With over 20 years experience as a business consultant, helping companies with everything from business strategies to risk analysis to project management, Yarmeli Lares, owner and founder of YL Consulting Inc., is working to become the go-to source for foreign nationals looking to start businesses in the United States.
Before moving to Miami, Yarmeli ran another consulting company in Venezuela that specialized in engineering and construction projects for the Oil & Gas industry. Much like YL Consulting Inc., the motivation was generally in the areas of engineering and construction, but with much less of a focus on working with non-nationals. When she launched YL Consulting Inc. in October 2013, she was in a prime position to help those from Latin America trying to navigate new markets in the United States.
"I work with people from all over Latin America," she said. "I help them to understand the cultural differences when they move to the US. It is very different growing a business here than it is in Latin America. I had business in Miami before moving. I know the environment, and I can relate to business owners from Latin America."
So what motivated Yarmeli to start her own consulting business? "After I earned my MBA, I thought to myself, 'what's my next step?'. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to start my own business. With consulting, every day is different, and there's always something new to work on. That is what I love about it."
Yarmeli is currently working on a couple of interesting projects. She is helping a group from Venezuela open a business in Miami and Costa Rica. She is also working with another group from Venezuela looking to do business in Miami and the Dominican Republic. She has been in business for four years and sees the five-year mark as a significant milestone. Looking another five years out, she wants to continue growing her business in the US and would like to hire three to four additional employees. At the ten-year mark, Yarmeli envisions winding down and putting the company in the hands of one of the employees she brings on board. That is her long-term goal.
Yarmeli credits her involvement as Vice President of the Venezuelan - American Chamber of Commerce of the United States as giving her the ability to connect and network with some great people. She has made contacts and has grown her business as a result. She also serves as a mentor for MBA students at the University of Miami Business School and a Member of the Board for America Developing Smiles, a non-profit organization.
Yarmeli offers up some great advice for entrepreneurs looking to move to the US to expand their businesses. "It is important to understand that doing business here is a lot different than doing business back home," she said. "It is important to know that you do not know everything and to be open to receive help. Get an attorney. Write a business plan. You are in a much more stable environment in the US. It makes sense to do a business plan here. Lastly, have patience and passion. In Venezuela and other Latin America countries, you look for immediate results. It takes time here."