Friday, March 6, 2009

My two cent's worth for Expatriate Enterprenuers

This post originated from my comment to SanerComics's blog post on similar topic. Later it appeared in LankaPatriots and SanerComics himself promoted it to a new post.

- Value your workforce: Employees are the best asset, and they should be well supported.

- Make it a win-win: Make sure that your employees are always given a chance to build career in their desired path while making that plan the best use of them for you.

- Balanced Team: Do not hire 25 freshers and 5 guys with 10 yr experience [especially if you are dealing with graduates]. The balance of the team and right hierarchy would work like an oiled machine

- Do not preach Americanism: Some who lived in west [and received third degree brain wash] try to make the company a territory under US law. You ought to support SL way of life. One of my bosses almost lost a valued employee as he once said "show your F**King document" in a public meeting. This is not America.

- Be profitable: Some run centers for tax cuts in west. Some run them to have a base to visit SL. But ppl who work will find it hard to accept. You have an obligation to have a genuine business that means profiting and benefiting employees.

- Do expand: As I mentioned above some companies do not have big strategy. Employees suffer most.

- Do business no charity: Some western investors think that they do a favor by bringing company to its employees. They think IT IS DUTY of SL to support them. WRONG. You ought to come and start a company to earn money, other objectives are secondary.

- Do not cry: Some expat investors complain regarding anything from mosquitoes to check points. They are right, SL is not the most perfect country. But what is the point? SL remains SL. If you open a cafe in Saudi Arabia, you can't complain for having to close it on Friday.

- Be objective, do not let minor hurdles to take you down: Running business in SL is tough as systems are not best. You may face issues in customs, power supply, municipal, taxation etc. But tackle them in SL way and do not let them take over your goal.

- Be strategic: Do not expect your SL employees to run it for you. Usually they look at you with a higher view and respect. Generally they expect your guidance.

- Don't block: Some business ppl try to block the progress of anyone in order to keep things at controllable level. Do not, you're the end looser not them. They can find another job.

Today, I think that the best support you can do for SL is to start a company on your own or bring some investor. It should be profitable and you ought to be money oriented.


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  2. dear sujeewa,
    i happened to read your comment in the defencewire blog. i am so glad that (Sinhalese) people like you are still existing in this world.
    brave but be careful we are living among a kind of euphoric animals just after a kill

  3. Nice.

    I'm no expat but doing/trying this for the last 4 years now.

    Of course the hardest of above list to achieve is, Do Expand

    One thing your post missing on is the difference between service and product companies.

    Most companies here are service oriented based on outsourcing whereas the real challenge, risk, opportunity and prospects are in getting a working product company going. In a product company "Do Expand" have a different meaning than of a service company.

  4. Ashoka;

    Agree, yet I wanted to be as generic as possible. Details respected on their own merit. In fact I didnt mean only for IT either. If you make cars mine was to promote a car plant.

    Agree that words can say yet actions are far from simple.

    All the best. Let know how the "community" [which is us] can help.