We Can Learn From The Asian Entrepreneurial Spirit

Asian countries are slowly but surely edging out the competition around the world in nearly every arena. Not only are they growing economically, but they are also making strides in other areas, such as technology, education, sports, medicine, and health. How is it possible that America and the rest of the world has lost its competitive edge? What are the people of Asia doing that the rest of us are not?
Whenever I write an article like this, I always revert back to my patriotic way of thinking. I want to blame someone other than myself and my fellow countrymen for what has gone wrong. I want to “pull the punch” in my writing so it does not sting our readers too much. However, sometimes, although the truth is going to taste like a nasty spoonful of cough medicine, it is the only thing that will help us to become healthy again.

So how are the countries of Asia succeeding and how do I know these reasons? For one, I have traveled to and lived in Asia extensively for the last 10 years. I have seen firsthand things that a person that has never been to Asia would not experience without traveling to some of these countries.

The first major reason is that most Asian governments do not have policies that make the business climate so difficult that the efforts do not outweigh the rewards of business ownership. They encourage business, and do not tie their people’s hands with tough regulations, intrusiveness, and taxes. In most Asian countries, if a man wants to open a business, he just does it. Asian countries are lax on zoning, and, oftentimes, Asians run their businesses out of their homes, situating their business on the first floor, while living on the second and third stories of the building. If someone wants to set up a café or restaurant in their home, they do so, and their neighbors appreciate that they have a convenient place close to home to grab a delicious bite to eat. Asian governments often do not require licensing for small businesses, nor do they grind a business owner’s entrepreneurial drive to a halt with inspections, taxes, and other aggravations. Environmental laws are kept to a minimum and insurance costs are remarkably low because lawsuits and big payouts are not the norm.

The second thing is that Asians have an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit. A large majority of Asians either own their own business or are working for someone else, all the while saving money to launch their own venture. Most Asians would rather work for themselves instead of working for “the man”, which seems to be the complete opposite for citizens of the rest of the world. People in the West seem to be content to trade hours for dollars, punch a clock, not take any risk, nor invest the sweat equity it takes to be an entrepreneur.

The countries in Southeast Asia generally have unemployment rates of less than 3%. Thailand had an unemployment rate around .7% in 2011, with China and Japan at 4% . At the same time, the unemployment rates in America and in some European and African countries ranged from 10% to 21%, and as high as 97% respectively. Plainly, Asians are making business opportunities for themselves, and for a variety of reasons, we are not. We are restricted in business due to high rental costs, insurance, taxes, unemployment insurance, and other factors. In Asia, start-up, small-business ventures are still relatively inexpensive, allowing almost anyone to make a go at business.

Thirdly, Asians work really, really hard. They normally do not complain about long hours, and unions are not killing their companies with threats, strikes, and costly wage and benefit demands. Also, Asians have an unbelievably high success rate when it comes to success in business. They “make it happen” at all costs with hard work, innovation, perfection, dedication, and confidence. Asian families are known for everyone pitching in and working together in the family business. They often commune together, sharing possessions and responsibilities. Families in the West working and living together would certainly result in the police being called to keep the peace!
How can we learn from the people of Asia?

You need to have an unmatched entrepreneurial drive and spirit. Do not let the fear of risk and hard work deter you from making your life’s dream of being a business owner a reality. Realize that if you lose money, you can always make more later. You need to be prepared to work hard and realize that, as the owner, you need to be the first in and the last out of wherever you decide to hang your shingle. Also, our governmental watchdogs and nannies (politicians) need to take note and create more business-friendly policies that enable business owners to realize great profits so they see sustainable growth and success.
Owning a business is one of the most rewarding things a man can do in life, and I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to give the venture you have been dreaming about a whirl. Our country was built on the backs of small businesses, and you can not only enjoy great profits by being a business owner, but you can also help keep our great nation competitive.

July 17, 2017

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