The second season of the Wyndham Grand Kids Activity was a howling success. With a theme of puppy dogs plus scrumptious food, games and competitions, the children who attended had a ‘pawesome’ time!
There was even a real live puppy to greet the children as they arrived!
Puppy balloons surrounded the outdoor garden of the lobby lounge and decorated the tables. To top it off, a stage was set up at the front with a huge ‘Discover the Cutie Doggy moment’ display.
Exciting objects and gifts could be found on every table, including pots of modelling clay in a range of bright colours for the children to play with. Wyndham Grand mugs were carefully wrapped as an additional gift for the adults at the event, although some of the children were so excited they unwrapped those as well!
One of the competitions was for the best clay model made during the afternoon, which almost all of the children (and some of the parents!) took part in.
The models showed off some very creative skills and great imagination. Puppies, chicks, ladybirds and snails were just a few of the creations displayed for the competition – it was very difficult for the judges to decide the winners!
The prizes were giant soft toy dogs, ready and waiting for a new home. They found their new homes with a green dinosaur, a multi-coloured hedgehog and a lime with a tiny hedgehog and carrot on top.
Even the food was puppy themed. Doggy-licious desserts – some in the shape of the most popular dog breed in China, the Shar Pei – made a mouth-watering display.
Mini plant pots filled with sponge cake, crunchy flakes, fruit and chocolate, complete with a tiny spade; heart shaped chocolate truffles; all kinds of macaroons; puppy-shaped biscuits; mini waffle cones filled with fruit cream; chocolate, fruit and nut balls covered in purple chocolate; and frozen lime and pineapple-shaped desserts were a selection of the delights on offer.
The dessert display was completed by a pink chocolate fountain with marshmallows, jelly sweets and fruit skewers all ready to dip.
As for the main courses, every appetite was catered for. From finger sandwiches and BBQ chicken wings to kung bao chicken and sushi, an eclectic mix of Chinese and Western cuisines was on offer.
No kids’ activity would be complete without a ball pool, and the Wyndham Grand was no exception. Kids of all ages had a pawsitively fantastic time playing with the inflatables, balls and balloons.
The final competition was a ‘fetching’ game where the children had to find and retrieve small blue boxes. Each box contained a piece of paper with a number which could result in a prize – from small red puppies to giant 2m long soft, fluffy dogs all ready and waiting to be taken to their new home.
As usual the Wyndham Grand staff were ever present, helpful and involved with the event and the children.
Look out for the Third Season of the Wyndham Grand’s Kids Activity, coming early next year. An event definitely not to be missed!
Shenzhen Stories is a community of people from all over the world who get together once a month to share their stories. These stories come from all walks of life and are told in a coffee shop snuggled in the Shekou neighborhood of Shenzhen.
Shenzhen Stories was founded by two buddies, Trey Hobbs and Siobhan Lumsden, directly in response to a feeling of being far from home and away from a community.
Shenzhen is a stirred pot of countless cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences. The nature of this city is one of diversity and growth and those things make for colorful lives lived. However, all the business, all the growth, and all the change lend itself to a certain amount of transience. Shenzhen Stories seeks to create a space for a permanent sense of community in a fast moving world.
The mission statement of Shenzhen Stories is simple: to foster an international community through the art of storytelling. This has taken shape in the form of traditional oral storytelling, dance, music, visual art, and everything in between. Month after month, the stage is filled with humor, grief, the curious, and the downright bizarre.
No matter what though, the stories told are absolutely true. In ten minutes, storytellers share micro-moments of their life to a room full of friends and strangers alike with the goal that, in the end, there are a few more friends than strangers. It is amazing to see people from all walks of life hear a story from someone so different from them and be able to see themselves in that story. It is these little bits of empathy that truly build bridges. Through fostering this community, Shenzhen Stories hopes to cultivate that ideology as people travel throughout the world.
Throughout the nearly two years of hosting stories, one thing stands out above all things. Honesty. Shenzhen Stories has been honored to partner with other great organizations throughout Shenzhen for special events and workshops. This has allowed them to reach both the local and international communities and has given them access to a plethora of interesting stories. In these workshops, tools are presented to increase skill, structure, and confidence when sharing, but when asked in these workshops what makes for a great story, the answer is always the same: honesty. Month after month, it is clearer and clearer that audiences are drawn to truth.
It is refreshing and quite often life is indeed stranger than fiction. The Shenzhen Stories stage has heard stories of marriages born from devastating natural disasters, close calls with cults, clandestine cats, and breast implants being blown away in the wind. It has heard life viewed through our pets, through disastrous earthquakes, loss of loved ones, and the discovery of family previously hidden. Like no kidding! There have been stories told over and over again about reuniting with lost family members.
It’s these stories that walk past us every day on the street and sit next to us on the bus. The world is a crazy place and it’s full of people who have lived exciting and wonderful lives. Shenzhen Stories believes that if we can understand where a person has come from, we can understand that person.
Seeing the world through a person’s eyes doesn’t just validate their experience though. It validates those hearing it as well. The audience has a chance to see themselves in these stories. To see a world both different and also familiar in these stories is where, as a society, we thrive. We thrive when we express ourselves. We thrive when we connect to others and join in a community.
For our ancestors, it used to mean survival and I’m not sure that has changed so much for us in 2018. But also, it’s just plain fun! It is really a thrill to walk in another’s shoes and for a short time look down and see that even though we have walked in much different landscapes, our shoes don’t look so different. It’s fascinating to hear an amazing true tale of adventure, pain, joy, or the bizarre and be able to say “me too”.
So why tell our stories in a coffee shop surrounded by friends and strangers? Why spill your guts for a podcast to be listened to by people around the world? The answer may be as simple as for fun and as huge as for survival. Whatever the answer is for you, Shenzhen Stories aims to create a safe platform for where every person and every story has worth and value and where we can all have a great time doing it.
How to get in touch
Shenzhen Stories meets every month in Shekou. For more information, contact them at email@example.com or follow them on social media @shenzhenstories.
To listen to your fellow humans, find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud by searching ‘shenzhenstories’.
For many expats, what makes or breaks a move to a new country is the community they meet there. One cannot underestimate the importance of having a friend to go to the bar for a drink or to grab a coffee during the day. It can make a world of difference if you know some people you can ask for help or advice, be it finding where to buy the food they like from back home or to take them to the hospital after an accident.
If someone is fortunate enough to find this sense of community when they move to a strange new place, then they are more likely to stay longer and start to feel like they have a found a home away from home. It’s that same sense of community that the Shenzhen Women’s International Club (SWIC) has been providing to the ladies of our city for over 30 years.
We sat down with President Yvette Taylor and Programs Chair Christyne Holmes for a coffee and a chat to find out more about what SWIC is about and what it offers to the expat women in the local community.
“It started in 1986. It was just a few ladies who met in somebody’s lounge in Jingshan. Two years ago we did quite a few big events to celebrate the 30 years. There are no original members left, but we do have some photos,” explained Yvette.
Christyne had heard about what it was like back when SWIC started. “At that time, in the Shekou area, there were a lot of oil and gas companies, so my guess would be that it came out of that. There were a lot of expat ladies, or expat families, that were living here, and they don’t really know how to communicate locally. They didn’t speak Chinese. They had just moved here. That time, wasn’t like it is now.”
SWIC has come on leaps and bounds since it was first formed, but it fundamentally represents the same values. Their mission statement can be found in their leaflets, but Christyne sums it up well during our chat.
“I think our goal with SWIC is to offer the gals support. These women are the anchors for their husbands and kids and they feel like they are running around, taking care of and solving all the problems. Grocery shopping alone can be a challenge in a new country where you don’t speak the language. Any additional special needs can make acclimation and adjustment even more difficult. I like to think of it as a soft place to land. You can come here and ask whatever questions. You can vent. You can get rejuvenated. Then we put you back out there.”
“We recently had an event and some of the new ladies were really struggling. If you’ve never been to Asia before, it is a culture shock. So we are there for them if they want someone to chat to,” added Yvette.
The group has grown tremendously over the years, which is reflected in the original name of Shekou Women’s International Club being changed to the Shenzhen Women’s International Club it is today. The amount and variety of activities now held offer members something interesting to do every day during the week.
“Every Tuesday morning 9:30 to 11:30 we have a coffee morning. It’s usually at the Hilton, except for the third Tuesday of every month where we go to the Marco Polo in Futian. At our Hilton coffee we generally have over 50 ladies, on some occasions more than 70. The Marco Polo coffee is popular with a lot of our members that live in Futian and have kids, but we also get a lot from Shekou. Generally, there are 50 ladies there.
There’s also a book club, which meets once a month on a Tuesday evening. Most of the books are, some fiction, some non-fiction, but right now we are reading one about a Chinese wife and American husband bringing up their son in Shanghai,” explained Yvette.
Mothers with young children form a significant percentage of the members in SWIC and they are well taken care of.
“So we have a large Mom’s and Tot’s group. That is a lot of support for those with preschool kids. Every week they make play dates. It’s every Wednesday or Thursday and it’s someone different every week. It alternates between different apartments. They had a big Easter party recently and you wouldn’t believe how many people were there. It was crazy,” recalled Christyne.
Yet that represents just a small fraction of the work SWIC puts in to arrange activities for their members. Christyne gave a breakdown of what happens in a typical week.
“Monday they have the hiking group. Tuesday we have the coffee. Wednesday they play tennis. Thursdays they usually do another hike. Monday and Wednesday they do archery. Friday we do mahjong. And then we sprinkle in other activities along the way. A couple of weeks ago we made dumplings in my house. We had 15 or 16 gals who came to my house for that. At the weekend we are going to the Opium War Museum.”
The women of SWIC also enjoy their parties and members can be sure to have a few large events to be arranged each year.
“We had our farewell lunch on the 22nd of May. It was a chance to say farewell for the summer and to those who were leaving Shenzhen. That was at the Westin. We had the ballroom there for a late morning lunch with a wonderful buffet and sparkling wine. 90 Ladies attended,” said Yvette.
“Then in September, we will have our welcome breakfast. A way for everyone to get back into the groove,” added Christyne.
Even putting the weekly activities and the great parties aside for one moment, SWIC is worth joining for the great discounts members can enjoy at more than 50 restaurants, bars, shops, spas, and other businesses you are sure to come into contact with during your time in Shenzhen.
“This is worth the cost of the membership alone. Because if you go to McCawley’s and get 5% off then it adds up over time. It adds up pretty quickly,” explained Christyne.
Charity work forms an important part of the work that SWIC does, so those who want to give back to the local community can find a platform to do so at the club. Yvette went into detail about the assistance they provide.
“We support three local charities; Captivating, Promised Land, and Sunshine Academy. We budget at the start of each year and we set out an amount for each charity. That can either be given to them at the end of the year or if they want to use it throughout the year. What we’ve also done this year are three coffees where – they usually cost 50RMB – the members have it free, but then we have a charity bucket. So we’ve raised 3 or 4,000RMB each charity coffee just by doing that.”
SWIC boasts a large membership, but it’s not one that is dominated by any one clique. As is stated as part of their mission statement, ‘there is no typical SWIC member. We are women of all ages, with or without children, working or not working for money, seasoned or first-time expats’.
“We have over 250 members at the moment. There can be up to thirty different nationalities on a bus during a trip,” explained Yvette.
When asked about the makeup of those 250 members, Christyne is keen to express the diversity. “I would say American is probably the largest nationality and then maybe French. Our mahjong group just cracks me up. We have women from Belgium, France, Korea, Japan, America, New Zealand, and Australia.”
“It’s amazing that everyone gets on so well. I don’t know anyone that is cross with one another. In 250 people, I don’t know if there is any bad blood or poor relations. Which is pretty amazing when everybody is from different walks of life,” she added.
Perhaps the best possible note to finish on is to simply leave you with a quote from the SWIC mission statement, which sums up all the good work the women at the club are doing.
‘The purpose of Shenzhen Women’s International Club is to promote social and cultural exchange between the women of the expatriate community in Shekou and throughout Shenzhen. This is done through meetings and activities in the spirit of mutual understanding and friendship.
SWIC provides a focus for social and cultural activities for members and is of particular value to newcomers by serving as a means to meet other expats, find resources, and share tips and information about living in this city.
We are a club run solely by volunteers. To give back to our host country, we continually support local charities through donations, promotion, and active participation.’
To become a member of SWIC, applicants must hold a foreign passport or be a spouse of a foreign passport holder. Membership costs RMB350 per year, with the year beginning in August.
For more information or to inquire about joining SWIC, you can visit their official website or check out their Facebook page. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shenzhen’s startup revolution is set to continue to with the announcement that WeWork will unveil a workspace at the start of September.
The American company built its success on providing shared workspaces for freelancers and startups and has spread to 283 locations situated across 75 cities around the world. Now, WeWork has targeted China as a market with massive potential and Shenzhen has been identified as the spot for its newest workspace.
WeWork will be located in Houhai in Nanshan, where it will be in good company surrounded by Chinese tech companies such as Tencent and DJI. The space itself will be made up of three floors with an open deck, lush greenery, and a spiral staircase acting as a centerpiece.
The announcement comes at the perfect time in Shenzhen with more and more startups popping up seemingly every day. WeWork will be able to offer a platform to work for these entrepreneurs and also freelancers as well as smaller companies and even divisions of large corporations.
Keep checking this space for more information as WeWork prepares to launch in September.
Address: China Construction Steel Structure Building, 3331 Zhongxin Lu, Nanshan, Shenzhen (南山区中心路3331号中建钢构大厦)
This article is originally found here: https://www.globalfromasia.com/makingstaffhappy/
Coming to Asia to do business? Hiring staff in Asia?
Then today we will teach you how to lose them as soon as possible. How to get them to quit and tell everyone you are a horrible boss.
Well, sure you shouldn’t do these things – but we want to get the point across by learning what you should NOT do.
Hope this is fun as well as informative.
Lose Your Temper and Yell
I worked on Wall Street for almost 5 years. I know all about high-pressure situations and getting yelled at. As a trading assistant on a junk bond desk, I was often on the receiving side of the yelling. They told me it was good for me to get toughened up.
Also I was in a fraternity in college. As a pledge (trying to join the fraternity) there was “light” hazing. I don’t want to make it seem like those newspaper article horror stories – but there was some sessions that were challenging.
They also said that was to toughen me up.
So when I came over to China and hired my staff in Asia, I was still in this mentality. I was still in the New York mode, fast paced, aggressive.
There were those “China times” when I started to lose my mind. Bank account transfer issues, miscommunication with factories, and countless other headaches. Just some things that a foreigner will face when getting accustomed to China business.
I lost my cool often.
That definitely didn’t make things better. Maybe even when I was on Wall Street that wasn’t the correct way to behave, but it seemed to work.
Not in China. The Chinese staff will see you as an unpredictable and “weak” minded person. And this is a big difference I have seen in business personalities between East and West. Chinese managers do not show emotion to their staff. Or to anyone.
If you look a Chinese boss, most of the time you’ll see they are calm and cool in the office. Never raise their voice, never show anger or even much happiness. It is kind of this calm overtone.
Chinese staff respect that more. This person is in control of themselves and their mind. Maybe it’s the Zen / Buddhist mindset culture. But a leader is more cool and calm in China.
Whereas a lot of leaders in the West (of course can’t say all) are more vocal and “flamboyant”.
Won’t say which is right. But back to this point, if you want to have your Chinese staff, as well as other staff in Asia, lose respect for you – lose your temper. They will get annoyed (whether they say it to your face or not). Especially when you complain about issues doing business in China. They may agree with you that it is cumbersome to do business here, but they don’t like to hear you complain about it over and more.
Take it from me, I’ve learned a lot from my own staff in Asia over the years.
Don’t Care About Their Family Life
I don’t have too much management experience in America in a corporate setting, so this may be true there too. But in Asia, to be a good manager means you care about the team and their personal / family life.
Especially if you’re a Western manager here, they will feel so happy that you even care about them / their family! But once you start to show a little bit of interest, they will share out in the open. You can do this in the workplace or at a company outing. Yet however you do it, even if it is a little small to you – means a lot to the staff.
If you’re in China, some examples are to ask about their hometown. Is their family living with them in the city (assuming your office is in a “big city”) or they are in their hometown “village”. This is a common question because a lot of Chinese moved to the big cities only in the last generation or two. A lot of the “older” family members didn’t have interest/desire to leave their hometown. It can go into some fascinating stories about their complex family structure. Then you can show some interest in their hometown, what kind of food comes from there, what their favorite hometown dish is.
While it might not be a smart idea to ask about their dating life. Yet if you have staff with their own family, it would be cool to know a bit about the family. Do their parents live with them? Will they go to hometown for Chinese New Year? As a new parent myself, I would love to hear how they are raising their children and what is important to them.
You can get creative here, and keep in mind China is a vast landmass! There are so many provinces with various cultures. You’ll start to learn that your staff all come from different backgrounds.
A little tip here, some managers try to hire staff all from the same province. Its not as big of a deal nowadays, but having a team that is all from similar backgrounds can make them work better together. They might have their own dialect (local language), as well as trust each other more than “other Chinese” people. Could be a fun topic to discuss with your Chinese senior management, maybe they’re already doing that and you didn’t know!
Main summary here – “care” about the Chinese culture. Care about where your staff has come from. Appreciate the hardships they have been through to get to the big city and build their career in your company!
Play The Blame Game
This is a tricky one that took me years to master – or well, maybe understand as I’m still a student of Chinese management myself!
Problems and mistakes happen, in life, and especially in a company. Let’s take website design as an example. Your company designs websites, and you are working on a new client’s request. After you make some tweaks, you show the client.
Client sees an obvious mistake in the design and becomes upset. You talk to the client and say you will resolve it. Getting off the phone, you go into the staff area and talk to the staff assigned to this project.
Going up to their desk, you put the paper down and say “this design had X on it, but they wanted Y”. You’re doing this in a public setting, with other staff able to hear (and most likely everyone’s listening to every word). The team member, let’s call him Rocky, gets defensive.
He’ll immediately deny it was his fault. Getting embarrassed as well, and maybe a bit aggressive, he will fight to the bitter end that it wasn’t his fault.
I remember when this happened to me quite a few times, I was so confused. As a Westerner, I’m used to going straight up to someone and saying “this is a problem”. They are quick to say “sorry, my mistake” and fix it. Or maybe it wasn’t their fault and they’d have a counter-argument. But it was pretty painless.
We’re talking about pretty minor issues here, not major company threatening ones.
So when I deal with Chinese staff now in a problem situation, I try my best to make it look like I am not blaming them. I try to be as indirect as possible and show the project and re-iterate what is wrong and not finger point.
I know, you may be saying – but if it is their fault, they should admiit to it.
I think it boils down to culture. And face. Especially if you do it in the room with everone else there, they will defend. They will treat this as a form of demotion. Even if you didn’t demote them, but in the “face score” in the company. Its hard for me to write down in words, but there just seems to be an invisible point system for “face” in the Chinese office.
Heck, maybe there is something similar like this in the Western workplace.
So the summary of this point, don’t blame and to solve the issue, just make it as non-“offensive” as possible. I know, it goes against the way you work, and the way your mind thinks. Just think and plan out the conversation before having it.
Be a Weak Leader
This one is a tough one for me to describe. My style is to be more of an open and level playing field kind of leader. But it is a dangerous act to play in the Chinese workplace.
We covered this a bit in the “Yell At Your Staff” point above, but it is worthy of its own section. On top of being “calm and cool headed”, you also need to show vision and clarity in the company direction and decision making.
If you look wishy washy, or you ask the staff to make decisions, it will not be a good outcome. They want the boss, the leader, to make the decisions.
This is why when you try to do business with a Chinese company, you need to wait for the CEO to sign off on almost everything. It is hierarchal and subordinates are not expected to make big decisions.
Again, this is a mind shift from your Western way of thinking and modern management training. At least for me, I enjoy having my team involved in the decision making process, and I don’t mind to admit I was wrong.
But in the Chinese workplace, if I am admitting I made a mistake, the team will see this as weakness. Just like the “blame” point earlier, if the boss admits fault – then the staff in Asia will question his or her experience and vision.
Tricky one here – and a reason a lot of Westerners don’t end up being the daily operations manager in a Chinese company. Most of the time a you need a local manager or a Chinese partner in the company who manages the staff in Asia. Things like this are so hard to describe – it’s a lot of indirect power measuring and balancing.
Take Positive Steps To Improve Daily
I’m no saint here, I have made many of the mistakes listed above. But the key is to be aware of them. To catch yourself making these mistakes and working towards improving.
Mediations is my favorite thing to do now to ground myself and act better under pressure. Especially away from your home country in China or other parts of Asia – we need to realize this is a foreign place. Respect the land and the people. Take a deep breath.
Or, if you really can’t handle it – hire an office manager and go back to your home country. No shame in that, many great business people have done it.
Startup mentor and entrepreneur, Daniella Santana, first arrived in Shenzhen in 2005. The vibrant Brazilian has high energy, a generous spirit and real insight into the challenges foreigners face operating a business in China. Recently, Peter Fenton, from Evertop Legal Solutions, caught up with Dany between her keynote addresses, master of ceremonies duties, and running her own business.
Shenzhen Party (SP): What was your first impression of Shenzhen?
Daniella Santana (DS): When I first arrived in Shenzhen, there was not much going on in the city. The foreign community was very small and most of the people were in the export business. In those early days, I left and came back to China twice, but now I have lived in Shenzhen for a decade.
Shenzhen is a great place to start a career. Compared to some cities, there are still plenty of great opportunities for those who can offer certain skills and services. If you come to Shenzhen to start a local business, you have a great chance to succeed.
The rapid development of the city is what impresses me the most. When I first arrived, there was only Line 1 on the metro, which was half the length it is now. Today, the metro has 11 lines. The city now has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, five-star hotels, and lots of business and networking events.
SP: You have a wealth of experience in logistics and assisting companies with OEM. Based on what you are seeing, where do you see the trade opportunities in Shenzhen at the moment?
DS: Shenzhen has diversified and developed. The city has had a great number of startups, both in tech and in hardware, working on all kinds of projects. In terms of trade, the market with the most potential is to import products into China for the country’s growing upper and middle classes. The domestic consumer market is booming, especially for high-quality goods and healthcare products.
SP: You facilitated the first TEDx event in Shenzhen. What interested you the most about the TEDx experience?
DS: TEDx was one of the best experiences of my life. A few years ago, I decided I would like to give a talk at TEDx, but I could never have imagined that one day I would help to put together, what has so far been the best TEDx event in Shenzhen. Held at the Shangri-la Hotel, we had 150 people attending the event, with top speakers coming from all over the world including London. It was the first time that the foreign community could attend a TEDx event in Shenzhen.
What I loved most was, firstly, to organize my first ever live TEDx talk, and secondly, to provide the foreign community with a TEDx talk in English, which for many of them would also be the first time they attended such an event.
SP: What do you see as the opportunities and the challenges for women in business in China?
DS: China is far ahead of many other countries and also gives more opportunities to people, no matter their age, race, or gender. As long as you can deliver a good job, you can have the world at your feet.
There have been few instances where I felt it was difficult to do business as a woman in China. Most of the experiences here have been overwhelmingly positive and have helped me to get to where I am in my career today. I don’t think I could have achieved what I did, if it wasn’t for China.
China inspires you to be an entrepreneur. There are so many opportunities to open your own business here, and this is very inspiring and empowering for women. In China, it’s very easy to meet and develop relationships. You may meet someone at a networking event today and next month you could be starting a business or working on an amazing project with this person.
For instance, we have the first international Female Book Club of Shenzhen since July last year. All the books are free and we read one book per month then meet at the end of the month to discuss what we have read.
All the books are meant to help the women with their development, both in their business and their personal life. This non-profit event has helped and inspired many women to start a business or to get back into business after many years of being a stay-at-home mother. For me, this is a great source of inspiration.
SP: You recently addressed the Cross-Border Summit in Shenzhen. What was it like and which topics did you address in your presentation?
DS: The Cross-Border is a great initiative from Mike Michelini, which helps entrepreneurs and business owners to fill in the gaps for those who have a cross-border business in Asia. It covers quality control, logistics, Amazon, import/export, among other important topics.
Additionally, I also recently participated in the first “women only” fireside chat alongside other amazing women who are doing incredible things in China. I was very flattered to be invited this year. We talked about the challenges women face in business, how we got to where we are, and we gave a few tips for female entrepreneurs on how to get started and how to pursue their dreams.
SP: You also assist with Startup Chile. What opportunities do you see Chile has in China?
DS: At Startup Chile, I mentor female entrepreneurs on manufacturing in China and business development for the Asian market. Startup Chile is the number one accelerator in Latin America, and my idea is to help as many startups as I can to not only enter the Chinese market, but also create their prototypes and products here and export them to Chile.
Due to the free trade agreement between both countries, products coming from China are more competitive in Chile, and the same applies to Chilean products going to China such as wine, blueberries, and avocados. Also, I have been working closely with the Chilean Consulate in Guangdong to increase awareness of Chilean products in Shenzhen.
Every Sunday afternoon at the Civic Center, you can hear the sound of Latin music. If you follow that exotic sound, you will find a group of people from all over the world dancing. Watching from the sides will be a larger group of locals, who are fascinated by the music and dancing, but are perhaps just a touch too shy to join in. If you do happen to be one of the spectators, don’t be shy. Just join in because that’s exactly what the group is all about.
The Latin dance classes are a free course started by Patrice Guilemond, a French engineer who has been living in Shenzhen since 2011. The classes are now organized by Oswaldo Loor, while Patrice focuses his time on his family after the birth of his child.
In the beginning, Patrice used to invite his friends to dance, but they didn’t know how, so he taught them. “At first it was between friends, but little by little, friends invited their friends and it grew like this,” explained Patrice.
According to Patrice, salsa, and dancing in general, is a great way to meet people and make new friends. It’s also an activity where you can have fun while also burning a few extra calories
He also said that dancing can help us discover our true self and gain confidence. “Of course at first, the shyness will prevent you to achieve your true potential, but you’ll see you’ll gradually raise your self-confidence and improve yourself.”
Oswaldo comes from Ecuador, the heart of Latin America, but he admits he didn’t know how to dance before coming to China. “In Ecuador, we learn to dance since we are little kids, but my only interest back then was reading comics and adventure books,” said Oswaldo, adding that he kept postponing learning to dance for different reasons.
“When I came to China, at the beginning I was bored with nothing to do as I didn’t have many friends, and someone told me there was a salsa party at Coco Park. I thought that in Ecuador I was a terrible dancer, but here for sure it would be ok, but after I arrived at the party I saw that everybody was dancing so elegantly, so again I was sitting at the party just looking at the others dance,” Oswaldo recalled.
Step by step, however, Oswaldo learned to dance better and better by attending different dancing parties across the city. One day, he joined Patrice’s course and the two began to invite more friends to join the classes.
“We do not only teach salsa, but also bachata, kizomba, and a bit of reggaeton, and we are looking to add other cool dances. We currently have more than 660 members in our group and every day it grows more and more. It’s scientifically proven that dancing works in the brain to make you happier,” said Oswaldo.
Currently, there are four instructors teaching the class in rotation, namely Adrian Esquivel from Colombia, Daniel Canosa from Spain, Jenny Wu from China, and Amga Gamboa, whose parents originate from both Colombian & Mongolia.
Amga grew up in Colombia where he learned to dance salsa, merengue and other dances with his family since he was a child. “Now I am dancing all the time, be it cooking, showering or cleaning the house,” said Amga.
For Amga, Chinese people are a bit shy. “When I first came to Chia, people just passed by or stood there watching us dance. But gradually, after they listen to the music and feel the passion, they fall in love with dancing and Latin culture.”
“Some people feel lonely, but when they dance in the group, they feel comfortable and not lonely anymore, some even find their life partner via dancing. Others come becaue it is a kind of sport for them, but later they realize that it’s also a hobby with passion and more feelings,” said Adrian.
Daniel said he fell in love with the atmosphere of dancing when he first joined a party in Madrid in 2014. “People from all ages were smiling, dancing…The vibe was amazing. From then on I started taking classes every week,” said Daniel.
“Salsa makes people happy so I want to spread happiness throughout the world. It’s also amazing to see the student’s faces when they are finally able to make a difficult step successfully,” said Daniel.
For Jenny, salsa is a kind of interesting and joyful dance. She wants to make more people join the salsa community in order to enjoy themselves.
Isabel, one of the students joining the group, commented that she benefits from the course a lot and always invites her friends to join.
“I met Adrian, one of the teachers from the Salsa Beginners Group, in the elevator of my building and he invited me to join the class,” said Ginevra, another student of the course.
“The activity is really well organized. The location (Civic Center) is beautiful. The classes vary every week, trying to cover different styles and aspects of Latin dances, from basic steps to musicality, interpretation, and self-expression,” said Ginevra.
Yannis from Greece found the class on ShenzhenParty.com and joined the group. “All the guys that run the salsa group – Oswaldo, Amga, Adrian, and Daniel – are great guys, and very helpful and willing to offer great advice. They are cool, upbeat, and fun guys. Like most Latino people I’ve met in my life, they are so optimistic and expressive!” said Yannis who started dancing salsa and bachata about two years ago.
Additionally, the group has now their own party, every Wednesday and Friday at the Mr. Wong Bar at the Hilton Futian. They also invite different instructors with rich dancing experience to share in the class from time to time. For example, Aaron from Colombia with 15 years of dancing experience. Stephanie and Vivian, who both have their own studios have also been invited. Also, Alex, a Chinese national that organizes salsa parties, also sponsors drinks for the class.
If you want to join their group, feel free to add Oswaldo Loor on WeChat. His ID is ‘osloor’ and his phone number is 13380386829.
I’m at my first stand up comedy open mic night in Shenzhen. A small, respectable-looking Chinese woman takes to the stage to do a set. I’ll be honest with you. She wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I imagined the type of people performing.
Within a minute, she’s made more dirty jokes than I can keep track of and she’s doing an impression of oral sex on stage. Half the audience bursts out laughing while the other half don’t know where to look. Either way, she has got our attention.
By the time she has walked off stage, she’s left us with one of the raunchiest sets I’ve seen live. As I was going to find out that night, that’s what the Open Mic Night organized by SZN COMEDY from Eastern Liberty is all about. It’s about providing local comics a platform to perform, giving audiences an alternative to the party scene, and ultimately, connecting those audiences with these comics in a meaningful way.
Earlier that night, I sat down with Mr. Ryan from SZN COMEDY, which organizes these open mic nights as well as monthly shows. Through our chat and the night that followed, I was introduced to an exciting and burgeoning scene in Shenzhen.
Whenever a new scene emerges in a city, it’s curious to know what pushed the people involved to make it happen. For Mr. Ryan, he couldn’t believe that a city like Shenzhen didn’t already have a comedy community.
“I was going down there to Hong Kong once a month for a while for an open mic, but I started thinking why a city like Shenzhen didn’t have something like this. I did a bit of research and found out that people had tried to do one-off shows every now and then, but there wasn’t any sort of stable organization that the comedians can count on being there.”
Looking around the open mic show that evening, the scene seemed well developed. Mr. Ryan was laidback as the venue gradually filled up with regulars who greeted him as they passed us at the bar. There was a relaxed vibe and everyone seemed comfortable in their own skin. In the very beginning, as Mr. Ryan recalls, it was somewhat more hectic.
“Back in 2016. Our first show was Cinco De Mayo in Frankie’s, Nanshan actually, and they gave us the opportunity to use that space. It was a free show and so everyone was really excited for comedy and it was Cinco De Mayo so it was some party. That day had to be around a hundred people. The crowd was kind of like a wild animal that night. So we learned. We got to control the crowd a little bit.”
Like any good comic, SZN COMEDY took some pointers from that first show and made some adjustments. Mr. Ryan found it made a big difference.
“We started selling tickets to the show in advance so people started becoming a bit more invested in the show. They are not going to just laugh when they are supposed to laugh, but they are not going to just be on their phones all show, because they paid to be there.”
One of the things I was most curious about coming into the show was the makeup of the crowd. I was wondering if it would it be mainly expats or would locals come down to the show too, and beyond that, how did the composition of the audience influence the type of jokes being told.
“I think that’s one of the things that people get excited with our scene. You’re going to see tonight that around half the crowd is Chinese and the other half is expats, and from that half, everyone is from somewhere different. I think that helps a little bit because it keeps everyone fresh, friendly, and open.
I just try to feel the room out when I’m hosting. If it’s mostly expats, foreigners, whatever you want to call them – us – then yeah, you just adjust a little bit. You can add more cultural references, but with Chinese, their laughs might come more from reactions and the expressions on your face and your body language.”
You can see what he means with regards to how different parts of the crowd respond to different material. One American comedian who has come all the way from Hong Kong performs a set of spot-on impressions packed full of pop-culture references. A big chunk of the audience is in stitches, but for others, the references are maybe too obscure. While later another American comedian gets up, this time from Guangzhou. His set is full of energy as he relates his experience of an expat living in China and the other sections of the audience find it easier to connect to what it is he is saying.
It’s interesting to talk to Mr. Ryan because while he started out in the scene as a comic traveling to Hong Kong to perform at open mic nights, he no longer sees himself as a comedian per se. For him, it’s more important for SZN COMEDY to provide a platform for local comedians.
“I honestly don’t do sets anymore. Our company focuses on bringing comics and crowds together. I think sometimes that fails because the people that are organizing are trying to be the stars of the show. Right now, everyone that is involved is comfortable because our organization doesn’t run like that. We generally just want to make a good product for the city.
We try to get the word out as much as we can about local comics because that’s really what this scene is about. We really try to grow the scene here with local comics.”
It’s an approach that has helped some local comedians start to make a name for themselves. There are a few comics who started out at open mic that are now doing paid shows in Shenzhen and elsewhere in the PRD area. When you hear Mr. Ryan talk about these guys, you can tell he’s genuinely invested in seeing them be the best comics they can be.
“Troy Lewis is the big up and comer in Shenzhen right now. Recently, he did a show in Shuiwei. Amazing show. High energy. He’s putting in a lot of work and it’s paying off. He was in the Dongguan show we did a few months ago. Dongguan loves Troy Lewis. Just to be able to say he’s part of the Shenzhen scene is great, because we’ve been doing shows together for years now.
Linus Leas is another up and comer. He came onto the Shenzhen scene a few months ago, but his stuff is very fresh. He was the opening act for the Dongguan show as well and the experience he grabbed that night can be applied to all the material he is writing.”
As luck would have it, Leas actually popped into the open mic night later that evening to perform a set and it’s clear to see why Mr. Ryan is so excited about him. Leas is Cambodian-American. As an Asian-looking expat living in China, he’s got a rich amount of material to mine. While hearing about the typical expat experience in China might be a bit too familiar for some, Leas occupies a space which feels much fresher.
Leas’ set is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening, but in truth, I had a great time throughout the night. Whether it’s a first-timer getting up on the stage or a comic working on material for their next show, there’s just a really relaxed and positive vibe going on. It’s something that Mr. Ryan touched upon when explaining why they do these open mics.
They offer something for comics working on their set. “There’s always some crowd to perform in front of here. And I think that’s what comedians need. They need reactions from a real crowd. You will see people doing new jokes, fixing old jokes. You can’t do that on a paid show.”
Yet it’s also a safe environment for those who are just starting out. “We try to get that vibe out there. Super relaxed, no pressure. If you don’t want to go on stage, then that’s cool. If you do want to go on stage, then we will kind of help you out.”
Meanwhile, it’s about offering something different for the people of Shenzhen. “I think people are trying to find an alternative to that party scene, and that’s kind of what we are. Yeah, we are still at a bar, and yeah, you can still get a drink, but nobody is out there to get drunk. It attracts a certain type of person too. Generally, the people that come here are good people.”
Ultimately, it’s about bringing together foreigners and local Chinese for events and to share something they are all passionate about.
“There’s too many expat-only events or Chinese-only events, and the only other thing that brings these people together are parties. A concert is another one, but how often is that? So in this scene, even if we only get 20 or 25 people, for a crowd for an open mic, it’s cool, because in any other situation that would never happen. So that’s something that we actually try to focus on.”
SZN COMEDY organizes an open mic night every Sunday at LUNA Bar in Shekou and every Thursday at MAMBO in Shuiwei.
SZN COMEDY also hosts regular paid shows. They are typically held twice a month here in Shenzhen. For more info, add wechat: easternliberty86
So I’ve found myself at a dinner party. The host seems like a normal enough sort, but then the guests start arriving. The first seems to be only interested in the neck of the host. Matters only become stranger when the next guest arrives. He seems to have a problem with his backside that attempts to suck in all those who are nearby.
Eventually, the host turns to the rest of us watching. “Okay, Simone is a vampire. I guess Aaron’s bum is a black hole.”
The rest of the group clap and cheer enthusiastically. Laura is right.
“Shall we play another game of Dinner Party?” asks someone in the group.
“Let’s do it,” says another and a new host exits the room while the rest brainstorm fresh identities for the guests.
This may seem like an unusual evening for most. For ZIP improv group, however, it’s all part of a normal rehearsal.
Let me rewind for a moment to the start of the evening. I’m there to interview the ZIP improv group. A band of young performers who get together regularly to put on improv shows all round Shenzhen. ZIP has kindly allowed me to join in with one of the rehearsals before an upcoming performance.
While waiting to meet Aaron, the group’s English member, I’m left to wonder what to expect from the rehearsal. I must confess that I did not know a great deal about improv apart from a few episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but I’d heard great things about ZIP from those who had been to their shows and I was eager to experience it for myself.
I imagined it would be a lot like standup comedy, but what I would come to discover is that there is a great deal more to it than that.
I meet Aaron downstairs on the street and together we head up to his colleague Malone’s apartment where the rehearsal is to be held. It’s your normal apartment, but some adjustments have been made for this evening. A large space had been cleared in the center of the living room that would prove important and there was a white board set up with a list of games that I would learn about later. By the window, I noticed a copy of The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual.
Some of the others have already arrived before Aaron and myself, and it’s not long before the apartment fills up with performers. There’s Malone, our welcoming host, along with his cat. Busy writing games on the whiteboard is Laura with Lost Star and Simone stood either side of her making suggestions. Brandi is preparing to warm up with Steven. Arriving fashionably late are Mario and Steve. Finally, there’s Aaron, the group’s token Brit bringing a welcome dose of English comedy.
At that stage, I do start to wonder if this is going to be awkward. After all, it’s a relatively large group of people standing up in front of each other and basically saying the first thing that comes into their heads. Couldn’t it get a bit embarrassing?
After a couple of beers and a few warm-up games though, everyone is relaxed. The games appear to be there to get people loosened up both with speaking and moving. One game involves a call and response of random noises while another is best summed up as a really intense game of tag.
The group is ready to get started and so I take a seat. Despite it being my first time and it was only a rehearsal, rather than a show, I had a great time.
It was funny. In the same way a standup show is funny. There was a fair share of witty comebacks, great one liners, and surreal improvisations.
But it’s not just funny. It’s also fun, and rather exciting too. It’s that sense that whatever is being said or done in that moment is being so for the very first time. Nothing is rehashed. Everything is original.
Furthermore, it’s fascinating to see these people working together. It’s to see them reacting and riffing with each other in the moment.
The games they play are great at getting the most out of the performers. They help throw up the type of crazy scenarios that improv performers thrive in, which in turn, the audience loves.
One such game is Storyteller. This game involves one performer assuming the role of an author typing out their latest novel. Two other performers are then tasked with acting out and adding to what the author creates, and in turn, the author reacts to how the story pans out. It’s a game full of potential for the performers to creatively tie each other up in.
Another equally widely creative game is That’s Not How You. This game can involve the entire group and begins with two performers acting out a scene. The other performers can tag themselves in at any moment. The aim is for them to take something that is said or done and totally twist the context without changing the actual words or action. This game brings some of the biggest laughs of the evening.
But credit where credit is due. As great as the games are, this is one talented bunch of performers. More so, it’s a cast where each person brings their own personality and style to the games.
What really impresses me, or what I really respect, is how passionate each and every one of them is about ZIP. It’s clear that these are people performing for the love of what they do. It’s heartening to see people pursuing their passion for no other motive other than to promote it to a wider audience.
By the end of the rehearsal, I have went from knowing next to nothing about improv to wishing the session didn’t have to end while eagerly awaiting the next show.
Improv is very much an inclusive experience. The performers are open and friendly, the audience is encouraged to get involved, and there is a feeling that everyone is in on the fun. It’s very infectious.
So what are you waiting for? Get involved with the one of the most fun nights you can have in Shenzhen.
For more details on upcoming shows or if you have any other queries about ZIP Improv, you can contact group member Aaron on WeChat (ID: Azzadoc).
If you’re thinking to yourself ‘Wow, this sounds interesting. I need to check these guys out’, then you are in luck! Don’t miss their upcoming Back to School show September 15th, 20:00 at Feliz Bar & Restaurant, Futian!
The International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen, is an exceptional school. Established in 2002, ISNS has grown from only 118 students to over 800, all of whom graduate and get accepted into top universities around the world. The graduating class of 2018 includes students who have acquired scholarships at such institutes as the University of Ottowa, York University and Queen’s University in Canada, and School of the Arts Institute of Chicago, Seton Hall University and the prominent institutions Stanford University, Northwestern University and University of California, Berkeley in the United States. Cumulatively, the ISNS class of 2018 has obtained over US$554,000 in scholarship offers up to April this year, which is testament to the outstanding academic achievements of the students.
In order to give back to the community which plays such an important role in the life of the school, ISNS has decided to continue their scholarship program for the upcoming academic year. There will be five scholarships available: four will be available to prospective IB Diploma Program (DP) students, and one will be available to a current student for the Diploma Program. Successful applicants will receive a full-ride and full-tuition scholarship at ISNS for the two years of the course, providing academic standards are maintained during the first year of study. This is a wonderful opportunity for both existing students and those considering a change of school for Grades 11 and 12, or for students new to Shenzhen.
ISNS is renowned for being the first full continuum International Baccalaureate school in Shenzhen. Throughout Grades 1 to 5 (the Primary Years Program or PYP) and Grades 6 to 10 (the Middle Years Program or MYP),it provides a unique combination of the New Brunswick curriculum from Canada and the world-recognised IB framework. Students completing the Diploma Program also have the opportunity to complete a New Brunswick Diploma as part of their studies. The key difference between a regular IB school and ISNS is that New Brunswick curriculum topics are used as the focal point for the IB units of enquiry, thereby expanding the areas covered to include provision towards the NB diploma.
The scholarships and bursaries provided by ISNS this year have been increased to an incredible total of RMB3,000,000. The school fosters a culture of inclusivity and cultural diversity, and by providing this service they ensure that their program is available to as many students as possible.
One of the fantastic aspects of ISNS is that all educational visits outside of the school are included in the tuition fees – or, in this case, within the scholarship funding. Every year groups from Grade 6 to Grade 12 take part in Service as Action and CAS trips (MYP & DP) or Education Outside of the Classroom (PYP) residential trips outside of Shenzhen. Destinations include Foshan and Yunnan Province in China as well as places which are further afield, such as Indonesia and Japan. These trips give students the opportunity to learn outside the school environment and help them to become true world citizens.
The students also plan and carry out a project to help the local or wider community as part of the ‘Service’ aspect of the IB framework. In Shenzhen students have worked with Captivating International, a charity based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen who support poor families and girls in rural China, and the Sunshine Academy which cares for and educates abandoned Chinese children. One project by Grade 11 students involved the students visiting Cambodia and building a house to help deprived local families. Other projects have included helping farmers in rural areas of China and discovering the culture and communities in different regions of China and South-East Asia.
In addition to the excursions away from Shenzhen, students also have the opportunity to take part in activities both within and after school. An extensive Arts program includes more than 23 different arts activities such as choir, dance and visual performances; sports choices are just as wide ranging, with the school participating in various inter-school events organised by Shenzhen International Schools Athletic Conference (SISAC). These events and activities are complemented by the state-of-the-art facilities at the ISNS campus in Nanshan, including a 200-metre outdoor track, a fitness centre, a 300-seat auditorium, libraries, fully-equipped science laboratories, art and music centres, wireless connectivity in all classrooms and interactive learning resources.
This year the International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen, will celebrate the significant milestone of its 100th graduating student. ISNS wants to give back to the students and give parents and wider families the opportunity to become part of the school community. Scholarships for academics, athletics, most-improved, all-rounder, and demonstration of the IB learner profile provide the perfect chance to join ISNS and grow to be one of their successful alumni.
For more information about the scholarships visit the scholarship and bursary section of the ISNS website or call the Admissions office. Alternatively, email the ISNS Admissions team at email@example.com.
Applications close on 31st May 2018, so get your applications in quickly for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Chinese Name: 深圳南山国际学校
Place Address: International School of Nanshan Shenzhen -11 Longyuan Road, Taoyuan Sub-District, Nanshan District, Shenzhen 518055
We hit a breaking point in our business endeavors. As a business owner, many don’t see the downs in the roller coaster ride. And often it is our emotions more than anything else.
What do we do when we hit a bit downturn in our global business?
This is a big challenge, and there are tons of answers depending on your specific situation. Today I hope to give you some tips and inspiration that have helped me in the down times.
Downtimes Can Happen in your Business Endeavors & Don’t Blame Yourself
Businesses go up and down. There are bad days where the stars weren’t aligned, potential customers were angry at the rain or snow, things happen. Try your best to remember that with good times, there will also be bad times.
Here is one of my favorite quotes for dealing with a bad day:
999 Dolly Parton Quote – to get the sunshine we need to deal with the rain.
So when you’re in a bad state of mind and business is down, remember that the bad times you get through will only make you stronger. And if every day is a good day, then by definition they would be an average day! We need to get through the bad to appreciate the good.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. The trick is to get through the tough times, as most people fail – or choose to fail – at those times.
Don’t Freeze Up – Keep on Truckin’
There have been some days where business systems were down. In a previous SEO tool company I was a partner in, the system was down for a day! The customer service was blowing up!
Those times, especially in a small business where a lot of work is already overloading the few people in the organization, you want to just freeze up and take a walk.
But this is what separates the good from the bad. The winners from the losers. Face the problem head on. Be honest with your clients, your team, and yourself.
When I lose money in a business decision, I try to remember – this is a one time expense. You can’t predict the one time bad expenses that come up. That is part of business. But you can control that you deal with them, and that you learn from them. And you improve your business systems for the long term.
On the other hand, if this business issue keeps coming up, it is NOT a one time expense and you need to address it immediately. That is your job as a business owner – to look at the big picture, step back and see the workflow of the company, and plug holes.
Look At Your Costs, Budget For The Tough Times
We should all be budgeting. Planning our recurring costs, and looking to growth.
It is our job to leave room for errors. For unexpected mistakes. If we don’t have some kind of safety net in the form of cash, then we’re in trouble.
Bill Gates saved a ton of cash on the books. 999 He did this so that he had enough money to pay for the staff for a full year without any income. That is extremely safe. But by having this safety, it allows us to think more long term, and handle the hiccups that come in our business.
Maybe you can’t afford to have a year’s savings to cover your costs without sales, but try to give yourself a few months. That way when you have these bad days, or probably longer… you can rest a bit more at ease.
Believe me, I have been at times where I was close to running out of money every week. It is so hard to focus when that is the case. Try your best to give yourself some runway.
Be Zen – Step Back While It’s Happening & Reflect
Controlling my emotions is something I learned while doing business in China. Heck, maybe I would have learned it if I had stayed in America. But in China when I got frustrated at business, most of my Chinese associates would tell me to work on controlling my emotions.
This has been a key difference in business practice I have noticed between East and West.
Westerners, we are much more open and straightforward about our emotions.
In the East, it is about not showing your emotions. Being calm and cool on the inside.
While which one is better is up for debate, I do like the idea of reflecting on how you are feeling. Look at yourself in the third person. Be a fly on the wall in the room, looking down at yourself. Why are you feeling the way you’re feeling?
I love to take walks when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. It kind of resets my mind. While walking, I try to analyze the situation and what I am thinking. Why am I upset. If the worst outcome happens, what is the worst result?
Normally when you think in this way, you can be more confident and cool when “getting back in the action”.
Cut Back On Things – Simplify
Here is where I have been weak most of my life. I love to do so many things. I love to learn. To be involved.
But this is like being a pack rat.
And your mind gets cluttered.
You need to write down all the things you’re doing and cross some of them out. Whether this is your personal life, your education, or your professional careers.
I always think of a story back in my college days.
I was in a fraternity, well I was rushing at the time. I was the stressed out “Mikey” with my backpack full to its seams and rushing from class to meeting to class. Josh, one of the older brothers, called me into his room at the fraternity. He saw I was so overwhelmed so he asked me:
“Write down all the things you’re currently involved in”.
I wrote down tons of things, like student government, investing club, and yacht club. He looked at Yacht club and asked me “do you know how to yacht”. I said no, but I was on the boat a couple times, I was the secretary so my role was not to run the boat, but to take notes and keep the meetings in order. He laughed that I was secretary of the Yacht club and had never sailed a boat.
So after looking at the rather long list, he took a thick black magic marker and ran lines through over half of the list. I cringed when he crossed off some of them.
After he finished crossing off a lot of them, he gave me the sheet back and said.
“I want you to come back next week and report back that you have quit all the groups I have crossed off on the list. Ok?”
I was so afraid to quit something I had joined. But I followed the instructions. I went into the groups and clubs he crossed off and told them I was too busy to help anymore and had to cut back on extracurricular activities. They accepted.
Within just a couple weeks, I noticed I had more free time! I was able to de-stress a bit. And the funny thing is, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.
Hopefully you reading this can list out all the things you are doing. Ask someone like Josh to review it and cross out for ya. Or if you are mentally strong enough, cross them off yourself.
Simplify Your Multiple Corporate Structures Around the World.
Now we’re getting a bit more relevant for this Global From Asia blog! We all are so excited to have an international business. The sexiness of having companies and operations in China, America, Brazil, London.
Yes, having global corporate structures and teams around the world is sexy! So exotic. James Bond style.
But when times get tough, upping all these company structures is exhausting. Both on your time, your brain, and your wallet.
I have had to bite the bullet a few times and close some companies within a year or two of setting them up. A UK company was one of them. It took us about four months to get it setup, between the company and the bank account. Mailing documents over the Atlantic Ocean a few times.
But we weren’t really leveraging it enough. A eBay account and warehouse weren’t enough reasons to justify the costs to maintain it all.
We went through the process of closing the operation down. Think some of the stock is still in a buddy’s garage in Ireland (this event happened back in 2008!). Or maybe I told him to give away some of those home bar goods as Christmas grab bags at his company.
It was a tough thing to go through. But once things happened and it was “back to being simple” the business went a lot smoother.
Like many things in life, simple is usually better.
Therefore, when business gets overwhelming – write down – or re-write from scratch – your business processes.
Keep Your Eye On The Ball
So many distractions in our life and our business. Ironically, just as I was writing the last paragraph my wife came in making a lot of noise and totally got me off point.
The trick is to keep your “eye on the ball”, or think about the goal. I have been writing more and more, and now I am documenting how many words I write, at which time, and what makes me more effective. I have found that writing blog posts like today’s helps reach people, help many people out, and also get new clients.
What is helping you get things done? I am quite sure there are a lot of things that get in the way.
Normally it should be about getting sales and additional revenue to your business. Making more money is always a good goal for any capitalist. So write down those activities that get to that goal.
Too many ways to make money, that means too many channels. Pick the ones that have the most ROI – return on investment – meaning either in your time or your money put in, the most benefit comes back.
Focus On The Business – Not Complete Business Structures
So many people talk to me about having an offshore company here, and a operating company there. All too often, they are talking to me about this when they are pre-revenue.
So, they are making things complicated before they even have any money coming in!
Did Google and Apple worry about their offshore structures when starting out? They never worried about it, as once they got big enough they hired smart MBAs and CPAs to take care of all that.
Stick to your core business – making sales of the product or service you are offering. And get to the point where you can hire an expert to take care of all the global corporate structure formations later on, when you’re on your yacht in Tahiti.
Think Long Term Over Short Term
You’re a business owner, and most likely, you’re a major shareholder as well as a major director of the company at the same time. That means you will get the biggest payoff later on.
The beginning is always the hardest. You need to outlast all the competition. You need to fight when everyone else is crying mercy.
Losing money in the short term may be hard, and sleeping on a folding cot in your office is not comfortable, but you’re a warrior. These sacrifices now will pile up and become an unstoppable machine in the market to take over your industry.
You may get in situations with staff where you need to pay out some damages due to cost cutting. You may have a bad client that doesn’t pay a big bill. You may get a lawsuit from a competitor.
These times suck for an entrepreneur and business owner. The world feels like it is upside down. I’ve been there, and you’ve probably been there too.
For me, the best way to get through it is to think long term. That these are one time events, that I can get past, learn from, and prevent in the future. It toughens you up, and you just got to get through them to enjoy the long term benefits of business ownership.
If you’re always stuck in the day to day of your operations, it will be hard to think long term and some of these events feel like the end of the world. Its tough, but we need to step back, look at our business as a whole, and make it happen. If it was easy everyone would do it. Its these tough times that define the winners from the losers. And if you can stick to your guns and get through this, you’ll be better in the long term.
How About You, What Are Your Tips?
I’d love to hear your tips for getting through those tough business days. Especially for those running a global business, trying to keep things in order can feel like plugging holes. A lot of these things haven’t been put in the text books, and that is what gives us the opportunity to get ahead in business and in life.
So I hope you enjoyed this guide. I’d appreciate you leaving a comment below with your feedback and ideas. Let’s make this a source where people can come to when they are overwhelmed in their international business endeavors!
The Kidz With Heart event presented by Captivating International and Shenzhen Charity Federation was a resounding success. Celebrating its 10th year, Captivating International has grown from strength to strength, developing charity projects around the world. This successful organisation was started in 2008 as a Hong Kong Charity with partnership links to Australia and the US. From there, founders Andrew and Julie Colquhoun, took the idea of helping impoverished children from remote villages in China, and over the years this charity work has extended to include seven different provinces throughout China as well as Kenya and Nepal.
The first of two annual events, the 7th annual Kidz With Heart event held at Shekou International School’s Jingshan Villa campus on Saturday 17th March, had more than 175 children from 29 countries taking part in a fantastic day of sports. A range of different events comprised the mini Olympics for children aged from 5 to 11 years old, with each child taking part in seven activities. Basketball shoot, soccer shoot, long jump, bean-bag toss, 3-legged race, a limbo competition and archery were a few of the exciting events on offer. Children and adults alike cheered on the participants and everyone competing received a T-shirt, a medal and a goodie bag for their efforts, as well as a great sense of achievement. The winners of each event also had the chance to display their country’s flag on the winner’s podium while being presented with their gold, silver and bronze medals at the end of the event.
In addition to the brilliantly organised events, delicious food was also on offer. Trafalgar from Shui Wei, Futian, provided hot dogs, burgers, kebabs and fries; Artisans Pizza provided – yes, you guessed it – pizza and Maximo provided creamy gelato, all at reasonable prices. You had to be an early bird to sample the ice cream though as it sold out before 11.30am! What was even better is that each of these sponsors donated 60% of their sales from the event to Kidz with Heart, and considering the roaring trade they did this should be a substantial contribution to a really worthy cause. Next time, which will be at SWIS on 24th March, Trafalgar and Artisans Pizza will be back with more savoury delicacies, along with ice cream from Alexander’s. Make sure you bring an empty stomach and a full wallet to sample one of everything and contribute further to Kidz With Heart.
To accompany the great food, the first Kidz With Heart event this year was sponsored by a plethora of other companies, including Raffles Medical who also hosted a first aid station at the event. The silver sponsors were AMROSIA Global Sourcing and Inspection and KidKraft; while Five-Star Sports, GPA Global, QSI, JEC British Early Learning Centre, NVD New Vision Display and First Code Academy were all Bronze sponsors. Of course, none of this would be possible without a location, kindly provided by Shekou International School with China Merchants Shekou Holdings and Jingshan Management Group. The next event will be sponsored at gold level by WIK Development and Manufacturing Service, making it WIK Kidz With Heart, and will be sponsored at silver level by ISNS and AMROSIA Global Sourcing and Inspection. Bronze sponsors will be GPA Global, NVD New Vision Display, Five-Star Sports and JEC British Early Learning Centre.
The second-to-none organisational skills of the volunteers organised by Gary Ellis from Shenzhen College of International Education (SCIE) at this first event ensured that everything ran swimmingly. Special thanks to Tom Simpson and Jenny Wu from SCIE who were MCs for the day. The next event will have volunteers from Shen Wai International School (SWIS), International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) and The Academy, with Tim Mitchell and Chu Qi starring in the role of MC.
We haven’t got the final figures yet, but Kidz With Heart is hoping to raise around 350,000RMB over both weekends this year. All funds raised go to a range of charity projects run by Captivating International, with a focus on helping impoverished children in China reach out for a better tomorrow. These projects are the Healthy Village Program which provides health information, medical checks and basic healthcare supplies to remote villages; Greenhouses for impoverished families; Vocational High School Scholarships which sponsor girls to finish high school; My First Job Program, sponsoring girls who never had a chance to go to school to become a chef or home services worker; and Pig Project where two breeding pigs are given to a single-parent family or families with physical disabilities in remote villages.
This is such an important cause that it’s worth popping along just to eat pizza or a burger and cheer on the children competing – even if you don’t have children yourself! And if you missed it on 17th March don’t worry, the next one is 8am-1pm Saturday 24th March at Shen Wai International School, Shekou. Registration has closed for this event but make sure you put it in your diary for next year – kids only!