Posted by: changholt | October 31, 2020

Success tip – TIME is MONEY. “Fall time” is here!

Time is Money, and time changes can effect everyone around the world!

It’s crazy clock changing time here in the United State, which drives our international partners nuts as we all try and figure out what time it is throughout the world.

When doing international business, communication is critical, and timing of that communication is equally important.   Does your overseas coworker, client, or supplier follow daylight savings? You don’t want to miss a critical call because of a time change, and really you don’t want to wake someone up early in the morning because of a time change either.

On Sunday, November 1st almost all states in the US, and ~ 80 other countries (can you believe it), will “fall back” one hour, as they set their clock back ending our daylight savings time.  What is Daylight savings? We essentially traded one hour of light in the evening for an extra hour in the morning.

I personally like it in the spring because we get more daylight and with more daylight we get more done (work, play, etc. …. and more daylight seems to make people happier). With more time to work, there is more time to earn money; and when we get off work there is even more time to spend with your family or friends doing what you love. This often means going out and spending more money. Thus spurring the economy forward. However, we are now losing an hour ;-( and ending daylight savings.

A word of caution,  not everyone follows daylight savings time. For example, China only has one time zone for the entire country and they don’t follow daylight savings time (either does Russia, India or Japan). Even in the US, Arizona, Hawaii and the US territories don’t follow daylight savings time (same country different practice…. that’s why it’s so confusing).

Regardless of your feelings of daylight savings time just be aware of the changes so you are not surprised or you don’t surprise someone else by showing up an our early! (we lose sunlight but gain but gain an hour in the mornings … so, morning people love this!)

If you want succeed in business you need to succeed with people. Even though the world seems to be changing at an unprecedented rate. Disagreements between people, their tribes, and their beliefs are at all time high. One would think that social media and or connectedness would bring us closer, but it seems to be doing just the opposite, as we seem to be focussing on what makes us different rather that what makes us similar (or better yet celebrating those differences).

The best book I have read on this subject is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s old but it’s good! No matter who you are or where you live,  we all need to communicate and interact with our teammates, employees, partners, suppliers, and even clients at a higher rate. Below is a summary of the key points in the book – dealing with people and leading them. Views come and go, but principles are timeless.

How to deal with people:
• Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
• Give honest and sincere appreciation
• Arouse in the other person an eager want
• Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise
• Six Ways to Make People Like You
• Become genuinely interested in other people.
• Smile.
• Be a good listener.
• Encourage others to talk about themselves.
• Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
• Win people to your way of thinking
• The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
• Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say – you’re wrong.
• If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
• Begin in a friendly way.
• Get the other person saying “yes, yes.”
• Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
• Let the other person feel that the idea is his or her own.
• Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
• Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
• Appeal to nobler motives.
• Dramatize your ideas.
• Throw down a challenge.

Be a leader: 
• Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
• Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
• Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
• Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
• Let the other person save face.
• Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
• Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
• Make the fault feel easy to correct.
• Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Photo by Helena Lopes on
Posted by: changholt | October 20, 2020

How to make your international representatives successful

Posted by: changholt | September 30, 2019

Happy National day to The People Republic of China! 国庆节!

Happy Birthday PRC! 国庆节!

Posted by: changholt | June 27, 2019

Tip when traveling internationally

I love the opportunity to travel overseas for either business or pleasure. I just got back from a terrific trip to Mexico (a country I don’t travel to enough), and I thought of some tips I usually recommend to friends and clients when traveling intertionally.

Posted by: changholt | June 14, 2019

Five keys to doing Business in China

Even though the US and China are on the edge of a trade war (where no one wins), China and the U.S. will continue to do business together (the two largest importers and exporters in the world). So, how do we particpate in this booming economy?

Here are 5 keys to do business in China, successfully – even in uncertain economic climates.

  1. China is not one market. The population is quickly approaching 1.5 billion consumers. However, at HSI, we break it into 6 key macro regions: greater Shanghai, greater Beijing, greater Guangzhou,  the Sichuan basin, the greater Northeast, and the greater Northwest.  Each of these markets, has its own unique characteristics and can easily be broken down into multiple other micro-markets.
  2.  Understand the business culture.  Like in all cultures the key is respect. Respect their culture, their customs, and that their language. In China, they have a few unique cultural habits that have been developed over thousands of years of history, such as “guanxi”  ( a sophisticated network of relationships to get things done )  and “face”  (understanding of the social and business hierarchy).
  3.  Research, research, and more research. In essence, look before you leap.  Not only is it a large potential market, it is full of risks as well. Are you working in the correct market? Are you targeting the correct target market? Who is your competition? Who will be your competition in 2 years? How does the government view your industry and foreign participation in the market?  You should never change your business strategy in China, because you will move away from your core competency. However, you should try to adapt to certain “Chinese characteristics” to better suit the needs of your final consumers and customers.
  4.  Bureaucracy and money.  Although capitalism is in full swing in China, the government still has its bureaucratic procedures. You need to have patience to succeed. You don’t want to run into China, just because your Board of Directors is pushing you or the latest Wall Street Journal article recommends it. You define the right market, and work with that government agency. Then need to find the right partner, and work within that framework. I think too many companies move too fast in China and get frustrated and make bad decisions.
  5.  Localize.  You are only as good as your local team.  and your Chinese team is worth every dollar you invest in it. This might be the most difficult step, becuase it requires deep levels of trust. Localization is easy to “say” but not so easy to “do”.

Posted by: changholt | June 4, 2019

Does anyone still barter?!


Given the current market uncertainties, cash, and cash flow have never been more critical. We have to consider various new options in selling and market development, and one option in Bartering — not simple guns for butter trade but creative solutions that benefit all parties. My brother has been bartering for years as he had built several businesses and he found it a great way to provide value to his clients (in his core competency) and get the same in return (value for value… not a bad deal).
It’s not complicated, but it does take flexibility and creativity. Practically anyone with a good understanding of value can become a successful barterer in a very short period of time. Better yet, the profits can come almost as fast… the return on investment can be amazing.

First, let’s define bartering:
In sum, bartering is a method by which two parties (or more) exchange goods or services for other goods or services, instead of using money (it’s a swap). We are going to try to take this one step further, so we get more creative solutions to get even better results.

Second, The benefit bartering :
There are many reasons to use a good barter exchange:
1. Greater purchasing power
2. Increased revenue
3. Preserving cash, some argue that you enjoy up to 80% savings on your exchanges.
4. More clients (both from the barter exchange and from cash-business referrals from barter clients)
5. Better cash flow
6. Greater marketing opportunities
7. Improved efficiency
8. Acquire needed items with the money you’ve already spent.
9. Finance major purchases interest-free for up to two years, and get the purchaser to carry the paper at a discount.

Third, determine your bartering leverage points:
You need to determine where you have leverage. For example, your company produces or sells a product. If there is a market for your product, you have a bartering opportunity. The items your company manufactures cost you a fraction of the retail price (what over parties value it at). Likewise, all of the goods and service you or your company needs also are manufactured at a fraction of the price you buy them at (you value them more than their cost structure).

In international trade nothing ruins a good business deal more than bad payment terms. In essence, nobody wants to get ripped off. Therefore, good payment terms, can protect you as the manufacturer, while also opening up new markets by offering favorable trade and payment terms. Let us show you how.

Posted by: changholt | April 30, 2019

9 great apps for international travel


I travel all the time internationally, and I am always looking for better ways to do things. I’ve talked to hundreds of friends and executives to get their tips and tricks on how to travel better. With electronics being a big part of international travel these days, what are the best apps? As soon as I write this, I know most of these apps will be out of date. However, here are some of my favorites*:

  1. Language obstacles – Google translate – simply invaluable. I do more business in Brazil than I do in China, and I don’t speak Portuguese. This has helped more times than I can count.
  2. For communications – Skype.  (it’s an oldie but a goodie)  If you’re in China “WeChat”  is tough to beat, and there is always WhatApp to consider.
  3. For booking travel  –  Kayak.  (my friend Ira Bloom turned me onto this,  and I’ve never turned back)  Simple to use and offers the best pricing around. I love there alerts too.
  4. Managing travel – Tripit.  Simple and easy way to manage your hotels, rentals, flights etc. All your travel info in one place!
  5. Currency converter  –  XE currency. I like this one, but there’s dozens of others. It keeps the guesswork out of what things really cost.
  6. Organization – Evernote. Great place to keep notes, clippings, ideas, and or just journal. However, I am finding my self using my iphone’s notive notes app more and more (just too easy not to use)
  7. Weather  – Weather Channel. Best comprehensive weather app I found.
  8. Dining – FoodSpotting. I have not used this very much, but it comes highly recommended by many domestic and international travelers.
  9. Wifi — Free Wifi Finder (an ios app). Nothing worse than needing wifi and not being able to find anything, and then you have to pay those expensive overseas rates (ouch!)

I hope you find these apps helpful when you are globe-trotting. When you travel overseas you need every advantage you can get. I am confident several of these apps will work great for you! If you have any apps you simply love please let me know. Safe Travels! * FYI, I tried to choose apps that work on ALL devices (and sync with your personal computer).

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