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Cinema Paraiso is closed

by hromero ⌂ @, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 13:36 (18 days ago) @ ZihuaRob
edited by hromero, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 15:04

At the risk of aggravating Zihuarob and others on this board, I would like to provide a different perspective that might be helpful to other small business owners who read this and may be struggling to compete against larger corporations. I use my own experience in business in the U.S. and my current experience as a small business owner here in Zihuatanejo. I attended movies three different times at El Paraiso and found them lacking in each one of these areas.

1.Customer Service

a. For a small business competing against a larger competitor this is the most important. Large corporations have to train large numbers of employees in a systematic way. A small business can more easily connect with their customers and provide a level of service that sets them apart from their corporate competitors. Providing personalized service and making customers feel like they are special can go a long ways towards differentiating a business. Customers will often pay extra to experience this level of service. I never felt that at Paraiso. I often remember having to stand in long lines with no sense of urgency from employees. Employees were very transactional and I never once felt like my business was valuable to them. Absolutely no effort was made to regulate talking, cell phone use or other disruptive behavior during the movie. This level of customer service made seeing a movie at Paraiso an unpleasant one in my experience.

2.Exploit a niche

a. Big corporations specialize in appealing to as many people as possible as often as possible. This often leaves an opening for local interests that are hard for large corporations to meet. In the age of the internet it is easier than ever to find people who have interests and wants for things that large corporations can’t be bothered with. There are large number of independent films out in the world that the Cinemexes of the world will probably never show. Many of them are from Spanish speaking countries. Paraiso instead continued to market in the same box office films that people could go see in a better facility, with better technology and more options. There are independent films that I can’t see here in Zihuatanejo that I have to wait until they come out on the internet some place (I make a point of only seeing films and entertainment legally). Why not show films like that and entice people to come see something different?

3.Connect with your customers

a. In the age of social media there are more inexpensive ways to interact with your customers in a way that big corporations can’t. Talk with your customers via social media. Tell them things about your local area that they won’t hear from the big corporations. Run promotions that tie into local events and places. Show up at local events or other places where your customers are at. As far as I can tell Paraiso had no presence in the community other than being located downtown. I never saw them participate in local parades or events that I went to. Their social media presence was virtually non-existent.

4.Have the best employees

a.This has some overlap with customer service but has some distinct characteristics. Good employees will bring enthusiasm and a level of service that is hard to quantify on a job application. Corporations have to implement rules and criteria for hiring employees that are necessitated by their wide and disparate locations. A small business can have more flexibility in hiring employees and spend more time developing them. As an a small business owner you have more flexibility in getting to know your employees and providing them with benefits that are nearly impossible to find in large corporations. This includes things like flexible work hours, flexibility in work rules to accommodate family events and other unexpected occurrences, and acknowledgment and support for important events in their lives. All of this can inspire employees who not only care about their next paycheck but also about the overall success of your business which will translate into how they treat their customers. I have no idea how the employees of Paraiso were treated but from my limited outside perspective it didn’t seem that they were excited about their job or the business.

These are just my outsider observations of the Paraiso business and why I think it failed. I fully understand that I may not understand all of the back story. I can, however, draw from my own experience in business and hope that it has some value for others. Small businesses can’t take the attitude of “Oh I am local and I have been here forever so I deserve your business on that reason alone”. That is just another form of unfair business practice that has shown time after time to be unsuccessful. Either local customers end up getting sub-standard service or outsiders come in and run them out of business.

Big corporations like Cinemex have undeniable advantages, some of which are unfairly supported by government policies, which we should oppose. This is something that has happened to the U.S. which has passed laws that have made it harder and harder for small entrepreneurs to be successful and allowed Oligopolies to dominate much of the economy. One shouldn’t need to hire an expensive tax accountant in order to correctly file taxes. Connections to people in government shouldn't provide exceptions for obtaining licenses or being exempted from taxes. However, I see no evidence that Cinemex lowered their pricing and will subsequently raise them. A quick search of different locations shows that their pricing is pretty consistent across the country.

It is despicable that small businesses in Zihuatanejo have to worry about paying protection money because of rife corruption in the government. Legitimate small businesses like mine are paying taxes that are hopefully being used to make a better community for all (the current administration appears to be doing much better on this front). That same government should be protecting all of us, including the small businesses so we don’t have to worry about someone coming to threaten us.

I love supporting local business and make a great deal of effort to shop locally. I value the relationships we have developed with vendors in the market. We make every effort to buy from our local vendors and artisans whenever possible. That support, however, is not unconditional and ultimately we are still talking about business transactions. Hopefully my words here will be at least a little helpful for other local business owners so that more of them will still be in business in the coming years, including myself ;-)

p.s. Thanks Rob for having a forum where local issues can be discussed by those with different viewpoints.

--
Humberto Romero
www.casaarcoiriszihuatanejo.com


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