Text by Chu Jiwang
This March, I welcomed my long-time clients, Mr. Skorohod and Ms. Vitkon, from Ukraine. We were so happy to see each other again, and our chatting transcended the language barrier because we communicated with our hearts.
During our talk, Mr. Skorohod aired his grievances about how difficult it was to promote and operate his business while the international market was “under the weather,” and asked if I had a “secret” to boost the market.
“Wisdom!” I blurted out. “The market is like a gem wrapped inside a giant rock. Use your wisdom to discover and open it up.” Marketing is about art. It’s relatively easy to strum strings the normal way, but considerably more difficult to do so behind one’s back. I think my “secret formula” for thriving in the market is “reserved thinking.” Any product can be sold, the question is how. Ask yourself: Who would buy the product if it is promoted using traditional methods in an age of information explosion?
My Ukrainian friends were greatly inspired, and continued asking more questions. “How can we strengthen our business, be industry leaders, and attain an invincible position?”
Rather than answering directly, I turned to an age-old fable: the race between the tortoise and the hare. The ultimate winner is the tortoise due to his unremitting efforts. People often encourage the spirit of the tortoise, modest and unyielding, whilst discouraging that of the hare, overly confident and unreliable. “They have nothing to be proud of,” asserts the turtle. “I race the hare every year: first the grandfather, then father, now the third generation! And I will still compete with future generations. In fact, my skill lies in longevity.”
When I finished the story, Mr. Skorohod smiled. “Brilliant! The success of a business isn’t found in size or strength, but in persistence lasting a hundred or even a thousand years - eternal life.”
Another important factor for doing business with the Chinese is friendship between partners. No culture on the planet values interpersonal communication more than the Chinese, and friendship has always promoted Chinese business.