Dr. Philo Returns
[Dr. Philo has returned to write the blog after attending to 2500+ Bengali love letters, courtesy – Bengali Love Letter Olympic, with his permanent consort Mr. Sophia, just after Autumn Equinox – Wordsmith]
Starting a business in one’s hometown (in Bengal)
“A prophet is seldom respected in his homeland and never recognized in his hometown of his/her true worth.”
I. This is assumed that the person who is starting the business in his / her hometown was away from the native place for a considerable amount of time and was active in other places, possibly in a city, or even in a mega-city.
II. The motivation of starting a business in one’s own native town / town of birth / town of attaining youth may be mixed : rational, emotional, circumstantial, romantic or other unknown or unknowable reasons.
III. It is also assumed that the person either has a name there, or is a faint memory or almost a complete stranger – returning after a long time.
Presentation of the Business Owner
I. He can present himself as “আমি তোমাদেরই লোক” – I am just one of you. High Native association.
II. He can present himself as : “আমি তোমাদেরই মতো, কিন্তু আমি পুরোপুরি তোমাদের মত নই।” – I have many commonalities with you but I am different too, in fundamental way.
III. He can also present himself as : “আমি তোমাদেরই লোক নই। আমার একটি উদ্দেশ্য আছে আর সেটিই আমার প্রথম পরিচয়।” – I am not one of you. I have a mission and my first allegiance is to that Mission.
All of them have different “reactions” to business depending on the locale, nature of business and the specific hometown. In the context of Bengal, if history is of any guide, holding Option I as presentation has a very very slim chance of success.
I. Do not burn your boat. Like a Colonist, always keep other, farther destination and contact alive. Under no circumstances, the locale should have any idea that you are now “trapped” in the small town, just as they are. Small towns in contemporary Bengal, except a few honourable exceptions need very specialized adaptations. Doing business in a place needs double adaptation skills.
II. Create your own work-ethic and value system. Like a colonist, create your own work-ethic and value system and reward those who respect and punish those who do not respect. Polarize. Reward. Punish. Divide et Imperio.
III. Create an inner circle by granting “citizenship to your sovereign mental land”. Those who are worthy – who will be very few – build your inner network with them. For the rest, be fair and decent but create a distance. In short, you will be loved less but you are not starting a business to gather love from people.
IV. Create a Local Commander. From the worthy inner circle, promote someone as Commander / Leader and then vanish from the scene, after business has developed to a critical level. This will allow you to test the mettle of the commander and also to detect any conspiracy against the business and/or you. Nothing tests worth and intention of men better than providing them with power. In Bengali culture, power is seldom handled in a sane manner.
V. Deliver world class product and be vocal about it. Even in the age of always connection and network and so on, there is a “small-town syndrome” and this is is : we do not get world class stuff. Deliver this to them and tell about this and charge for this. They must be told that they are getting what you would have delivered in a metropolis. You are not cutting corners simply because they have no yardstick to measure.
Best of Luck ! Via Con Dios ! শুভ যাত্রা !