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!


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


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?

Posted by: changholt | July 7, 2016

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 | May 31, 2016

Get a Competitive Edge in International 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 | May 26, 2016

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.

clocks of the world

Time is Money, and time changes can effect everyone around 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, March 13th almost all states in the US, and ~ 80 other countries (can you believe it), will spring forward one hour, as they set their clock ahead for daylight savings time.  What is Daylight savings? We are essentially trading one hour of light in the morning for an extra hour in the evening.

I personally love it 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.

When US politicians moved the daylight saving time up a few months it may have been one of the best things our politicians have done in a long time (2007). It directly effected the lives of millions of Americans — more light means more opportunity.

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 has to be 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 late! (we lose an hour but gain more evening sunlight).

Posted by: changholt | January 12, 2016

What happened to Brazil?

Even with it challenges Brazil is a GREAT place to do business. Like all country’s the key is to find right partners!

Brazil’s challenges are hard to understand but I think these 3 Economist cover stories say it all.


Now the question is what will Brazilians do next? At HSI we are confident in a long term rebound, but make sure you working with the right people.

Posted by: changholt | January 6, 2016

The 6 Chinese holidays you need to know



Happy New Year everyone, and for those who work with China, it’s time to look at those 6 key Chinese holidays. Here is the official list for Chinese holidays 2016. FYI, many of the holidays that provide long days off, may not be as long as one may think. Your Chinese counterparts often have to make those days off over the weekend (pay special attention to “adjusted days off”, you really don’t get as many holidays as one might think).

China Public Holidays 2016

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), February
Chinese New Year (otherwise known as “Spring Festival”) 2016
Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Days off: February 7-13, 2016 (Sunday-Saturday)
Adjusted Working Days: Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 14

Tomb Sweep Festival, April (otherwise known as “Qingming”)
Date: Monday, April 4, 2016
Days off: April 2-4, 2016 (Saturday-Monday)
No Adjusted Working Days

Labor Day (May Day) Holiday, May
Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Days off: April 30-May 2, 2016 (Saturday-Monday)
No Adjusted Working Days

Dragon Boat Festival, June
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2016
Days off: June 9-11, 2016 (Thursday-Saturday)
Adjusted Working Days: Sunday, June 12

Mid-Autumn Festival 2016, September
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Days off: September 15-17, 2016 (Thursday-Saturday)
Adjusted Working Days: Sunday, September 18

National Day (otherwise known as “Golden Week”) October
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Days off: October 1-7, 2016 (Saturday-Friday)
Adjusted Working Days: Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9

For more details see That’s China article (great calendar pictorial) or the official government website

I hope that helps you work better with your Chinese colleagues!

Posted by: changholt | December 30, 2015

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.


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