Celebrating local entrepreneurship; a business lesson from IndonesiaCat McCarthy
I just got back from a short migration north to Bali for a few weeks over Winter (it was warm and lovely and amazingly bliss, sorry!). It was something we did annually pre-pandemic to escape the relentless consumption of our family business (and to remind my husband and I of our travel ladened pre-business partner life…). One of our favourite things to do when sipping on lychee gimlets and bintangs was to watch how the local plumbers work; let me tell you roof plumbing in Uluwatu is slightly more terrifying compared to roof plumbing in Point Cook!
A lot of businesses in general are still closed in the tourist hotspots such as Kuta, which was very sad, but many larger or likely, foreign owned, establishments used the time to renovate and reopen bigger and better.
What I noticed was a plethora of big, brash floral notice boards congratulating businesses on their opening or reopening. And what was most interesting was that the boards were given from other businesses. One of the boards I read was to a new supermarket, from another supermarket. A competitor. Congratulating a competitor for opening?! The giving of the flower board, or Papan Bunga in Indonesian, to a competitor is an act of collaboration over competition.
Businesses being proud of other businesses, congratulating them for starting out, reopening, surviving and thriving. In western culture, we celebrate pregnancies, weddings, graduations, birthdays… wouldn’t it be amazing to embrace a little of the Papan Bunga spirit when our friends, family and hell, even competitors, start or reopen their businesses post-pandemic? Extravagant floral arrangements may not be necessary, but a simple social media encouragement comment or sharing of a business page, google review or recommendation on where to access support could be useful and simple options.
Harvard Business Review printed an article last year that I read at an airport (funnily enough) about competitive collaboration which resonated with me, and I was reminded of it when I read the flower boards.
Even if collaborating with a competitor isn’t an option, congratulating is always an option, and I’m going to start giving a little more of that Papan Bunga type love when I see an entrepreneur coming out of the starting blocks.