Things happen fast in China. If you do not seize the day, somebody else does and make the gain. We Finns tend to think too long and do not grap the opportunities when they are served on the plate. First we consider whether we are ready for the Chinese market, then we start to make the project plan and soon we realise that our moment has passed.
Lao Tsu once taught “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” If you are the first one in the market, you have the advantage of starting from the scratch and make it big. If your idea is great, it can be easily sold. If you wait for too long, somebody else gets to the market first and gains the first mover’s profit.
It is not enough that you have stepped into market with a great product once. “The development develops fast” is definitely the case in China! The government encourages the domestic innovation and invests heavily on science and product development. If you do not come up with new ideas and improve your products in full speed, you soon will be dropped out from the competition.
Confucious said: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” We Finns tend to think for too long and make too detailed project plans that do not allow the adjustments of the steps. Operational environment in China changes rapidly and it is difficult to foresee the exact route to success. Therefore it is more advisable to jump into competition, keep the goal and agilely change the route if necessary.
I feel the lack of speed of Finns is one of the most problematic issues in sourcing from China as well. We Finns have been taught that customer is always right. In China that does not apply. Finland is a small market and our order quantities are insignificant to Chinese suppliers. We want good quality at small quantity. We are lucky if we find a supplier for required products on those terms and at considerably low cost. However, the suppliers also want to proceed fast. Once you find the supplier that meets your standard, make the deal or you lose it. Once you start hesitating, you may lose your face and end up into unwanted clients’ list.
Finland won the World Championship in ice hockey by playing fast and furious. That is the nature of the game in China as well. Think fast, move fast and make the goal before the competitor does.