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Sunday, April 25, 2010

DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA: Opening New Opportunities Through Networking

Doing Business in China with Dan Paulson

Ni Hao! My name is Dan Paulson and I am the CEO of InVision Business Development. Over the past five years, my organization has assisted companies to reach their full potential by developing their strategy and their people.

A few short weeks ago, I was asked to contribute to The National Networker. I have known Adam for a number of years and watched the fledgling site grow from a small start-up with a few thousand followers to where it is today. I am excited to be part of this opportunity and happily will share any knowledge I have to help others.

The question is always where to begin. So today I chose to start at the beginning of why I am here. Because if it wasn’t for a turn of events over a year ago I might not be writing for TNNW.

I love what I do. It’s a great honor to help others clarify their vision of the future, plan a roadmap to get there and achieve higher levels of success. Since I started this business, it has been my dream to expand InVision to an international company.

In 2009, I did just that with the help of some talented professionals. Last year I opened an office in Tianjin, China. No matter how small your business is, never doubt what is possible.

Why China? Well, some see it as the next frontier. It is one of the fastest growing countries in the world and may soon have the largest economy in the world. There is also little that western culture understands about China.

Though we seek to accomplish many of the same things, we go about it in different ways. Not knowing, or understanding your relationships in Chinese business can be costly.

My goal is simple: to help businesses save time, money and reduce any grief when trying to build business in China.

How I got to this point is an interesting story. In 2008 I was researching ways to expand my business. There were a number of different alternatives and the most interesting one was international expansion. If you are a business owner, you understand the importance of finding ways to differentiate yourself. You also know that it’s nicer to be in an environment where the competition is limited and the opportunities are wide open.

As I began to narrow my research, China came up as an interesting option. For years, companies have been expanding to this nation with the promise of low cost labor. While plenty of businesses still seek out China for sourcing product, others are taking notice of the opportunities that exist IN China. This is what I saw. It is a large population and many young, educated people who are willing to work hard and want some of the comforts that generations before them could not have. These professionals are very brand focused and wish to embrace western culture.

As I expanded my research into the possibility, I wanted to connect with people who had worked in China. LinkedIn provided many great opportunities to connect and start building relationships. One connection changed my life and the direction of my business forever.

Ruth Lycke, CEO for China Connection Global Healthcare, showed up in one of the many searches I did. Her story was an interesting one. As a stroke survivor, she was the first person to seek treatment in China. The impressive results she achieved, and her passion for helping others led to the launch of China Connection. I was amazed by her story and sent a message to her asking to connect. To my surprise, I received a fast reply.

After a few phone discussions, we decided we should meet. I think she wanted to meet me in person and check my sanity. After she figured out I wasn’t completely crazy, we mutually agreed to see if we could take what I was doing for companies here, and expand it to companies over there. Since then I have been privileged to meet many people from all over the world. It has expanded my knowledge and has given me great resources with which I can grow my business.

If there is one message I have besides an introduction, it is this: If you wish to grow, you need to do more than just survive. And if you are willing to expand what you think is possible, there will be someone along the way that can help get you there. We are all connected. The more we share within our networks and seek to help others, the more people will be willing to help us.

In the coming months I will discuss building relationships in China. I’ll cover everything from social media to finance, from history to travel and what you need to do to increase your network to succeed in China. My future articles will hopefully give you some insight into this culture. In many ways we want the same things, but how we go about it may be all together different. I plan to share my own experiences, plus those of my colleagues to give you an understanding from both sides.

In China, business is about relationships or Guanxi. How you build these relationships will be your keys to success if you want to do business in China. It can also save you many problems in the future.

Today we start building our Guanxi here. I look forward to connecting with many of you and again appreciate the opportunity The National Networker and Adam have given me. Until next month, Zai Jian!

For more information, please visit Dan's TNNW Bio.


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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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