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How Time Zones Affect Global Businesses

When your biz spans the globe, it might not feel like time is on your side.

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This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Harry Tsao and Talmadge O'Neill wrap up work in Los Angeles, their employees in Shanghai are just getting started. "At 6 p.m. our time, it's 10 a.m. their time," says Tsao, co-founder with O'Neill of Mezimedia Inc., a 110-person creator of online shopping tools that had $7.4 million in 2005 sales.

For Tsao, 35, and O'Neill, 38, it's hard to have many real-time conversations with the company's product developers in Shanghai or its sales office in Tokyo. Unless a problem arises during the few hours their workdays overlap, resolution often gets delayed. "What would normally be resolved in a three-minute conversation can be postponed 24 to 48 hours," Tsao says.

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