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Top 6 Panama Business Regrets

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Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 16:02

I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of foreigners that moved to Panama in search of a better life. A large majority of them weren’t born with four aces and thus, try need to work to survive. And a large majority of those who work in Panama do so for themselves: running their own business or operating small companies. Of course, cialis every living environment has it’s benefits and its drawbacks, sovaldi but what really speaks volumes about a destination is what people say about it in retrospect. 

Flipping condos in 2005, demystifying Panama's labor laws...what are your biggest Panama regrets?

Following are six of the most common regrets that Panama’s veterans – those who have been living and working here for a number of years – have about the country they love and call home.

1. I wish I understood Panamanian labor laws: One of the biggest challenges to foreigners looking to do business in Panama is understanding labor laws, which, to many, create a bubble of defense around the employee and a series of hurdles for the first-time employer. The process of gaining a full grasp on hiring, firing, compensation, and legal obligations can take years (and lots of patience) to master.

2. I wish I had flipped condos in 2005: Investing in Panama City condos from 2005 to 2008 was not unlike a charity bikini show – it benefited everyone involved. One common regret of foreigners is having missed the opportunity to make tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars during this time, simply purchasing a condo, doing absolutely nothing, then selling it for a giant profit.

3. I wish I explored more of the interior: Let’s not kid ourselves. Most entrepreneurs that have relocated to Panama consider lifestyle to be one of the top variables in their equation. But many of those same foreigners are also workaholics: often trading the opportunity to go explore Santa Catalina or Coiba or San Blas for the all-nighter workfest to get a leg up on their competition.

4. I wish I considered families for staffing: One thing every Panama veteran knows is that hiring can be a nightmare. A lack of skilled, multi-lingual, motivated labor (and service-oriented individuals) means that almost everyone goes through a gamut of employees that don’t work out. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Panama have solved this problem, after learning over time, by searching within trustworthy families for new employees.

5. I wish I didn’t listen to so many “experts”: As in any gold rush, people in Panama tend to crawl out of the woodwork to sell you vacations, real estate, legal services…etc. One major regret of a lot of Panama’s expat veterans is taking the advice of just anyone – assuming that expert-sounding people really do know what they’re talking about and using their advice without a second opinion. Accepting the status quo (or the Panamanian way of doing things) is one major regret echoed over and over again. Oppositely, doing it your way tends to produce good results and/or teach good lessons.

6. I wish I got here sooner: No matter how successful they have been, many foreigners in Panama regret one thing and that is not having arrived in Panama sooner. While Panama was (and still is) undergoing something of a social and entrepreneurial revolution, getting in the game earlier would have meant even more opportunities. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.


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Nothing gets done on time
written by Q , January 18, 2012
I would add to this list, "I wish I had realized that nothing (and I mean nothing) ever gets done on time". Arriving in Panama 2 years ago, I thought to myself "everyone is saying it takes forever to get stuff done here but how hard could it be?" The reality is that if you freak out over not getting things done on time (and that includes stuff as simple as meetings) then you will drive yourself nuts. Realize you're in paradise, take a deep breath, and chill out.
Great article. Very dead on accurate.
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Awesome... reminded me of my own regrets
written by Rich , February 02, 2012
Matt, great site... saw this on Inc today. I was there in 1999 while in the US Army. We closed the canal (one of the last American troops to leave). I watched as they took Post housing and turned thos square boxes into beautiful homes and I remember thinking oneday I'm going to come back here to this beautiful Country! A wife and two kids later I'm still wanting more than ever to move there. The way things are in the U.S. - I envy all of you in way who "just did it". Now I just have to convince my wife! -Rich
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 16:13