By Mike Genung

In this month’s newsletter we’ll look at four principals out of the Bible that make good business habits. None of these will be a surprise to most of us; it’s good to review the basics from time to time to stay focused.  

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…Matthew 7:12

Business is all about people. Vendors and customers are people who have families to feed; they have stress and concerns just like the rest of us. The simple things can make a big difference. An encouraging word can make someone’s day, especially if they’re having a bad one. Thank you cards or gifts make people feel appreciated. Last year I hired a consultant; when I showed up at their office for the first meeting they had purchased a gift basket full of goodies. It was an unexpected gesture that made me feel like my business was appreciated. Prompt replies, either by phone or email, show others we care. There are plenty of times when I’ve searched for a service online, found a website and sent off an inquiry with a question, only to receive no response. Not good. On the other hand, I feel like I’m dealing with a business who’s got their act together when a speedy reply comes back.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
Proverbs 21:4

This verse is two for one.
To the average entrepreneur, diligence and hard work are a given. I talk to many business owners who give their all on a consistent basis. A strong work ethic builds businesses, provides employment, and is good for the country. These days the challenge comes when we try to hire someone in our “You owe me” culture of entitlement. The problem begins at home when Mom and Dad shower their kids with i-things and gadgets, as opposed to letting junior work and earn money to pay for the stuff they don’t need. When these kids leave home with a silver spoon in their mouth and no basis for a strong work ethic, problems ensue when they try to entire the work force. We’ve all seen resumes where an applicant changes jobs every 3 months; not a good sign that they’ll be reliable. Then comes the battle where, if we try to fire an unproductive or irresponsible worker for valid reasons, they can throw a fit with the state government, claim they were “improperly treated” and receive unemployment benefits for months. Something’s wrong with this picture.

The second part of the verse, “everyone is hasty comes surely to poverty,” is pertinent advice. It’s all too easy to rush through a set of tasks that aren’t a favorite and then make a major mistake that could cost many hours or dollars to fix. Emails sent too fast without giving thought to the tone or how they might come off can give a wrong impression and turn off a prospective customer. It always pays to slow down and double check one’s work before proceeding.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.
Proverbs 15:18

We’ve all encountered situations when a customer calls us in a fit of rage and blows our head off. In the heat of the moment, the natural response is to fight fire with more of the same, but that approach is fraught with danger because once we lose control we won’t think clearly and can say things we will regret later. If you get someone who’s on fire, do everything you can to take emotion out of the equation, and calmly focus on problem resolution. My experience has been that the other side eventually calms down after they’ve blown off steam and then is ready to discuss how to fix the problem.

Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15

This one circles back around to business being about relationships. When we make business solely about money our customers will sense it and be more guarded in their approach to us. Some will only deal with us if they have to. No business relationship is good when both sides are protecting their wallet. When there’s a relationship based on mutual trust of the character of the other, both sides usually find a way to work out their problems out when hiccups arise.

The other side of greed is that when we give our life to work and leave nothing over for family and friends, our health suffers, we become miserable people, and our relationships with those we care most about take a hit. I’ve never heard of someone who regretted spending more time with family at the end of their life. Balance and prioritizing what life is about is key here.  

I should confess here that I don’t always live these principals out; no one does.
But having standards to shoot for helps keep us moving in the right direction.

The Deadline to Ship before the Chinese New Year Holiday is here.  

The Chinese New Year holiday runs from the 3rd week of January through the middle of February. Some factories shut down longer. This means that if an order doesn’t ship from China by the middle of January that it won’t go out until late February or early March, at the earliest. Any orders that need to ship before the holiday starts should be placed by November 15 at the very latest.  

The China Blog 

I have a blog where I post updates and other information on doing business with China on a weekly basis. Recently I posted a picture of a cobra I encountered during a visit this year to China. If you want to sign up to receive notifications of blog posts, go to the Blog Home Page and sign up at the signup box at the top right of the page.

The Exchange Rate

The dollar has been depreciating recently against the yuan at an accelerated rate. If the decline continues it will soon start to have an effect on prices, although we’re only talking about a percentage point or two at present.

Yuan to the dollar, as of today: 6.24 to 1
Rate when the Yuan was depegged from the dollar on June 19, 2010:  6.82 to 1
Change: .58 (8.5%)

About Us

Since 1991, Global Trade Specialists, Inc. has helped companies of all sizes get their products made in China from manufacturers of quality products. We are an American company who works with three trading groups in China with immediate access to thousands of manufacturing companies. We source most products made from metal, plastic, wood, stone, glass or textiles; from prototype to production. Many of our customers are first time importers; we walk you through the entire process.

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Previous Newsletters:
October: China in the News
September: Remembering Nixon’s Visit to China
August: Who’s the Bad Guy Here?
July: We’re not in Kansas Anymore
June: Impressions from a Visit to China
May: The U.S. Gets What it Wants, But…
April: Of Beads and Streams

All material copyright 2012 Global Trade Specialists, Inc.
This newsletter may be reprinted as long as the copyrights and a link to the Global Trade home page (www.mgtrading.com) are shown at the end of the article.