So, it is 1978 and china is ranked 10th in the world by GDP per Capita. With a population of over a 1 billion as that then, which was more than the population of the top 7 countries ranked by GDP Per capita in 78, it begs the question, “how do you have all these manpower and still so lowly ranked?
20 years later, China moves up only 3 positions to rank 7th in the world by GDP Per Capita. Today, China is second.
The story of China’s transformation over the last 4 decades is one that has so many lessons for startups, business executives and just about anyone that is in business and is operating from the position of the underdog. China was once the underdog and it took china about 40 years of concerted effort to move from that position to become one of the biggest economies of the world.
So let’s get into the lessons there is for entrepreneurs
- Re-examining your ideals and mindsets: Ideals and mindsets are sometimes called tradition. China held on to ancient traditions on leadership, family, and self-sufficiency for centuries. And then there was a paradigm shift. The last 40 years saw china put on reforms that have opened its economy up to the western world, and the rest of the world. So what’s the lesson for an entrepreneur? you may find yourself holding on to beliefs and strategies that work for the mean time, but you know cannot get your business to the top. It may be time to let go of these old ideals and conform to new belief systems even if they are out of your comfort zone. China had to learn from the United States, UK, Germany, about trading with the world and look where it got them?
- Investing in manpower: China had human capital, more than any country in the world. This is a massive competitive edge they have been to hone over the years. They honed this advantage by investing heavily in education. In 78, China’s literacy level per 100 Child was 70%; now it is 96%. The lesson there for entrepreneurs is you need to always improve your human capital. If you are a sole proprietor, improve your skill set on as regularly as possible. If you have employees ensure that they take regular training that will improve their productivity.
- Defining your own style after learning from others: China was a communist state back in those days. The country decided practically everything that pertains to living in china, from jobs to XXXXX. The country still decides a lot but it has adopted a capitalist mindset for the good of its people. However, China didn’t adopt the free market models of the western world; it created its own form of capitalism. So as an entrepreneur, while learning from others is very necessary, you should also innovate to stay unique.