Guanxi and Building Trust

The number one business rule in China is worth noting and understanding. It is called Guanxi. It is about the art of the relationship. No matter where you live chances are you know that relationships matter in business. So what is different? In China the relationships precede the transaction, in the west the transaction often comes first.

To thrive in China you must embrace Guanxi. It is the cultivation of business relationships- not superficial networking. One American business leader, an aerospace president, told me his approach to building Guanxi with his Chinese counterparts included long (5 or 6 hour) dinners often with several other people and lots of alcohol. He is also working to perfect his language skills to speak and understand Mandarin so he can have more personal conversations without an interpreter present. It will take him many months of this consistent behavior to start making inroads. But it is worth the investment of time and energy. After all China, despite the financial woes of the past year, is still an economic powerhouse.

In China you establish Guanxi first and then work on the deal. It doesn’t happen overnight- but by showing mutual respect and interest you can start to build Guanxi with a good first meeting.
Traveling with Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business Executive MBA program I spent two weeks learning about the business culture and climate in China. It was fascinating and there are so many other takeaways to share, but for those who want to do business with the amazing market that China is, it pays to take your time and start building some Guanxi. Whether you are looking to grow your customer base or expand your B2B network, this Chinese norm could be a useful tool for you.

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Winning Entrepreneurs

Today I am taking part in a prestigious award ceremony for entrepreneurs. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs I expect to be inspired by the stories I hear and the people I will get to know. Creating a successful business and keeping it successful is one of the most challenging career choices. The hours spent on the job are endless and vacation time, when you get it, is always a phone call away from ending prematurely.
So hats off to this year’s winners of the Philadelphia 100 award. The Philadelphia 100 has been the hallmark of entrepreneurial achievement in the region since 1988. The project, which is run by the Wharton Small Business Development Center, The Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Business Journal, identifies and honors the 100 fastest growing, privately held entrepreneurial companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Learn more about it at


Feeling Desperate? Stop and Read This

Recently I received an email from a woman who feels boxed into a corner in life. She cannot get work and has no idea how she will pay for tomorrow. I wished Mandy’s email was unique but I’m afraid I hear the same story from people all over the country every day. This is what she wrote.

I have two areas. The first one is in my retirement area the second in daily spending & savings plan.

To help you better help me. I was married for 26 years, now divorced. My husband did all the retirement planning etc. So now I have, 1/2 of what he planned. If I don’t speak spanish and he did-frankly I am unsure of what I do have. So after my divorce in 2004, I actually received the 401k etc. in 2007 since then I have Charles Swabb handling some of it, and I have a 401k from a company he used to work for, I have one with a company I know longer work for. So what do I do with it, how can I understand it . Then how do I understand what I do have so I have a baseline to know what I need to achieve for the future.

I am out of work and applying for jobs. I moved from out of state into my parents house, in a very rural community. My mother just passed away and father is in a nursing home. So I have no expenses except for the telephone/internet, car expenses, personal care, food. If I need to leave here to gain employment, I won’t have any savings to help me live and pay rent. The jobs would be at least 60 miles to 120 mile away one way. So starting with nothing how do I get something built up, and where to put it as I
build. I will be receiving real-estate, and money from my parents estate. I would like to know how to handle a good chunk of money in a short period of time, to be put to use towards my best interest. So I feel I need to work on both of these areas.

Thank you for your time and efforts. I am truly grateful.

The number one thing you need to do is figure out what you have and what you have access to. How close are you to being able to receive social security?

Once you have figured out what financial assets you have- figure out your talent assets.
What can you do? How can those skills be put to use to make money. There are so many home based ways to make money today that I suggest you look into that as an option as soon as possible.
You may also qualify for food assistance from both the government and your community food bank.
Finally – see what you can do now for the house and other assets your parents plan to leave you- to make the estate transfer go smoothly. If you do not have internet at your house – get to a library once a week to tackle these questions. I want to see you in charge of your next chapter. That will require some leg work but ultimately it will be rewarding.
I will leave you with this quote that motivates me when I think the challenge ahead is tough.
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.” -Jim Rohn

Work hard to get the answers to these questions and appoint yourself the CEO of your life. The best is yet to come.
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Passport to Prosperity

What is it you want? When it comes to money the easy answer is win the lottery- get a windfall of cash. But when we really hold ourself accountable and ask what is it I really want financially… The answer is usually something a little simpler and in our power to achieve.

So where do you start… How about the end?
Starting with your destination has its advantages. There are no limits- you decide. Plus it’s easier to craft a roadmap when you
Know where you want to go. So take a minute and come up win your goals. Write them down and tuck them away.

Now that you know where you want to go, rewind. Take stock on where you are now. Knowing where are you now and where do you want to go gives you two points on your map. You know the start and the finish. It is time to connect the dots in between.

This is where the real reward comes in. Developing a plan to get to your destination. I know, I know it is also the hard part.
I have written this before,but it is worth restating, your plan should start with small, achievable steps. Set yourself up to succeed. That is what Sonja did.

Sonja’s credit score was a disaster. She hated paying bills because it reminded her of how little she had. She made things worse because she paid those bills late, skipped others and before you know it- yikes! Her credit score was so bad she feared it would hurt her ability to get a better job.

Sonja took my advice and started small. Read the rest of this entry »

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Allowances: Do’s and Don’ts

So many of the parents I speak with are looking for ways to educate their children about finances. My favorite way to get the family talking about money is to create chores tied to allowances. Giving your child an allowance allows you to determine the flow of cash in your household. It is a very powerful tool – so I encourage you to use it, but use it wisely.
Tip: If chores are done well, then give the allowance, even if your child misbehaved in another way. Deal with the behavior issue with a separate response or punishment.

For more on chores check out this video

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No Money, No Marriage? Mary’s Solution

Check out this sneak peak of an upcoming episode of my show “We Owe What?” on ABC’s LiveWell TV. This episode had our entire crew holding back the tears!!

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Doubling Your Money

I had the chance to play teacher for a few days with a terrific group of middle schoolers. What did I teach? You get one guess. Yep- money! While keeping the attention of 6th and 7th graders was a real lesson for me- I also discovered how interested this age group really is in figuring out how to earn, grow and save money.

Today I want to share the lesson they loved – Doubling Your Money using the The Rule of 72.

A long time ago a math wiz discovered that if you use the number 72 in certain mathematical equations, you can figure out two things:

• How long it takes to double your money
• What interest rate you need to double your money

Creating the Rule of 72. BTW you don’t have to be a genius to put these equations to work for you. But if you like equations- here they are!

72 ÷ interest rate = the number of years it will take to double money
72 ÷ the number of years you want to double your money = the interest rate you need

You can use these equations with whatever the going interest rate is. And, you can use the answer to figure out how to double any amount of money.

Dividing 72 by the interest rate
72 ÷ 4 (the interest rate) = 18 (years)
At a 4 percent interest rate, your money will double in 18 years.

If the interest rate is 8 percent, how long will it take for your $50 to double?
72 ÷ 8 (the interest rate) = 9 (years)
So you can see, the higher the interest rate, the faster your money doubles.

I know what you are thinking, “I have to wait 18 years to turn my $50 into just $100? Seriously!”
Chances are you’re going to save a lot more than $50 over the course of 18 years. Each time you make a deposit into your account, it, too, will double in value in 18 years if it earns 4 percent interest.

Ok, let’s use the second equation to find out what interest rate we need to double our money. Again, you can use any amount of money. In my example below, we used $50 again.
So you want your $50 to double in four years so you can use it toward college expenses. What interest rate will you need to double your money?
Divide 72 by the years in which you want to double your money.
72 ÷ 4 (years) = 18 (the interest rate)

You think, “Wow, 18 percent is pretty high, I don’t think I can earn that rate right now.” So you decide to wait 8 years for your money to double. What interest rate do you need now?
72 ÷ 8 (years) = 9 (the interest rate)
You need 9 percent interest to double your money in 8 years.

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Kids and Money: Structuring Chores

My do’s and don’t for chores. They are a great way to teach kids how our economy works- if you structure them the right way. Here are a few of my tips. What money lessons work in your household?

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What Hiring Managers really Want

Okay- you landed the interview- now what? How do you make sure you win over the hiring manager? The best answer is to understand what they are really looking for and make sure you show off those skills and attributes in the interview. Understanding how they look at you will give you a better opportunity to close the deal.

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Great Design – Better Pricetag

I cannot wait for the flowers to grow, the trees to bloom and the birds to sing once again. I am over winter. Really over it. Winter has taken its toll not just on my mood- but on my home. It is shabby without the chic! So I turned to some pros to get some great design ideas that are priced right. I loved their tricks of the trade. Share your ideas with me too!

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