Tina Anisten: “Success is to be on time”
This is how the well-known Russian poetess Marina Tsvetaeva described the concept of success in her time. Briefly and clearly, and most importantly – straight to the point, with regards to our today’s heroine, an ambitious and successful entrepreneur, international business and supply chain expert Kristina Anisimova (pseudonym Tina Anisten).
For many, success in business is associated with huge achievement of goals and making corresponding profits. Each businessman independently chooses his own path and methods to achieve successful results. As you know, there is no ceiling in success. This is a ladder that you can climb as long as you have the strength, desire and time to “make it”.
Tell us how you realized that business is your calling?
I was a small child when my parents went into business. I clearly remember that I lived in love and prosperity until a tragedy happened in the family, first with my father and later with my mother. But despite the difficult family circumstances, I studied perfectly, I dreamed of speaking English fluently and doing something large-scale in order to be useful to people. A trip to the United States in 2003 under the program of the Institute named after Alexandra Lvovna Tolstaya (Tolstoy Foundation Inc., Valley Cottage, NY), organized for orphans with extraordinary abilities, further strengthened my desire to get a higher education and build my own large-scale business.
So, you became an entrepreneur right after graduation?
No, not right away. First, I studied at the Kemerovo State University with a degree in World Economy, on specialization of Foreign Economic Activity, where I spent a lot of time writing scientific articles and papers, doing research in the field of international business and supplies, helping to optimize the costs of enterprises in the region in the implementation of international contracts. As a certified specialist, I moved to Krasnoyarsk to gain practical experience. I started in the civil service, but soon realized that this was not my thing, so I got a job at WayGroup, a large forwarding company, as a specialist in import-export forwarding.
When it came to understanding that I was ready to work independently, in April 2013, together with my partner, we created a company that began to organize supply chains and bring Russian companies to the foreign market. True, a year later our paths diverged.
Has it somehow influenced the development of your future business?
Positively (laughs). SinoImport® began to develop quite quickly and efficiently. We have our own office, we hired more employees, and accordingly, we began to serve more clients. The company participated in major projects for the supply of goods to Russia from different countries. At the same time, I helped businesses defend their interests before the customs authorities in matters of confirming the customs value of goods, as a result of which I helped companies save more than 750 million rubles.
You have been living in the USA for 7 years. How did you get there?
At that time, I was already married, so my family emigrated to the USA in February 2016. We had to leave Russia because of our political and social views.
Was it not difficult for you to part with your brainchild?
Do you think that I could take it like that and leave the people with whom I worked to the mercy of fate? It’s not in my rules. I managed the company remotely, as far as possible, developed and strongly supported the direction of its activities. In order to minimize control by the management, I created an appropriate accounting system and a system for motivating the company’s personnel. To a greater extent, I became a business consultant in international business and supply chain and continued to develop my expert skills.
In addition to working remotely at SinoImport, what else have you been doing in the US all this time?
In April 2016, I confirmed Master’s degree in International Economics. In March 2017, in order to adopt international experience, I got a job at the main office of Rhenus Logistics (Manhattan, New York) as an international supply specialist. After the birth of my daughter Ariana, I researched the peculiarities of doing business with other countries and the problems associated with customs value. In February 2020, I created an author’s online course on training specialists of different levels to conduct foreign economic transactions, taking into account the requirements of international treaties and customs authorities of different countries. Since February 2020, I have been training personnel for importing companies, as well as building a management system for SinoImport®.
Tell us about your personal achievements over the past year.
On October 26, 2022 I got a certificate from the Harvard Business School in the Entrepreneurship Essentials, also I can mention my contribution to the successful development of SinoImport®, thanks to which the company’s turnover in 2022 amounted to 3.8 billion rubles (approximately 62 million US dollars).
Don’t you think that the direction of business in which your company operates is not entirely a woman’s business?
It does not seem so. In general, I believe that in modern society the concept of “non women’s business” has long lost its relevance. Look how many successful women are around who have achieved considerable heights in various fields. After all, success does not depend on gender, but on talent, diligence, determination and other valuable qualities of a particular person.
I’ll tell you more. It was women who brought into management methods and business culture intuition, flexibility, sociability, emotionality of communication, even concern for people and other features that many men cannot boast of.
All that you have named are vital values that serve the effective development of the business. And which of them do you consider the most priority?
Any life values are important, both for the individual and for the company as a whole. It is they which lead to success, shaping our goals and actions. It is impossible to convey to your employees’ values that you yourself do not live by. For example, I do not need victory at any cost. Although the result is important in business, I work for good, and not because it can lead to success. One of my top values is reliability, which I built into SinoImport®’s charter, which is how customers trust us with millions of dollars to procure and manage their supply chain.
Who do you consider your strongest competitors?
To be honest, I don’t really like the word “competitors” and I don’t see competitors in anyone at all. I see partners. If a company operating in the same direction as SinoImport® is larger, then I wonder how they managed to become so. If the company is smaller, then, if necessary, I will be happy to help it with practical advice. Still, to answer your question, I’m looking to set up a company in the US, similar to Japan’s Sogo Shosha. These are huge trading houses that do the same as my company, only on a national scale.
I can’t avoid a question about your company’s strategy and plans for the future.
In the short term – promotion in the US market of international procurement, customs clearance, efficient delivery and distribution. Today, SinoImport® USA manages the international procurement of goods for US companies. In 5 years, the company plans to enter all countries of the world in organizing procurement and provide jobs for more than 500 people.
The strategy aims to connect all the needs and opportunities of the American market with the needs and opportunities of countries around the world by creating a global supply chain system so that everyone on the planet has access to quality goods at competitive prices.
Will you share your secret of a successful business and a happy family?
In fact, balancing between one and the other at different times can be both easy and difficult. There is no special secret. You just need to be able to surround yourself with the right people who share your life values and aspirations, whom you trust and in which you are 100 percent sure, and finally, with whom you can be yourself.
Let’s take business success. It can be achieved only with a strong team, reliable partners and, of course, with the support of the family. Likewise in the family. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you are unlikely to succeed without the support of your husband and children, and without understanding from the team.
When you find such a balance, then all the barriers to achieving even the most ambitious goals are erased.