International apparel manufacturing and sourcing. If we don't make it, we can find it.
Category : Community
Imports Oriental Blog – I like Danny’s angle on some unique “Chinese cultural things”, and Tanya does a great job of spotting the best content from other blogs.
Other blogs Renaud listed include Silk Road International and China Law Blog – two excellent blogs that we also read regularly, and have linked to numerous times in the past. It’s humbling to be listed in such illustrious company!
We thought we’d let you in on some other sources we look to:
Foreign Entrepreneurs in China has a somewhat specific focus, but one that resonates deeply with us, obviously! Lots of helpful hints for those starting out or growing a business in China.
Chinese Negotiation is a top notch blog with great insights into how Chinese culture affects the way business works here. We regularly read posts by Andrew that connect very well with our own experiences and/or give us new ideas.
All Roads Lead To China contains a good blend of business and personal insights for the expat businessperson in China.
So that’s 6 of our favorites. How about you? What sources do you go to for information on business in China?
Several times in the past we have mentioned the benefits of belonging to a business community, especially if you are an entrepreneur. If you work in a corporate environment, there are built in connections that an entrepreneur does not have access to. The Women in Business network here in Beijing has been a great networking and relationship building group for us.
If meeting with a group in person is difficult for you, there are always online options. LinkedIn is an online community with myriad opportunities to connect with and learn from others. The Women in Business LinkedIn group has a lot of great conversations about the issues that affect working women, especially in China.
One issue close to the hearts of many working women is, of course, how to combine your career with raising children. This topic really got me thinking, so I’m sharing my response to it here as well.
I think being a working mum is one of the toughest jobs out there – trying to constantly balance the growing demands of both kids and work. For me, just when I think I’ve got everything “balanced” – things change again (a kid needs more help with homework, a special work project needs extra attention, etc). And the balancing act starts again….
I find this a great challenge.
Many women’s “career phases” correlate with “life phases” (life phases – single, married, pregnant, maternity leave, new baby, nursing, toddler, etc) – and it’s taken a long time for companies to “catch up” with the idea that their company is losing a great deal when they write mothers off (for taking leave, for working part-time when kids are small, etc).
I believe every woman needs to decide for herself what her priorities are – what is best for herself, for her children, for her family; I realize, however, that some women don’t have a choice – they have to go back to work.
For me, I decided early on that I wanted to be a part of raising my children, especially when they were small (my two girls are 5 and 2). I am extremely fortunate in being an entrepreneur, so I have more flexibility in my working hours. Several mornings a week, I spend dedicated time with my two girls (and I usually take on extra work in the evenings to make up for lost time). My staff know that I am not always in the office. It is not always easy to keep to this schedule, but this is what works for me, based on my priorities and life decisions.
I would love to hear your thoughts on balancing motherhood and career.
What do YOU do?
In China, June 1st is celebrated in as a Children’s Day holiday (as it is in many Asian countries). Children have time off school, and all sorts of activities for kids happen.
This year, Imports Oriental took our staff to local foster homes Luke’s House and House of Joy to celebrate Children’s Day with the kids there. Some of our staff brought their own children along, and it was great to see the kids playing together. We shared ballgames, sidewalk chalk, craft, watermelon, playground time, presents, and a fun lunch including BBQ, french fries and ice cream cake!
Luke’s House and House of Joy are a part of Abba’s Children, run by Mike & Elisa Haller. Mike and Elisa have been taking care of foster children in Lang Fang since the summer of 1999. Since 2007, they have been running a boys-only home, focusing especially on older boys who have no chance of being adopted, who wouldn’t be helped any other way. They help these older boys get an education and will help them through school and find a profession as they get older.
Currently these foster houses are home to 16 boys of varying ages with varying degrees of special needs. Mike Haller also drives his car “out west” to bring supplies to other locally-run foster homes.
For information about donations or volunteering, contact mikenelisa (a) gmail (dot) com
Jill Coyle is the People’s Choice Entrepreneur of the Year for 2010
Thursday May 27th was the annual Women in Business Leadership Awards. Jill Coyle was nominated as the Entrepreneur of the Year, and won the People’s Choice category. Thank you to everyone who voted for Jill!
Here are some photos from the event.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners, training is a must. We need to learn and grow in order to build our businesses. The problem is finding resources that fit our time (and cost!) restraints. Thankfully there are a lot of great resources online. The net is a great place to start – you can build connections with other leaders, get good advice, and even find free and low-cost online training.
To get you started, here are two recent articles for small business leaders that I enjoyed.
This article contrasts self employment and entrepreneurs. The two example stories given contrast a person who just created a job for himself and another who built a viable, energetic business. In the six years I’ve been running Imports Oriental I have seen myself functioning in both these roles. The starting phase was a fun but volatile time; in the mid-phase I was just hiring whoever I could find and trying to learn the ropes of being a manager rather than just an entrepreneur.
After a year or two I learned that I need to hire talented people and that I need to stick with what I’M best at (BUILDING rather than just managing). This has changed the dynamics and atmosphere of my company – I feel like there is more of an excited-vibe in our whole team.
In this article Anna Miller shares three great tips that have all proved true for our business:
1) Make customer service your USP – Customer Service and Quality Control have given Imports Oriental a competitive edge over other factories supplying the same items. Our customers will pay more for quality and service.
2) Don’t bite off more than you can chew – I’ve learned the hard way that Imports Oriental needs to grow gradually and incrementally. We now only do products and orders that are within our expertise and abilities.
3) Practice what you preach – leading by example is essential!
What about you? What online resources add value to your business?
Great news to share here at Imports Oriental! Our own Jill Coyle has been nominated as “Entrepreneur of the Year” at the 2010 Women in Business leadership awards.
Anyone can vote so please support Jill! It only takes a minute to vote. Just go to the voting page and enter your email, gender, and location, and choose Jill from the drop down box. Click here to go straight to the Voting Page
You can also click here to see all the nominees in the 5 categories.
The awards dinner is happening next Thursday, March 27th in Beijing – you can register to attend here.