The Rain in Spain . . .
Some of Manny Manapat's workers speak poor or heavily accented English, which alienates some customers. But Manapat doesn't want to take sales opportunities away from those workers, who are among his hardest-working (Voicing Doubts, September, [Article link]).
If most of your customers speak English, your employees should, too. Classes in English as a second language (ESL) abound in California. You could pay all or part of your workers' tuition. You might even hold classes on company premises. For employees who understand English but have problems with diction, bring in a dialect coach. You can find one through your ESL instructor or through local professional or university theaters.
San Francisco* * *
This organization can help you: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, 1118 22nd St. NW, Washington, DC 20037; 202-872-1271.
Gwendolyn B. Ford
Management Services Int'l.
Augusta, Ga.* * *
Once you've decided how to address this problem, send a letter to customers acknowledging the problem and informing them of your plans. Mention that your minority employees work hard to give your customers the service they deserve, and that's why they're doing something to improve their communication skills.
Tucson* * *
Carey Berg wants to market remanufactured classic cars in Western Europe, Asia, and South America. He's looking for advice that the Commerce Department and world trade centers can't give him (Stuck in Traffic, September, [Article link]).
You should contact the American Graduate School of International Management (commonly known as Thunderbird), in Glendale, Ariz., at 602-978-7011 or by fax at 602-439-5432. Its alumni work all over the world, and the students -- 30% are foreign -- often help companies plan overseas marketing.
Frost International (USA)
Forest Grove, Ore.* * *
Blood from a Stone
Her home-furnishings store has an excellent credit record, a good banking history, and a profitable first year, but suppliers still refuse to give Theresa Mink credit lines (Where Credit's Due, September, [Article link]).
If you have personal equity, consider signing personal guaranties. Take your financial statement to a supplier, set up a small credit line, and agree to pay the balance cash on delivery; you can build a relationship from there. If your customer is financially viable, ask your supplier about a joint-check agreement. Call your supplier's credit manager, and try to work out an equitable plan. And keep looking for a bank that will work with you and help you grow.
Dee Christiansen, CCE
Renton, Wash.* * *
Most domestic manufacturers offer 30 days net. They may, however, prefer to ship a small opening order COD to establish a relationship. If your credit is good, you should have no problems. In most cases, it's simply a matter of asking -- and having a verifiable credit application ready.
Albuquerque* * *
Jeff Weinstein asked Network readers to suggest a book on writing a business plan (A Man Without a Plan, September, [Article link]).
In 1985, one year after I initiated the plan outlined in Marketing Problem Solver, by Cochrane Chase and Kenneth L. Barasch (Chilton Book, Radnor, Pa.), my sales increased from $2 million to more than $3 million. Since then we have started a new division using the same plan.
Clearfield, Utah* * *
In August Deborah Grove, who's thinking of joining a multilevel-marketing company, asked whether such companies stop earning profits at some stage (Secrets of the Pyramids, [Article link]).
Multilevel Marketing Network Simulator, a program for IBM PCs and compatibles, demonstrates MLM development and operation. It is available from shareware distributors, or you can order a registered copy from LRV, P.O. Box 631, Nesconset, NY 11767.
Thomas P. Nevius