The traditional Chinese wisdom put special emphasis on being enlightened with Dao, which is the Way of Universe and life. Above it matches the way of Cosmos, and below it matches human nature.
When we understand the Way, we can apply it to everything in our life, such as business and commerce, tea ceremony as well as flower arrangement. But how to apply it effectively needs to be addressed. Many Chinese entrepreneurs, in particular, worship all things foreign, like MBA, which is far from perfect when comparing with the traditional Chinese Way of doing business. So we Chinese must have a set of business management theories that are in line with the Chinese cultural genes as well as the historical genes. There must be both the Way and the Mean.
Let’s talk about the seven business models at all times throughout the histories and across all the countries with the benchmark of three immortality establishments, including humane conduct, works and deeds, as well as words.
Humane conduct is to establish merits; works and deeds are to establish high moral values; and words represent complete system of theories.
An entrepreneur who can be called a business model must be a philosopher. He must have his unique concept of business management with above mentioned three immortality establishments.
Let’s start from a legendary figure, Fan Li from the Spring and Autumn Period, whose achievements were unmatched in the ancient history of China. He became a legend for his success in business, so he was later worshipped as the God of Wealth. Fan Li was an important political and military advisor to Goujian, the king of Yue. Along with Goujian, Fan Li was once a hostage of the state of Wu. After several years of captivity, Yue was finally able to destroy the state of Wu and became one of the Five Hegemons of the Spring and Autumn Period. After the victory, Fan Li reached his political peak and was honored as a general, but he made a remarkable decision, he resigned because he said that King Goujian of Yue was a person who could share poverty, but not wealth.
According to the history, he chose to live a secluded life with his wife Xi Shi in somewhere of Shandong and started his business from scratch. He was very talented in doing business and soon made lots of money, but donated them all and started all over again. By the fourth time of re-starting business, he was already fabulously wealthy and known as Tao Zhu Gong. He also assumed the prime minister of Qi, governed the state with productive achievements and chose to retire again. His life was nothing short of perfect. His wisdom was from Taoism and he might be a re-disciple of Laozi. As he acquired the essence of Taoism, he could be far-sighted and forethought of anticipation.
The unity of the Cosmos and human beings is to use the Way of Universe to manage business. He used to look up the Dao of Cosmos, so he would know what would happen and the following influence. His business target was also different from others. For example, when great drought came, other people began to sell water, but he prepared boats instead. Others found him strange and illogical, but he knew in advance from the Way of Cosmos that rainstorm was coming followed by flood that would make boats extremely useful. He had long been prepared.
Fan Li also made substantial contributions to commerce and his business spirits were very creative. He invented the ancient scale with one hook and one weight, and 1 catty equals to 16 tael. Why not make 10 tael for every catty? It was justified. The ancients were based on Sagittarius consisting of 6 stars and Big Dipper consisting of 7 starts, adding up to 13 stars, plus three stars of fortune, prosperity and longevity, so 16 stars altogether represent 16 tael. There were stars on the weigh beam and the ancient scale was written with Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. So half a catty equals to 8 tael. His design was elaborate. It reminded all the merchants never gave short measure when selling things, or it would negatively affect their Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. This is Chinese ancient Way of business. Fan Li from the Spring and Autumn Period, was the representative of Taoism.
Please stay tuned for the next episode!
Original opinion article by Himalaya Vancouver Gfarm – 2020/12/20