Monday, January 14, 2008

First thoughts on creating a business

The anti-conceptualists out there will start a business by finding a product and thinking I think there will be an opportunity for that. They will get a graphic artist to design a logo, set up a website, promote the site, and wonder why they have trouble selling, or wonder why they need to work so far for meagre sales. In their defence, can't they make sales by just copying everyone else.
This I have come to learn is the Asian approach to business. Business creation is about copying, building market share is about duplicating what has already been done. I see it all over Asia. That is why the western world is the creative centre of the globe and Asia is where its duplicated at low cost. This is done in a great many areas. For example:
1. Software code is copied and made the basis of a new product
2. Website stylings, products & services are copied and made the basis for a competitor. The difference - its cheaper and easier to copy than it is to develop original content.

You can't even sue the company because the company is an empty shell, the office is closed upon being served, and a new office is established elsewhere. Its so easy to avoid the legal system, to avoid being served with court documents. And at the end of the day, a great many companies just settle out of court.

Well thats one way of doing business I guess....but it makes you reflect on what is the function of business. The way you run your business will reflect your values, and if there is a disparity between the way you run your business and the values you espouse, then people will question your credibility. Of course many people are very good at managing perceptions. In Asia they have been doing it for centuries. Facts are illusive, people care more about perceptions. This was the basis of the 'village community' that has long since disappeared from western countries, and it will eventually disappear from Asian urban cities as well, as it is in Tokyo. Japanese business, before it became a create market place, used to copy western technology all the time. Note that now Japanese companies are very careful about the intellectual property they adopt overseas because they dont want 'their core values' copied by Chinese companies, as they were able to copy western technology. The west has not learned.

I guess there will come a time when consumers will be more critical thinkers and more discerning about the quality of service or product they buy. No doubt they are taking precautions today because of online fraud, but with increasingly commerce being done with foreign countries to secure cheaper services, might we expect this to occur.

You dont need to be original to create a business today. There are more resources online today than there was been anytime in the past to help you to set up a business, and a great deal of it is free, whether free advice from industry experts, online forums by enthusiasts or open source programs by online communities, there is a great many tools you can use out there for free.

A great many successful businesses just do something simple very well. In fact often its the orginator of a concept that doesnt make the money. The reason is that the originator spends their time trying to convince the market, its the developer of added value that finally gets the commercial benefits, along with copiers who expand with the market.

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