Whirlwind China entrepreneur and friend Sam Goodman has a great and blissfully short book out on how to do business in China. I say blissfully short not because I did not like his book — I did — but because its shortness is one of its strengths. Most people wanting to learn the ins and outs of doing business in China don’t have the time to read an encyclopedia on the subject. They want the China business basics in a hard-hitting and relevant way. Sam’s newly released tome, Where East Eats West, is that book.
Sam is a somewhat rare beast in China: an experienced and successful expat entrepreneur. Sam started a chain of cafes in 1997, built those cafes into a real business and then sold them in 2003. His book nicely distills what he learned from those experiences.
The book consists of a series of many short informative, chapters. The book’s highest and best use is for the person seeking to start a business in China, but it also works for anyone looking to learn more about how business is done in China. I took comfort in reading how much of what has happened to my law firm’s China clients is not at all unusual.
Per the book’s website, reading the book will teach you the following:
1. How to keep yourself in check in the first few infatuating weeks and avoid becoming delirious with China Fever (and then how to cope when the fascination ends and reality sets in).
2. Just enough background about business in China to help you understand where they’re coming from when you don’t see eye to eye (which will happen more times than you can count!).
3. What to expect and how to deal with China’s vast human resources, a.k.a. the enormous talent puddle.
4. How to break down the basics of “face’” “guanxi” and so much more — so you get what you want for your business.
5. How to command respect (and avoid getting screwed over) by suppliers, vendors, and even your customers.
6. How to stick to your guns when the aforementioned suppliers, vendors and customers try to wear you down and bleed you dry (it’s not personal, it’s just business).
7. How to avoid offending your new friends and colleagues (a.k.a. a few touchy subjects to NEVER, EVER bring up).
8. How to avoid the most common scams to con you out of your money (if you do find yourself a victim, you won’t get much sympathy or help from the police or Chinese legal system, so you want to avoid these scams).
9. How to cover your butt before you face a business deal gone bad (and you probably will, at least once).
10. A roadmap to navigate the negotiating detours and potholes that come with Chinese business negotiations.
11. How to deal with bureaucrats and their constantly-changing rules.
12. The two most uncommon things in China – a friendly warning so you’re not caught off-guard.
13. The two most important rules to succeeding in the Chinese business market.
David Wolf over at the Silicon Hutong blog sums up the book perfectly:
Sam Goodman is the Harvey Mackay of China, a straight-shooting entrepreneur who has defied the odds and succeeded where some of the world’s largest and smartest companies have failed.
Get it for your Kindle by going here.