The problems generated by COVID mean that international transportation does not favor regional trade.” It was detected that transportation does not favor, so it can be determined that for regional integration to continue advancing, infrastructure and logistics must be part of the packages of measures for Mexico’s economic recovery,” Rodriguez points out.

Consequently, the generalized border closures due to the pandemic have led to a significant increase in production in the most representative sectors for Mexico, such as manufacturing.

Likewise, together with the tensions in trade relations between the US and China, these may be factors that could lead Mexico to position itself as the world’s leading manufacturer.

Mexico is facing a very challenging situation that is unknown for how long it will continue like this. Still, above all, it is a situation in which the country has to identify its areas of expertise and exploit them to the maximum. Finally, Rodriguez commented that in the face of an uncertain and more regionalized world economy, it is unavoidable for Mexico to deepen regional integration.

Aaron Rodriguez discusses how to improve the brand experience through the customer journey

Managing the brand experience is one of the most important branding tools to increase the competitiveness of a business. To improve this experience, one of the most powerful tools is the customer journey map. Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in business optimization, explains what this process is all about and how it improves the brand experience.

“The customer journey is a Design Thinking tool that makes it easy to reflect on a map each of the stages, interactions channels and all the elements that a customer goes through in their relationship with a brand,” Rodriguez explains. “It is, therefore, a key tool for understanding and improving the user experience.”

More and more companies are aware of the benefits of the customer journey in their business strategy. It is a methodology with a growing acceptance by all types of companies and institutions and is used in many business schools and in all types of professional services.

Generating a brand experience is essential to be able to compete in complex and variable markets. Based on this premise, it is also necessary to know the great benefits of the customer journey in your business strategy.

The concept of the customer journey is a design thinking term that describes the cycles of a customer’s interaction on some service, product, or brand. It can be described as the customer’s journey through their brand experience.

Design thinking makes it easy to understand all these interactions in a unified, visual, and operational diagram. The customer journey map is a very efficient design thinking methodology for the process of creation, analysis, improvement, and training.

With its different versions, such a tool helps to get as close as possible to the customer and to analyze how they think and what they want. In essence, understanding real needs and seeking to meet customer expectations is the best way to improve the customer experience.

This map measures and describes how they interact with the services or products they consume, how they discover them, how they use them, and how or how often they recommend them. It details each touchpoint and places them in the phase of that journey, whether it is discovery, consideration, decision, use, or display.

“Brand experience uses this type of work methods intensively because it is crucial to design products and services correctly so that they understand exactly the needs and feelings of the users,” Rodriguez details.

The key is to find empathy with customers, to understand how they feel throughout the buying process: welcomed, lost, frustrated, impatient, disoriented. It is important to use these research techniques that help to be in contact with users.

The customer journey approach is different when we think of user experience (UX) than when we think of branding. The customer journey, according to UX, has to do when the user is interacting with a brand platform. On the other hand, the customer journey from a branding perspective does not require this contact and refers to situations broader than a relational or transactional context.

In short, there is no UX apart from use or consumption, but there is branding apart from that. And that is precisely the strength that brand experience can bring to the user experience: it extends to many more contexts.

The customer journey should be used as a tool to design all the states that the user goes through and thus seek to improve their experience. Knowing the best customer experience means understanding the feelings that customers create with the brand and the product. Improving the brand experience means detecting areas for improvement and managing new opportunities to be relevant.

“A good user journey will allow us to observe the steps to be taken in the development of any service or product,” Rodriguez points out. “By carrying out this outline, we will be able to determine the satisfaction of the real needs of customers and align the brand experience we want to create.”

Behind this work, we find the market positioning, the corporate culture, the story we want to deploy, and the meanings with which we want to associate our brand because experience and meanings go hand in hand.

When a user experiences a link with the brand, it will remain engraved in him, and this sensation or experience can exist outside of purchase or use. This is what we call a brand experience.

For this reason, organizations must deploy their brand management in a large number of situations and opportunities. Customer perception is born from the sum of every action or experience (positive or negative), especially at the points of friction between what the brand says and what the brand delivers.

Aaron Rodriguez explains how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may impact Latin American trade

The beginning of the year has been marked in the international arena by the risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is added to other global problems that have been present since before, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in international trade, explains what impacts the Latin Americans would have with the arrival of this unfortunate event on the world side.

This potential confrontation seems distant for Latin America. However, it is not, because, in reality, NATO’s eventual backing of Ukraine and the probable sanctions would generate impacts on global financial markets with severe implications for the fragile recovery of post-pandemic world activity. Diplomacy is working to prevent this from happening, but the situation is still highly uncertain.

“The eventual invasion would initially generate an increase in market volatility and a greater demand for safe assets, where typically dollar-denominated assets and precious metals such as gold tend to benefit, acting as a refuge for investors fleeing from stock markets and, in general, from riskier assets,” Rodriguez explains. “In the latter group are the currencies, stock markets, and bonds of economists with relatively weaker fundamentals.”

In other words, in such a scenario, we would see stock market crashes, currency depreciation, restrictions on access to credit, and higher risk premiums in the region, which would make the cost of financing even more expensive for governments, companies, and individuals. This scenario would be particularly complex for the most indebted countries.

But it is not only the financial markets that would be negatively affected but also global growth. This is because an invasion scenario would divert all attention and resources to the conflict, slowing global demand, and trade.

Certainly, the intensity and involvement of more or fewer nations in a potential conflict would mark the intensity of the effect it would have on economic growth. This would certainly be negative for Latin America because the region would see reduced external momentum in circumstances where many countries have not yet recovered the level of production they would have had without the pandemic.

For its part, the conflict occurs in circumstances in which the world is facing an escalation of inflation. In this regard, Russia’s role in global energy markets will put even more upward pressure on oil and natural gas prices, which will increase upward price pressures on these essential goods for activities such as transportation, industry and electricity generation, among others.

Rodriguez points out that “Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and has the largest natural gas reserves globally. Hence its strategic importance, especially for Europe, due to that continent’s high dependence on its gas supply, which is accentuated in the northern winter months. However, Latin America is also suffering the effects of fuel price hikes, with increases in local gasoline and gas prices.”

In addition, Russia is the world’s leading wheat exporter and Ukraine is also one of the world’s leading wheat producers. Beyond Argentina, which is also one of the main global grain producers, the countries in the region are net importers. Consequently, a conflict between these countries would also raise food prices further.

All in all, depending on the magnitude and duration of a potential conflict, the negative effect on global activity would eventually dominate and the episode would have recessionary and disinflationary effects in the medium term.

In the political sphere, Russia maintains a particular closeness with China, which for the time being has kept out of this conflict, but which could be reactivated in a scenario in which other world powers intervene in the conflict. In turn, Russia maintains ties with some countries in the region, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Argentina.

Based on that, Rodriguez explains that “an escalation of the conflict would also generate an increase in political divisions in Latin America that would do nothing to foster collaboration between countries in the region, as well as the exchange of goods, services, and knowledge.”

Some Latin American countries that export oil, gas, or grains, such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina, could experience some short-term positive effects on the value of their exports. But the truth is that a conflict such as the one that could be generated in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine does not benefit the region at all. On the contrary, with such a conflict and its potential financial, economic, and political effects, we all lose.

Aaron Rodriguez discusses the challenges that impede the growth of a company

It is well known that dealing with the challenges that impede the growth of a company is not an easy task, but for that reason, it should not be a task to postpone. Many studies indicate that the mortality rate of SMEs is really high in most countries. Because of this, Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in business optimization, discusses in detail what are these challenges that prevent the growth of a company so that entrepreneurs can take appropriate actions and thus cope in a better way.

Statistically, it has been reported that on average, 80% of SMEs fail before they reach five years of age, and 90% do not reach ten years of age, which is disturbing data and can even be a source of fear for those who want to start their own business.

Leading an organization towards business growth is not easy, so Rodriguez has taken on the task of compiling, based on his experience with different clients and companies, what are the problems and challenges faced by a company to grow and be profitable.

The first business challenge has to do with a lack of planning. Many companies work on the fly without a well-defined plan, the lack of which makes it difficult to achieve growth objectives. Therefore, the company leader must give importance to the strategic planning process. This is the job of the company’s managers, who must define the company’s mission, vision, organizational culture, action plans, business objectives, business strategy, and budget.

“The consequences of not planning in companies are reflected in low productivity, low profitability, economic losses, lack of focus, etc.,” Rodriguez explains. “When you plan, you put your company in a position of power and leadership; not doing so, puts you on the opposite side of the scale.”

Other challenges that impede business growth have to do with underestimating the importance of having a good marketing plan. And when Rodriguez talks about “a good plan,” he means one that is primarily focused on customers and business objectives. The marketing department plays a very important role in the business strategy since they are responsible for executing processes and actions that result in generating leads for the sales team.

Rodriguez says, “The marketing plan is essential for those companies that want to monetize the sale of their products or services and gives us a concrete vision of what we really want to do, how we want to do it, and in what time frame we want to do it.”

Designing a marketing plan will make a difference, it not only helps you to know what is going on with the strategy, but it will also give you a clear direction of where you intend to go with your business.

As a consequence of not having a sales plan, the company cannot generate the income it really needs to finance the operation and strategies of the business. The lack of financial resources hinders the company’s ability to invest in its growth.

So, if you want to grow, you need to increase revenues, and this implies investing more, forcing companies to go into debt with banks. Therefore, when allocating resources, we should prioritize the goals and strategies needed to grow the company, instead of sticking to a budget that only limits the company’s growth.

Another challenge that hinders business growth has to do with defining strategies to attract, sell and retain customers and, at the same time, be profitable. This is the basis of the cycle for a company to maintain constant growth.

In many of the companies Rodriguez has encountered, it is all too common for the sales team to still be using old-guard strategies to acquire customers. These strategies include cold calling, visiting companies, sending out mailings with portfolios, handing out business cards, and so on. As a result, the sales goal is not met, the sales team feels frustrated, there is work stress, high salesperson turnover, annoyed prospects, low sales productivity.

As with the marketing plan, many companies do not have a sales plan with well-defined goals and objectives. “Dedicating time to the sales plan will allow the company to grow in a sustainable and safe way. With sales planning, we will be able to support the company’s growth in relation to revenues, know our customers’ needs, establish realistic objectives for the sales team and plan logistics,” Rodriguez assures.

Nowadays, technology plays a leading role in the processes that drive the development and growth of companies; marketing, sales, customer service, operations, etc. These are some of the most important and key processes for a company to enter the digital era.

Resisting change and not entering the digital era will only bring more challenges and difficulties for the company. In the not too distant future, it will be part of the list of companies that have disappeared for not adapting to the Internet era.

Aaron Rodriguez explains fundamental metrics to gauge the success of business practices

Project management metrics are very necessary and essential to implement practical and sustainable project management practices and processes in an organization. These metrics allow us to improve our understanding by simply removing uncertainty so that we can make a well-informed decision. Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in business optimization, has taken on the task of covering the metrics needed to gauge the success of practices performed in different companies.

Project management metrics are key to improving the way projects are managed and even delivered. The metrics help estimate cost and completion schedule along with greater accuracy over time.

There are several advantages that can be derived from them. “Project management metrics help us to measure or calculate and understand the maturity of the organization. They help manage projects and resources more effectively.

They are also essential for demonstrating year-over-year improvements in project management maturity. Over time, they provide information on how the process and product are gradually developing,” Rodriguez asserts.

Each and every company or organization needs unique metrics that can align and add value with its goal or objective. There are several steps necessary to be able to choose these metrics properly and Rodriguez has taken care to explain what they are.

“First, it is essential to know and understand the main purpose or objective or goal of the work project,” Rodriguez suggests. “Second, to determine and identify the critical factors that must be met in order to succeed and achieve the goal. And lastly, to take the critical factors for the program project and determine how to measure its completion.”

Today, there are several metrics available that help in modern process management. There are a few core metrics available that are essential and vital to all software projects. These metrics fall into two categories: management metrics and quality metrics.

All these metrics generally have two dimensions: static value that is used as a target and dynamic trend that is used to manage the main achievement of that particular target. These metrics are simply based on common sense and field experience with successful and unsuccessful metrics programs. Metrics that are generally cost-related demonstrate the value of the team.

The management indicators are divided into three subcategories. First are those of work and progress. This refers to the work being done over a given period of time. Your planning over the iteration means determining and discussing the planning of the next cycle, phase, or iteration.

Then there are those of budgeted cost and expense. These refer to the cost incurred over a given period of time. Your financial knowledge means understanding the implications with respect to the financial decisions being made today.

And finally, there are the dynamics of the staffing team: staffing changes occur during a given period of time. Your resource plan means allocating and utilizing resources simply to achieve the greatest efficiency from these resources.

“On the other hand, quality indicators are key performance indicators (KPIs) that are very critical during project delivery, Rodriguez explains. “These indicators must be carefully monitored to confirm and ensure that the team is working or performing on the right tasks.”

The change in traffic and stability over a given period of time is the first item in its subcategory. Their planning on iteration means determining and discussing the planning of the next cycle, phase, or iteration. They also indicate convergence schedule, which means to indicate convergence points in the schedule where two or more activities come together and explain the dependencies of the successor activity.

In addition, it also accounts for the interim between failure and maturity. This refers to the rate of defective furnaces given the period of time. Its purpose is to indicate the quality of the software the test coverage simply to measure and calculate the number of tests performed by a test suite.