Your competition may not be satisfied to simply exist happily side by side with you in the market place.
Indeed, if they are a public company, it is their fiduciary responsibility to grow their business, and that may mean taking market share away from you until you are no longer viable. In other words, to kill you.
Watch out, forward, backward, beneath and above. Business is War. Work as if your life depends on it, as it does. Complacency has no ‘placency' in a successful enterprise.
Full of hope, we show our new toy creations to people who work for our partner toy companies here in the US, in the UK, Europe, Japan, and all over the world. Then we lovingly box and ship them out to their destinations for review, often under tight deadlines. The samples sometimes arrive just in time to make a last-minute presentation meeting.
All of this shipping of precious material is not without mishap, I might add. The samples can arrive broken. Our clients return the sample to us, and we find that the metal shipping case has been crushed from some heavy impact. We race to do the repair and ship it back out the same day, only to have another problem arise. Not enough time! Crap . . . we won't make our shipping deadline even if we race to the airport to make the last flight out . . .
Where money is being made, where money changes hands, where one has power over another for good or bad, there one will find these 'inducements'. Actually, one will not find them, most likely, as it is a business surreptitiously handled for obvious reasons. It has always been so. But need it always be so? And if not, how might change be effected?
There is a great cost to this way of doing business, and it is factored into the cost of everything we buy.
What percentage of the retail price does it represent? I have not read any estimates, but you can be sure that we all pay for it each and every day.
Who among us is so saintly as to refuse receiving, or to refuse giving such inducements - if that is what is expected, if you are to get what you need, if the job is to get done, or the inspection that you fear is to be avoided? Who? There are a myriad reasons to give and to receive such monies.
I have never been put in such a position, and glad of that. I do not want to dirty my hands by doing business in that manner, yet it is not a level playing field when others do not feel the same way. Unfortunately, this manner of business is the rule, not the exception, in our industry.
Everyone is on the take. I heard it again today from an experienced toy industry hand who has worked inside toy companies large and small. It's not the first time I have heard it said. In fact, I even read an article in a Hong Kong newspaper many years ago on just this subject.
To understand all of this one first needs to understand that the needs and desires of men and women are different, for many diverse reasons, on average and across cultures - not pertaining to all of course, but on the average.
In addition, the average person, if given the opportunity to receive what the British so delicately put as, 'inducement to do favor,' - bribes, cash under the table - will find it hard to refuse, especially when it is all around them and given as the established way of doing business.
From Los Angeles I spent 15 hours in the air and arrived in Hong Kong the next evening. I was met at the airport by a young man holdilng a sign with my name on it - only the second time that has ever happened, and last time it was after I had snagged my own luggage.
I was shepherded through immigration and customs without standing in a single line because I was a VIP, I was told. I may know a VIP or two, but the term hardly applies to me - but then, there was no need to apprise the people at the Hong Kong airport of that fact.
Driving into Hong Kong in the dark of early evening was like a dream. High-rises off in the distance seemed to float atop the water of the harbor and surrounding mountains, giving this city part of its distinct flavor. The city of 7 million seemed so vast as to make New York seem small.