Posted by: changholt | December 28, 2021

Avoid misunderstanding when doing business with China


The false promise of “guanxi,” or special relationships, has crippled Western firms entering China. The path through the backdoor inevitably leads companies away from real progress that is grounded in hard work and a logical business plan.

When your business goes overseas, many questions will appear. And to clarify these doubts, in our video below, we will talk about strategic questions that will guide you in this project.

It is one thing when someone with “special relationships” is an industry professional with the proper training, exposure and track record in a field. But when guanxi is defined as having abstract political and family ties, this is no guarantee that a company will gain access to the right decision makers in the public and private sector. It is more likely a path to a longer, more expensive and often failed journey through a series of back doors and trap doors. As a foreign company’s China market experience matures, it discovers that using the front door is faster and cheaper.

Reliance on the personal relationships of a consultant or agent is potentially destructive in two ways. First, it avoids a professional analysis of the market, because the guanxi broker only speaks to people he or she already knows. Second, it sets up a situation where a company may be abused by its own doorkeeper or expose itself to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

There is only one thing worse than relying on the myth of guanxi for a business strategy in China, and that is overly relying on a definition of business culture based on Chinese philosophers. Countless business books and articles quote Sun Tse and The Art of War as if it is something that every Chinese executive reads on his or her way to the negotiating room.

It is facile to assume that over one billion Chinese all negotiate using the same formula. This is the dated legacy of the respected scholar Lucian Pye. His book, Chinese Negotiating Style: Commercial Approaches and Cultural Principles, created the unfortunate Chinese archetype and lumped a diverse and rich people and culture into a simplified, but limited set of cultural stereotypes.

via Business without Borders | Guanxi and The Art of War: Two tall China myths.

Posted by: changholt | December 21, 2021

Concerns in contracts for business

In international trade contracts are a necessary evil. This short seminar tries to address all the issues you want to have in an international distribution contract with a potential partner. All too often, we think of lawyers of having superior intellect or greater knowledge about a subject matter. This often intimidates us into making bad decisions. We always have to remember that lawyers who put together a contract for us, work for us. All the best lawyers I know act as “consultants”. These lawyers, the good ones, want you to tell them specifically what you want to accomplish. This is critical for many different reasons. First of all, no one knows your business better and you do. Second, this contract is a communication device with our partner to clearly write out all the details of our business relationship. The more specific we are the better a lawyer can put together a contract (Utilizing that intellect). Hopefully, after reviewing this you have a better idea of what you want in a contract so you can have your lawyer help you put it together. If you have any questions or concerns please let us know and we can help out.

Posted by: changholt | December 14, 2021

International Travel Tips

If International travel leads to success, how can you plan it so it’s both 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 required 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 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 | December 7, 2021

How to grow the business beyond the borders

As an internationalist, and one was passion for business development, one of the most interesting topics is how you enter a foreign market. This short seminar is set up to look at all the options both passive and active sales channels, as well as, looking at setting up direct investment — either a sales subsidiary or producing oversees to be closer to your clients.


Posted by: changholt | November 30, 2021

Get a Competitive Edge in International business

int business

A company can obtain a strategic advantage over its competitors by making customer-driven decisions by offering:

•Flexible shipping terms, such as the choice of Incoterm in a particular transaction

•Terms of payment that are favorable to the customer, while protecting yourself from the risk of default

•Choosing a currency of payment that is convenient to the importer, while hedging its transaction exposure — reducing risk for both parties

•Being very careful and diligent in its document preparation.

Are your trade terms with your partners customer friendly?  remember while we are trying to protect Our companies interest and reduce our risk, all too often we actually increase the risk of our partner/client. By transferring the risk to them we are protecting ourselves, but we are also making it difficult to do business with. Are we easy to do business with? If not, Our customers will find somebody else to do business with, and we won’t make any money. We can help you create customer friendly trade terms while at the same time mitigating your risk exposure.

Posted by: changholt | November 23, 2021

Supply Chain Fundamentals for new opportunities

Here is an introduction to international trade and supply chain logistics, a course I often teach at the University of California, Irvine. This seminar is made for professional environments and is driven by power points. I hope it helps you better understand where international trade is coming from, what the supply chain is, and where things are moving. International trade and entering new markets is an opportunity for everyone.

Most importantly, I hope my voice does not put you to sleep. The idea is to introduce you to new concepts and challenge the way you’ve been doing international trade in the past. For those of you have never been involved in international trade, this is a great primer to better understand International trade and supply chain logistics.

Posted by: changholt | November 16, 2021

9 great apps for International Travel


I travel all the time internationally, and I am always looking for better and more efficient 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 our phones 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. As my friends living in China always say, “if you don’t have WeChat you don’t really exist.”
  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 native 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 | November 9, 2021

Asking strategic questions for success

When your business goes overseas, many questions will appear. And to clarify these doubts, in our video below, we will talk about strategic questions that will guide you in this project.

Posted by: changholt | November 2, 2021

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 is Bartering — not simple guns for butter trade, but creative solutions that benefit all parties. My brother, who has been bartering for years and has built several businesses,  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 too 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 services 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 | October 26, 2021

Money, Money, Money — How do I get paid internationally?

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.

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