Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Lao companies struggle

These are just thoughts based on my experience so far, I would be more than happy if you can prove me wrong. After 2 years now living in Laos, I still see one big problems: Many if not most Lao companies struggle because they still don't know (or don't accept) international business rules. One business rule is for example the old roman "Pacta sunt servanda" - contracts should be safe. It means once you signed a contract, you have to fulfill. You also have to understand needs of customers. Now this seems to be a challenge in a country where planning rather then competing was the main business task. For the last 30 years people got what was available. That changed: Now everything can be available, and you have to find the right approach to your customers. This means secure supply, deliver in time, pay the bills. Simple things, still not common. Communication is still an issue, not technically. Emails are not answered, getting an appointment is a nightmare, and even if, there will be a delay anyway. What is called a cultural thing is actually is a lack of education in business rules. Laos is a developing country because of it's lack to develop enough - that includes developing business rules. I can't see much change coming from the so called business colleges, since these people are still juniors in a company run by an old guy who thinks he (or she) is the center of everything. As a customer, I don't beg for having business. Even as a possible business partner I would't do if there are equal opportunities for both of us. There is a reason why most successful businesses in Laos are still run by foreigners. Instead of blaming them for their success, it would be better if the Lao business community takes a look of the fence (or the river, literally). By the way: When I say Lao companies, then it includes also those run by foreigners or Lao-Falang, who came back from overseas in the old home country and sometimes strangely adapt to local practices very fast.

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