What I learned from Doing Business in China: Introduction
This is the intro page to a series of posts about what I learned from doing business in China when setting up a small export business with a friend.
Although the amount of business done with such factories wasn’t much, there are still some interesting stories and valuable lessons you can get out of them.
Useful to small exporters / entrepreneur expats in China
The information in this series may be most useful to small scale entrepreneurs who have little to no experience with doing business in China. If you are trying to source a product on a relatively small level, this series is for you.
It’s funny, even after moving up to dealing with the larger factories in China, you often run into many of the problems that came up with smaller factories. Hopefully just hearing these stories will save you a heart attack when they happen to you – at least you’ll be prepared for the ‘unexpected’.
Lessons from Doing Business with Small Companies/Factories in China
So what, exactly, can you learn from doing a little bit of business in China? Quite a bit, actually, including the following:
- Don’t trust what anyone else says
- Trust your instincts
- Don’t do business in China without someone you trust keeping watch
- You might not get what you ordered
- Things don’t necessarily get “lost in translation”
- Expect delays — long delays
- Expect mistakes — lots of mistakes
- If you don’t find a good supplier, keep looking
- Don’t give your customers false expectations
- Try not to lose patience
- You will lose patience
Doing business in China will leave you dumbfounded
If you do business with small companies and factories in China, you will encounter things that leave you absolutely dumbfounded. Your expectations will be turned on their head, and if you don’t quickly change them you will quickly drive yourself crazy.
Not all small factories or companies will cause such problems, of course. Yet the number is high enough that you should read this before sending money half way around the world to a factory you have never even been to – or lightly place your trust in the hands of people you have done a marginal amount of business with.