Getting Things Done in China

In china business by Michael Michelini17 Comments

As I scramble to make things clear and smooth before I depart on Thursday, as always, a few speedbumps come my way…..I get a call today from the real estate agent who I rented this location from, and he is speaking to me in Chinese (so I try my best, but have to pass the phone off to my friend, Raine) – turns out he is looking for a FEE – as he said he knows I am subletting my place out and that I have to pay him, threatening this and that. I hear the story from Raine…and I want to explode. Already I’m running around like a maniac these days packing, fixing, communicating what I need to….I don’t need this extra stress…. So I am preparing for the fight….the new tenant moving in is already in the place, he calls me up as well. THINK MIKE, THINK. “how do I get myself out of this situation…..”…..hmmm. Hold your breath, don’t explode…….you can do it. Calling up other people who may know what is going on, Jojo tells me that the real estate agent also called her today, earlier in the morning. She acted like she had no idea what is going on, telling the agent that she no longer works at Shadstone and she isn’t aware of anything going on. Guess thats why the agent came after me. Did a neighbor say something, nosy people probably did. Or jealous. Anyway, driving up (yea, Raine has a car, cool!) to the place, I gather information. I tell the new tenant this agent is trying to get cash out of me, maybe even him, and that to be aware of the situation. So then its clear, I already have a friendship with this tenant, I didn’t want to sublet out to someone I didn’t know. So its basically he is managing the office while I am traveling outside of the country. And, yes, that is what is happening. Its not a transfer of contracts or legal things – its a friend taking care of my office while I’m away.

Thats it, that is the Chinese way. Get things done. Raine told me not to worry, not to get stressed, and it would all work out. I guess this is my mistake when I first came to China…didn’t leverage this relationship and way to use words to get it done.

I am attaching this photo Marshall from Shenzhen Standard News sent me. It is about 15 minutes from me here in Shenzhen. Its a COMPLETE knockoff of 7-11…..just 7-8 instead of 7-11.

JUST GET IT DONE, right. Amazing. …….look at the people hanging out around it, eating bbq , living life.

I put this in the same post as my subletting issue, because its based on relationships. Its based on people taking care of who they want to. I am sure there is a way to justify this is OK to do, that is different from 7-11 brand…but my god…so similar. Marshall and I were laughing about this one.

Another story is someone, I won’t name names, was talking about opening a coffee shop, but had no idea how to run a coffee shop. Immediately, the idea is to have a friend get a job in a successful coffee shop, work there 1 year, learn how to operate the coffee shop and then leave to start their own…..

THIS IS WHY its so hard to run a service business. I mean, sure this happens everywhere in the world. But it seems like a way of life in China. Learn, get paid, leave after you have learned all you can learn. But its PRACTICAL. And that is China – practical, process oriented, get it done, don’t think about emotions – its business.

Anyway, sharing some reflections and thoughts for today…another day in China.

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  1. Feel the rush baby. Smooth way to manage that situation with the tenent

  2. i’m somehow doing my own small party organizing business as well. tho the risk’s small but i still feel the stress…can’t imagine how can u take all these, u r amazing 😉

    add oil n u’ll b fine n feel better when u leave, trust me 😉 x

    1. Author

      See Lammy, its good you are trying to make a biz from what you enjoy doing its great

      but stress… comes……and we all have to find out how to deal with it.

  3. Sorry to hear that …hope the problem will solve smoothly ..Even as a chinese ,,sometimes i feel things are hard here,,,good luck good luck! Don’t worry,everything will be fine:-)

    1. Author

      HAHA Jane, thanks for admitting things can be hard here……I guess its because the country and economy is changing so fast (in a good way) there are many people trying to grab as much money as they can, any way they can.

  4. i quite understand. well, i am afraid it’s difficult to run a business outside hometown everywhere in the world, and in China, especially when you have no guanxi(you know what’s that, don’t you?). so that’s beyond your control and explosion solves nothing.

    i am not familiar with real estate, but i just searched the internet and seems if you want to sublet your office, you have to get consent of the landlord. but some pages suggests it depends on the conract. do you have a lawyer, Mike? i suggest you find one, better to know both languages.

    don’t let this spoil you mood. good luck and have a nice trip, Mike!

    1. Author

      yes Nigel,
      I knew it wouldn’t be easy, its hard to run a business in one’s OWN country, never mind outside in a foreign country, where you do not have many relationships and contacts…..I guess I knew what I was getting myself into.

      But I do have some pretty good relationships, I have tested some ,and lost other relationshps, but i think its better to have QUALITY relationships rather then many “average” relationships.

      I think this office situation will work out, I cannot worry at this moment. Too late

  5. my best cure to stress is partying n meditation hohoho

  6. Dude, stop writing, go to work.

    1. Author

      Hi Billybob,

      i get people like you come and go, people always say to delete your kind of comments – but i really don’t care i’ll pst them.

      i guess u have time to read this crap blog and comment on it, so i hope you get some benefit out of it

      if talking crap on my comments makes you feel better for yourself, then great

      wishing you all the best in your life


  7. Hi, Mike! what does “didn’t leverage this relationship and way to use words to get it done” on paragraph 2 mean? does it mean that you didn’t consider language difference when you came to China?

    1. Author

      hey Nigel,
      in paragraph 2 – I mean that when I first came to China i tried to do everything with contracts and “by the book”. Always people told me to not worry and to just make thins more informal. And to do business with friends or friends of friends. I didn’t do that for a year or two, I tried to do everything “by the book” – but I finally listened to those around me, and “leverage relationships” – meaning working with people I know and letting them help me.

      I like billybob, he keeps things interesting.

  8. yes i always go for the extremes hoho

    silly billybob pops like a bubble ;P

  9. Pingback: 在中国把事情了结 | 迈理倪的中文博客-美国人在深圳

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