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?!

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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).

Posted by: changholt | May 29, 2019

International Communication tips for success

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

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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).

Posted by: changholt | April 24, 2019

International Travel Tips

If International travel leads to success how can you plan it so it’s successful and enjoyable? Use the old boy scout motto, “be prepared”.

Here are some basics:

1. Confirm travel plans and pack tickets or copies of e-tickets and a printout of applicable itineraries for business travel into a handbag or carry-on bag.

2. Create an international business travel checklist that includes a passport, driver’s license and possibly a visa. A passport is required for entrance into most countries, and a visa might be 3701-002898arequired for some overseas business travel. My wife and I have been traveling so long that we created our own checklist so we would never forget anything.

3. Prescriptions and over the counter meds should be safely packed into your overnight bags. I’ve found Airborne or a Vitamin C -Immunity Relief provides business travelers with an immunity boost before boarding a plane. Yes, I really think it helps!

Now that you are prepared:

1. Plan to give a copy of an international business trip itinerary to associates, family members, and close friends. Business travelers will be easier to track down with shared itineraries in case of emergency.

2. Copies of passports, insurance cards, and other personal information should be provided to a family member (or a trusted friend) before embarking on an international business trip.

3. Leave credit cards that won’t be used in a foreign country at home in a safe place. Get rid of useless cards (library, local discount cards, and local credit cards) when traveling internationally.

These are the basics, and the list could go on and on! Just remember, you can always buy toiletries and clothes abroad if you run into a problem. You can also Express Mail any key business supplies, such as projectors, samples, brochures, and other presentation material so you don’t need to haul them with you.

If you have any great business travel adventures or “helpful travel tips” please email us at admin@holtandsons.com. We’d love to hear your stories!

I talk some more about travel apps that I love to use (but there are always new ones out, so I would love to hear what you like).

Posted by: changholt | April 11, 2019

International partners expectations

Posted by: changholt | April 9, 2019

6 key questions to stay competitive

Six questions for today and tomorrow…. to stay competitive.

1. Who are our present customers? Who are future customers?
(Remember to think internationally).

2. How do we reach customers today? How will we reach them in the future?
(The internet and social network marketing is changing the landscape of marketing)

3. Who are today’s competitors? Who are the competitors of the future?
(How lean is your supply chain?)

4. What is our competitive advantage today? What will it be in the future?
(Do you have international expertise?)

5. How do we get margins today? How will we get them in the future?
(Are you building institutional memory in your organization?)

6. What makes us unique today? What will make us unique in the future?
(Is your company adapting to the changing marketplace?)

Is your company addressing these questions? Although the current economic crisis is affecting everyone, you should make sure you are looking for new markets, clients, and competitive advantages (such as evaluating your suppliers or finding new ones). Use these six sets of questions to prepare your company for today and tomorrow….so you stay competitive.

Posted by: changholt | August 22, 2016

Way to go Brazil!

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Although Brazil had some ups and down preceding the Olympics, I thought the Brazilians showed off what makes Brazil so great….its people!  In the end, they did a great job welcoming the world to Brazil.

Congratulations to all my Brazilian friends for hosting a great Olympics! (I know you weren’t all happy about the Olympics but you rallied to make it special for all those who visited).

I hope more tourist get a chance to meet some of the best people in the world! #Brazil

Look forward  to visiting again this October!

Posted by: changholt | July 28, 2016

How to influence people around the world

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If you want succeed in business you need to succeed with people. The best book I have read on this subject is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. No matter who you are or where you live, we all need to get the most out of her employees, partners, suppliers, and even client. Below is a summary of the key points in the book – dealing with people and leading them.

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.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must read!

Do you have any books you recommend?

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