Till now, I still remember the story my mother told me when I was a child: There are two salesmen who are trying to sell shoes traveling to the same island at the same time. They are trying to use their great persuasion skills to make a big fortune. When they come to the island, they find out the residents on the island are pretty uncivilized, and none of them are wearing shoes. They are so disappointed because there is no market for shoes at all. One of the men decides to leave, but the other stays. He visited the chief of local tribe and shows him how comfortable it is to wear a pair of shoes. When the chief learns the fact that shoes can prevent sharp objects hurt their feet, he asks all members of the tribe to buy shoes. The salesman who stays then becomes very rich for selling shoes for all the residents on the island.
As we discussed in class, it is not customer’s responsibility to know their needs. It is more of our missions to create needs and help consumers realize it. Sometimes we need to see the potentials of certain products or brands. Only if we foresee the opportunity can we take control of the situation.
Now there are also two smart businessmen as the hero in the story. David Rossi and Fung Lam are two ambitious businessmen from the States. Lin grows up in New York and was a third generation from China. He met his business partner David in Shanghai, China and decides to open a restaurant together.
But by the time they are trying to form a business plan, there are so many restaurants or bars selling American food under the circumstance of globalization. Then suddenly, David comes up with an idea: sell American-style Chinese food to Chinese or visitors from the States!
As some of you may know, Chinese cuisine such as General Tso’s chicken and chop soy are not real “Chinese food” at all. So when they open their restaurant called “Fortune Cookie” in Shanghai, they are so worried there won’t be any customers. But the fact proves that their idea is so popular. Many visitors from the States come and say, “oh we really miss American Chinese food”. Now they are already looking for locations for their next restaurant.
Sometimes, you have to come up with an idea that seems not so reasonable, but it will work as long as it’s original. More importantly, needs are something to be created, not always naturally formulated by us.