Small Business Practices
Have just finished another sojourn to the Land of Smiles and as always had a great time. It was my 4th visit so I am reasonably "tuned in" to the way the wheels turn but by no means would I consider myself an "expert" on the Thai or
indeed the "sexpat" lifestyle. Having said that I have spent a total of 9 years living and working in SEA over the years so I have a little insight into the lifestyle and thinking of the various local inhabitants. I do follow the comments
made on this site and all I can say is "WHAT THE HELL ARE SOME OF YOU GUYS THINKING!!" Please let me explain…
"The Butterfly Effect"
A common and recurring topic of conversation seems to be that the LBFM (little brown fxxxing machines) get a tad pissed off when you grab one for one night and then find partake of another's services the next night. There are all kinds of comments made on here about how they have "lost face with the other girls in the bar" and so on. What a load of bollocks!! They are peeved because your hard earned cash is going into another's pockets and not theirs. Pure and simple. I run a couple of my own businesses back in Australia, both of which are in a cut-throat industry and let me tell you if I could think of a way of putting it into all my customers minds that by awarding the next big tender to a competitor I would be "losing face" with my fellow workers, I would! What a brilliant piece of marketing propaganda this "butterfly" or "helicopter" line is. And don't so many of the punters fall for it. A lot of guys seem to lose sight of the fact that these girls are in business. Plain and straightforward, they are running their own small business. And you are their customers. And like any business proprietor you will use all means and methods to retain their customers, including this ridiculous "butterfly" bull dust that so many seem to fall for. By all means if you find a contractor that gives you what you consider to be exceptional service on favourable terms and conditions then don't hesitate to negotiate a more favourable rate for the awarding of the next "tender" to them, but for gawd's sake don't feel obligated to re-engage their services because of a fear of being accused of being a "butterfly".
"The Monthly Stipend"
Oh My Gawd! Please, please, please Buddha I have been a really good and pious and humble man during this lifetime. Please, please, please let me come back as a LBFM with access to email and a mobile phone in my next life. For I shall work tirelessly and dutifully during my long working life of 18-25 to set my business up with a pension plan that any Top 100 multinational corporation would be proud of. And my shareholders in my pension plan shall be satisfied with one annual general meeting per annum, at a location of my choice, with all expenses paid by them and with absolutely no books of account or records having to be kept by me. And I shall not be bound by any corporation or company code and shall not have to keep a record of shareholders or indeed even inform the shareholders of the number of, or identities of any other shareholders. And should any shareholder have the audacity to not pay monthly stipends within the due date I shall send them a select one of my 6 standard "please pay now or else this dire calamity will befall me" communications. Failure to pay upon this demand will mean that the shareholder is struck off from the share registry forthwith and shall not be re-admitted unless a "re-registration fee" is paid. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES GUYS!! If you want to send money on a regular basis to help someone in real need there are lots of charitable organisations that do great work throughout the developing world. But rest assured that the LBFM will unfortunately never qualify as a "Charitable Organisation" for taxation purposes. (although I am sure that one of them has tried or will soon… )
"Supply and Demand"
On the latest trip we managed to take in the sights of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui (a rolling stone gathers no moss). So all in all we were in LOS for the month of July '05. And things were reasonably quiet, especially in Phuket, which seems to be very slowly recovering from the big wave. But time after time after time as we lounged around in one of the salubrious establishments partaking of Mr Chang's finest brew and Mr Mekong's jungle juice and conducting negotiations with the contractors plying their trade we would see the same thing. At least 5-10 LBFM for every customer. Yep the old supply and demand curve was well and truly balanced towards the customer and away from the LBFM contractors. But did that stop 'em from trying to gouge their potential customers at every opportunity. Absolutely not! Gawd if I could instil this kind of positive thinking into my sales staff back here in OZ I would be retiring a lot sooner than is the current outlook! And some of the punters were again falling for it! Unbelievable! If you are remodelling your house and the building industry is in a downturn you can be assured that the quotes from the bathroom contractors are going to be really good value and you're going to get a good deal. Supply and demand. Yes there will invariably be a peanut who will quote high and try and bluff you into thinking that you should take his quote. But only the "woodducks" fall for that one. Quality tradespeople will recognise that the industry is quiet and will adjust their rates accordingly in order to keep the work flowing in. Well how many times did we see some "woodduck" being well and truly stitched by a smooth operator with a relatively outrageous price whilst all around him, other contractors of just as good quality and talents, sat around idly twiddling their thumbs. Supply and demand guys. If it is quiet then everything is negotiable. I am not talking taking excessive financial liberties with the LBFM contractors but everything is negotiable and if the contractor won't meet your price move on to another who will. After a while you will find that the law of supply and demand will balance out and you will find what is a fair price for a good contractor in the current market. But for gawd's sake at least take the time to sit back and survey the current market situation before you "do a deal". If nothing else it will keep rampant inflation down within the industry and help those that follow you from paying too much.
That's my 10 baht worth. By all means go to LOS and have a good time. It really can be a grown man's Disneyland. But always remember that no matter what, the LBFM are in business for themselves. And no small business owner has any respect after a while for a "woodduck". Real respect should always be a 2 way thing, respect the LBFM contractors and expect it in return.