Shifting Our Views of Business with China

Shifting Our Views of Business with China

For the last decade, it seems like we have been fighting this economic “war” with China. Manufacturing in North America was drying up and moving to places with cheaper labor and materials, such as Asia.

The “made in China” label has a lot of stigma attached to it, as it’s associated with low quality, low price items with poor environmental and social attributes.

However, as our economies continue to evolve, we need to start looking at China in a different way: not as a producer, but as a consumer. The size of the middle class has been rising dramatically in China, meaning that a market of consumers is opening up at a dramatic pace.

And while many products they buy will be ones made in China, there is the opportunity to introduce your services or products to them as well. They might assign value to “foreign goods,” and thankfully the reputation of North America as a manufacturer has remained strong over the years, clinging to a vision of quality.

If you are thinking of targeting Asian markets, not as producers for your goods, but rather buying potential, it’s time to start preparing your business for this game plan.

Find Chinese Translators

Though many Chinese people learn English in school, most are much more comfortable in their native tongue. You also have to remember that China is a large country with many differences between demographics, meaning you will require Chinese translation services that include both Traditional and Simplified varieties of Chinese.

By having your product or service information translated in Chinese, you are building a relationship with your audience and they will appreciate it. Though it’s not essential for all aspects of your communication, essential information like instruction manuals, product descriptions, and other important details should be available to them in their native tongue.

Do Your Market Research

It might be tough to do on your own, so consider looking for a Chinese import company or one that will specifically do market research for you. It’s most likely a completely different culture than you are used to, with different values, morals, and preconceptions, and it’s something you’ll need to understand before you can set up your marketing.

Look at past and current trends, buying patterns, and really zoom in on your buyer persona if you can. It will help you keep your marketing budget low but effective.

Look for Shipping Options

Before you jump head-first into this venture, make sure that you fully understand how the shipping, handling, and duties will look like upon delivery of your product.

Does it still have an appealing value proposition once that cost is included in the full price? Will your customers be surprised with having to pay duty upon delivery?

Maintaining client satisfaction is very important in this customer-based economy, and ensuring a smooth, easy, and pleasant interaction is essential. You might want to have someone on hand who will be able to reply to any complaint or queries in Chinese as well- huge bonus points for your company for sure!

It’s time to stop seeing China as a threat to our economy and to capitalize on the opportunity the rising middle class has presented for North America.

For years, they have been targeting us with their products and now it’s time for us to return the favor and benefit thanks to it. However, it will take some work and resources to adapt your business to the audience you are gunning for.

In the meantime, keep your company open to and responsive to the local market it is a part of, something that you don’t want to lose or sacrifice due to you eyeing different audiences.

4 Qualities of New Construction Homes for Sale

New Home ConstructionMany house hunters struggle to overlook design choices, wall colors and furniture layouts in previously-owned homes. Some despise the idea of living in another individual’s home. Others fear bacteria and germs from bathrooms and kitchens, no matter how much bleach is used to clean them. To avoid second-hand homeownership woes, many turn to new construction properties for fresh, sparkling abodes.

Aside from being neutral and clean, new construction homes have further benefits – starting when buyers begin their searches to years after signing contracts. Consider the following four qualities unique to new construction homes for sale.

  1. Buyers are Active in the Search Process

Builders want to profit and many avoid listing agents to decrease overhead on each of their properties. Therefore, new construction homes are less likely to appear on local listing services and more likely to advertise in newspapers or on billboards. Many new construction sellers rely on online real estate listing services, such as Zillow, to post their homes free of charge. Buyers in the market for new construction homes can work together with their agents to search for these properties. Buyers essentially have the same resources as their agents, allowing them more control throughout the process.

  1. Builders Negotiate with Early Hunters

Many new construction buyers finalize their home purchases before drywall is installed for discounted prices. For builders, selling early satisfies lenders, which is why builders are often willing to negotiate with buyers early in the process. However, buyers face the increased risk of committing to contracts before homes are complete. If early buyers back out, they likely lose their discounted down payments.

  1. Minimal Risk of Damages and Upgrades

New homes have fresh plumbing, modern wiring and solid foundations – assuming reputable builders construct sound, safe homes. Most of the time, new construction homeowners avoid expensive maintenance, whereas impending repairs are expected in previously-owned properties. Additionally, most new home buyers review model homes for fixtures, finishes and floor plans before their exact properties are built. Therefore, new owners are less likely to make stylistic upgrades after purchase. Usually, home builders install the latest, long-lasting technology appropriate for the price range.

  1. Customizations and Discounts for Interiors

Aside from sale price negotiations, new construction builders sometimes offer buyers the option of personally selecting fixtures and finishes, as long as specifications are requested in the beginning stages of building. Buyers searching for homes later in the process, who lack the negotiating power of early hunters, might still benefit from high-end upgrades for the same down payment prices. Builders often offer interior upgrades rather than discount down payments after homes are built.

The aforementioned benefits attract all house hunters, especially because new construction homes can mimic vintage properties. Even so, some homebuyers who crave authentic character should look elsewhere for future dwellings.

By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

Plan Ahead for Short Term Emergencies

An emergency may be unexpected, but it is not necessarily unforeseeable. If you’re not planning for life’s emergencies ahead of time, you may end up turning to short term loans as your only way to finance them. However, there are other ways to stash away emergency cash for when life hand’s you one of its little emergencies.

Medical Expenses

Health insurance is one way to plan for medical problems you can’t predict, but are due to happen. To plan even further to pay for co-pays and the deductible, you can also set up a flexible spending account with your company. The funds are automatically deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis each pay period and they can be used for health items like eyeglasses and dental care. Not only is the saving painless, but it also can give you more savings due to the pre-tax status. If you work for yourself, you can set up a Health Savings Account (HSA) instead, and roll over the savings if you don’t use them that year.

Repairs and Maintenance

Owning a car or a home can come with unexpected repair and maintenance costs. You might not know when you’ll have an emergency, but you know it will eventually happen. To avoid having to take out short-term loans that may be difficult to repay, you need to plan ahead and save now. Get registered for a home maintenance plan that can be as low as $50/month and cover major repairs like electrical problems in the home or bad appliances. Having a savings account set aside and using direct deposit to direct a portion of your paycheck to it can help you prepare for those emergencies.

Building an emergency fund is not difficult. It just needs to be consistent. If you have extra consider loaning it to family and friends, so that when your turn comes around they’ll be there for you, too.  If you automate savings and plan ahead it removes the stress of being caught short when bad things happen. It can be a wonderful feeling to know that the money is in the bank for a repair or replacement when the air conditioner fails during the height of summer or something else occurs that you may not have foreseen, but you were wise enough to plan for, regardless.

Is it too late to get an MBA?

Education

What an interesting week last week, now back to the grind of things.  Today we received a question from a reader who asks, “Is it too late to get an MBA?”  Let us define what the reader considers too late, they consider their mid 40’s too late to obtain the advanced degree.

What is his dilemma?  Mark is a mid level manager who strives to take that next step but all of the upper echilon have advanced degrees.  Some organizations only recruit talent for upper level positions if they have an advanced degree, his organization is one of those.

Mark has his bachelor’s degree and is at the glass ceiling for his current credentials at his organization.  He wants to move up and he knows he can do the job, but he just doesn’t have the degree for the next step.  The time to obtain the advanced degree may take a few years to complete.  The reward after the completion of the degree when he is able to move up the corporate ladder is going to be substantial for him.  He definately gets my vote to pursue the degree.  Would you pursue the degree if you were Mark?

Some people think that you have to be going for something to continue your education for advanced degrees or just another degree.  This is a misconception and many people take courses that they find interesting or that they find may benefit them in some way in the real world.

When I was taking my MBA courses, there was a gentleman in the class that had already received a Harvard Law degree and was corporate council for the multinational organization he worked for.  I was talking with him one time and questioned his presence in the program and he said he takes the courses for fun and likes to keep his mind sharp.

Whatever your reasons for pursuing and MBA or any other advanced degree, I say you should definately pursue it.  I am a big advocate of education for all.  Said by one of my buddies Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

 PHOTO BY: Bathe in Light