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Living In Thailand Forum How much rent should I pay? Should I buy a car or bike? Does Tesco sell the cheapest toasters? Will Soi food poison me? Are insects delicious? Where can I learn to use a Thai Toilet? Should I marry a bar girl?

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Old 17-03-2010, 11:32 AM   #26 (permalink)
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lots of obstacles in starting a business in los . The more successful u r the more probs u seem to get from officials etc as smug farang says it should be a hobby that u can walk away from cheers
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Old 17-03-2010, 12:34 PM   #27 (permalink)
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If location is the deciding factor that would leave out Thailand.

For a restaurant it goes like this: Location, Decor, Price, Food Quality.

Thais aren't interested in the uncommon. Especially food.

But this is the answer you're looking for: To make a small fortune in Thailand all you most do is come here with a large fortune.
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Old 17-03-2010, 01:53 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FailSafe View Post
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Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
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Location, location, location is true in Thailand just like anywhere else- spend the extra baht for a better spot, even if it's rundown a bit or not as big as a place further down the street- you will more than make back the extra investment.
"Location, location, location" is not necessarily true. As you know tons of underground parties and alternative clubs are located in warehouse districts in cities in the West. But they draw big crowds.

One-off events that generally can't be held in more populated areas and specialty clubs are not really germane to the point.

Obviously location is not a guarantee of success, but it sure is a major consideration.

Using Thailand as an example, look at how (some) shops on large thoroughfares flourish, while their counterparts on sub-sois often flounder as no one even knows they're there.

Yes, there are plenty of people out there that can screw up a wet dream, no argument, but (depending on business type) location can be the single most important factor to success.
There are successful permanent restaurants in the most beaten down wino-junkie-prostitute areas, like the tenderloin, of San Francisco. The entire SOMA district of SF was started in an abandoned crime-ridden warehouse district.

The trick to business is figuring out how to profit from the least expenditure. Spending more money is not an original or even a successful strategy. Well capitalized ventures fail all the time. Telling people they are fools if they don't pay top dollar for a storefront on a major thoroughfare contains the hidden message that they should not even try. We could stretch this ridiculous argument further: If they can't afford a $5000 Swiss watch, don't even get a watch; or if they can't afford a Maserati, don't get a car at all; if they can't get their clothes custom-made in London, just go naked.

Maybe you know that little Japanese restaurant that is in the middle of the soi in CM between Chang Moi Kao and Thapae road just east of the gate, not even visible until you are right on top of it. It is always at least 30% occupied with regular as well as tourist clientele. A good food place can, in fact, create a location.

Last edited by wanderer : 17-03-2010 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 17-03-2010, 03:19 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wanderer View Post

There are successful permanent restaurants in the most beaten down wino-junkie-prostitute areas, like the tenderloin, of San Francisco. The entire SOMA district of SF was started in an abandoned crime-ridden warehouse district.

The trick to business is figuring out how to profit from the least expenditure. Spending more money is not an original or even a successful strategy. Well capitalized ventures fail all the time. Telling people they are fools if they don't pay top dollar for a storefront on a major thoroughfare contains the hidden message that they should not even try. We could stretch this ridiculous argument further: If they can't afford a $5000 Swiss watch, don't even get a watch; or if they can't afford a Maserati, don't get a car at all; if they can't get their clothes custom-made in London, just go naked.

Maybe you know that little Japanese restaurant that is in the middle of the soi in CM between Chang Moi Kao and Thapae road just east of the gate, not even visible until you are right on top of it. It is always at least 30% occupied with regular as well as tourist clientele. A good food place can, in fact, create a location.
You're offering exceptions rather than 'rules'- your 'Swiss watch' and other examples are, indeed, ridiculous (a cheap watch and an expensive watch both tell you the time, and in function are exactly the same- a good location will always make you more income than a bad one)- a better comparison would be comparing someone who succeeds despite having no formal education vs. someone with a doctorate who fails miserably- certainly it's not impossible, but who had the better chance to start out?

If you're going to open a niche business like a bowling alley, would you open right next door to another bowling alley that is already doing mediocre business?

Start me off with a good location any day over any other criteria (beyond a good business plan, of course- then again, a good location would be part of my plan to start with).
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Last edited by FailSafe : 17-03-2010 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 18-03-2010, 07:33 PM   #30 (permalink)
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medical tourism

Hi. I've been here 10 years. Started a business 5 years ago and only now am making money this year. I don't sell to tourists. It can be done but as you have read it is not the easiest road. The most important things are to love what you are doing , know when to fold, don't trust anyone, and be patient!

As you know many people come here for dental/medical work from the usa as it costs 5x more there and insurance/gov aid is not a choice anymore.

There are several people doing now and I'm pretty sure they are making a profit.

No overhead low cost internet ads like this site and the "other" site help you grab the customers..couple that with google adwords and you can get a worllwide presence.
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Old 20-03-2010, 01:35 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FailSafe View Post
You're offering exceptions rather than 'rules'- your 'Swiss watch' and other examples are, indeed, ridiculous (a cheap watch and an expensive watch both tell you the time, and in function are exactly the same- a good location will always make you more income than a bad one)- a better comparison would be comparing someone who succeeds despite having no formal education vs. someone with a doctorate who fails miserably- certainly it's not impossible, but who had the better chance to start out?

If you're going to open a niche business like a bowling alley, would you open right next door to another bowling alley that is already doing mediocre business?

Start me off with a good location any day over any other criteria (beyond a good business plan, of course- then again, a good location would be part of my plan to start with).
Have you got any ideas we have not heard before, that don't require a doctorate, and that might give people a reason for optimism?
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Old 20-03-2010, 02:52 PM   #32 (permalink)
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You're offering exceptions rather than 'rules'- your 'Swiss watch' and other examples are, indeed, ridiculous (a cheap watch and an expensive watch both tell you the time, and in function are exactly the same- a good location will always make you more income than a bad one)- a better comparison would be comparing someone who succeeds despite having no formal education vs. someone with a doctorate who fails miserably- certainly it's not impossible, but who had the better chance to start out?

If you're going to open a niche business like a bowling alley, would you open right next door to another bowling alley that is already doing mediocre business?

Start me off with a good location any day over any other criteria (beyond a good business plan, of course- then again, a good location would be part of my plan to start with).
Have you got any ideas we have not heard before, that don't require a doctorate, and that might give people a reason for optimism?
I haven't seen anything posted in this thread that required a doctorate- a good location (if possible) is a no-brainer- I can't believe you would argue that- yes, businesses in poor locations have succeeded, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

I haven't seen any originality out of you either.

I currently own three profitable businesses in Thailand (I do some real estate on the side, but I don't count that as a 'business'), and, except for the concepts themselves (forgive me if I don't go into them- I don't want to put too much personal information on a public forum), I followed basic sound business strategies and started with a well-thought-out business plan- they are also all in excellent locations- similar establishments in poorer locations don't do as well.

The one business failure I had was mostly due to a poor location choice- I learned from my mistake, licked my wounds, and moved on.

Other people I know who have gone with bad locations to save money or have more square footage have generally regretted it and wished they would have gone with the better location in the first place.

I'm speaking from my experience here- do you currently operate a business in Thailand?
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Old 22-03-2010, 10:47 AM   #33 (permalink)
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i am interested in the winery idea as we own some land near mugdahan and thought of starting a small distilery with the hope that we could bring a little money to the villagers by means of salary , oh yes we would also like to make a profit to give my wife an income when i eventualy depart this world
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Old 22-03-2010, 11:13 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Do something you are good at and enjoy.

Do not rely too much on Thais.

Keep complete control or as much as possible.

Keep your head down and remain inconspicuous.

Do not flaunt your earnings and manage your money efficiently.

Do not trust anyone and I mean anyone, Thai or foreign.

Make sure you are well acquainted with Thai business and labour law and keep as legal as possible.

Can't think of much else at the moment, that should start you off.
You have hit most of the key points there Beadle.

I would add a couple:
If you do not posses accountancy skills, retain one, I cannot over emphasize the importance of monitoring your financial status.

Depending on the type of business I would also advise retaining a decent Legal advisor, the amount of embezzlement that occurs here is amazing, almost every business I have had contact with here has had staff thieving one way of the other.
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Old 23-03-2010, 03:03 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I would add a couple:
If you do not posses accountancy skills, retain one, I cannot over emphasize the importance of monitoring your financial status.

Depending on the type of business I would also advise retaining a decent Legal advisor, the amount of embezzlement that occurs here is amazing, almost every business I have had contact with here has had staff thieving one way of the other.
In the Bkk post lawyers advertise work permits for about 6k baht. This would allow someone to run a business and work it themself without employees.

One of the keys to a good business is that the owner is on site. This has a way of galvanizing the energy in a place, unless of course the owner is an asshole.

In many cases especially in third-world countries, the owner sets it up then leaves the place in the hands of teenagers who know nothing and don't care. I remember one place in CM that had the same slack-jawed teenage girl working there. (This could have had something to do with the thorough hands-on study the expat husband of the thai wife owner was making of the shape of her buttocks.) This girl played one song by a two-girl Western group called M&M (something like that); when it stopped, she played the same song over and over and over all afternoon, as long as the owners were not around.

Small business owners all over the world seem to lose interest in being on site. Maybe the dream dies. Perhaps the key to this is that the business itself must not be its own purpose. It should be a means to a further goal, like total world power.

Last edited by wanderer : 23-03-2010 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:17 AM   #36 (permalink)
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In the Bkk post lawyers advertise work permits for about 6k baht. This would allow someone to run a business and work it themself without employees.

Don't you have to have a Thai partner who has a 51% share which essentially gives them access to the companie's monies?

This is what stops me, I do not trust anyone and the legal loops regarding voting shares sound.. illegal as in "nominees."
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:25 PM   #37 (permalink)
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In the Bkk post lawyers advertise work permits for about 6k baht. This would allow someone to run a business and work it themself without employees.

Don't you have to have a Thai partner who has a 51% share which essentially gives them access to the companie's monies?

This is what stops me, I do not trust anyone and the legal loops regarding voting shares sound.. illegal as in "nominees."
I am aware of this method, but I know an expat in Bkk who "owns" a popular food-service business using this method. Whether it is making money or not considering his overhead is another matter. He got into this business to get away from internet sales, but as of the last time I talked to him, he would also sell this business in a split-second if anybody offered. He has been running this business since 07 or 08, and I have not noticed that suddenly a group of Thai "nominees" swooped in. As I mentioned above, in the case of Zoe in Yellow in Chiang Mai, the expat owners (who also used this method) did suddenly disappear but that may have been because of the relative lack of customers. Zoe in Yellow attracted mainly the ngo crowd working in North Thailand. This guy in Bkk has attracted a different segment of the expat population. What this tells us is that you cannot base a business model on the ngo discretionary income. Ngo workers would not be big drinkers, so they would not keep a bar, like Zoe in Yellow, in business.

The Thai govt is constantly tinkering with the expat ownership laws and the method referred to above was specifically mentioned in the press as subject to scrutiny. But after the dust settles, lawyers usually find another way to cook the goose. A time of political termoil, like now, in Thailand would be the right time to take advantage of this, but strangely the Thai stock market is going up, so foreign investors are not worried.

In addition, there was just an article in the Cambodia Daily about how that country will allow foreigners to own more property. Cambodia passed this law to play catch-up with other Southeast Asian countries who are all liberalising their foreign ownership laws, so they can attract more foreign investment.
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Old 14-04-2010, 08:48 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Is real estate a decent option? I always thought of owning an apartment complex close to a university. Cheap affordable housing is always needed plus the female students would be pleasing to the eye come rent day.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:59 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Are there any laws in Thailand in regards to online businesses selling discounted genuine oem brand name mobile phones, not the cheap chinese copies.
I run this type of business in Australia online as an alternative to ebay where the business is purely an online store where customers place their order and pay for their selected item using paypal or direct money transfer, the phone prices are very attractive as they are close to wholesale prices once the customer pays, the item is then mailed to them by registered post. Has anyone ever heared of this type of business in Thailand, Would there be any forseeable pitfalls, and would you need a licence or business registration?
maintaining the business is by just using a website and direct email contact with the suppliers who are already established.............profit is made between wholesale cost and discounted retail selling prices
Can anyone see a problem with operating this type of business in the land of smiles?
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:46 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I'm rebooting this thread to ask about the steps, and licences, and generally update the info if anything's changed.

This stuff below is useful, but doesn't have any numbers about how much money needs to be put up either by a setup involving a foreigner, or a setup where all the parties are dual nationals.

Quote:
How to Set Up a Thai Limited Company as a Foreigner

Last updated: January 31st, 2015 | in Working
A Thai Limited Company is the most common type of all Thai companies. No matter if you want to run a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a coffee shop, a beauty salon, an online business, a spa, a motorbike rental service or most other business objectives that come into your mind – you will need to set up a Thai Limited Company.
Ownership Requirements for a Thai Limited Company
There have to be at least three shareholders owning a Thai Limited Company and at least 51% of the shares must be owned by a Thai legal entity (natural person or company). There are three exceptions to this law:
  • Companies set up by foreigners holding US citizenship using the Amity Treaty
  • Companies set up under the support of the Board of Investment (BOI)
  • Companies that only export products and services
A Sole Proprietorship company type is only for Thai citizens as it doesn’t allow to issue work permits for foreigners.
The 8 Steps of Setting Up a Thai Limited Company

1. Reservation of the Company Name
There are two basic requirements regarding the company name. First, the suggested company name cannot be similar to another company that has already been registered in Thailand and second, certain company names are not allowed (no vulgar words or phrases that are related to the royal family). There have to be three different company names submitted to the Department of Business Development (DBD), ordered by priority.
2. Filing a Memorandum of Association
Once the company name is approved, all shareholders must sign a Memorandum of Association (MOA) providing the names and personal details of every shareholder, the company’s address, the registered capital and the intended scope of business activities during the first year. The MOA and the relevant registration documents have to be submitted to the Ministry of Commerce. A company seal is required (1,000 baht) and other fees include 50 baht for every 100,000 baht of registered capital (minimum 500 baht, maximum 25,000 baht) for the Memorandum Registration, 3,000 baht for the Share Certificate Issuance and 1,500 baht for the Company Shareholder Registration Book.
3. Registering the Company
When all the shares have been reserved by the Ministry of Commerce, the next step is to hold a statutory meeting and a minimum of 25% of the registered capital has to be paid-in. Following that the Ministry of Commerce will issue the company affidavit, company certificate, list of shareholders and the company articles of association. The company can now start operations.
4. Registering Tax ID and VAT
Within 60 days after start of operations the company has to submit an application for a Tax ID Card as well as to register the company into the VAT System and to receive a VAT certificate.
The minimum requirement regarding accounting is the monthly withholding tax and social fund submission as well as the half year report and the annual audit including yearly profit-and-loss statement and the balance sheet.
5. Operational Licensing
There are certain licenses that have to be obtained for specific business objectives. These include: Food License, Alcohol License, Cigarette License, Entertainment License, E-Commerce License, Import License, Factory License, Internet Cafe License and Import-Export Card.
6. Social Fund Registration
Before you can apply for work permits for any foreigners working for the company (including yourself) you need to hire four Thai employees per one work permit being applied for and by doing so you need to register these Thai employees into the Social Fund System and pay at least a three month fee for them into it. The amount of these contributions is depends on the salary – employer and employee have to pay 5% each of the employees salary into the Social Fund on a monthly basis. More information about the minimum salary for Thai nationals you can find here.
7. Obtaining Work Permits
A Thai limited company must have two million baht of registered capital and four Thai employees for each work permit being issued to a foreigner. For more information on how to apply for a work permit, have a look at this post. Before you can apply for a work permit, you must hold a Non Immigrant Business Visa.
8. Opening a Company Bank Account
The last step in a Thai Limited Company set up procedure is to open a company bank account, for which the bank requires minutes of the meeting of the board of directors to open the account.
How to Set Up a Thai Limited Company as a Foreigner | Thailand Redcat
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Old 20-03-2017, 06:21 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainNemo View Post
I'm rebooting this thread to ask about the steps, and licences, and generally update the info if anything's changed.

This stuff below is useful, but doesn't have any numbers about how much money needs to be put up either by a setup involving a foreigner, or a setup where all the parties are dual nationals.

Quote:
How to Set Up a Thai Limited Company as a Foreigner

Last updated: January 31st, 2015 | in Working
A Thai Limited Company is the most common type of all Thai companies. No matter if you want to run a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a coffee shop, a beauty salon, an online business, a spa, a motorbike rental service or most other business objectives that come into your mind – you will need to set up a Thai Limited Company.
Ownership Requirements for a Thai Limited Company

There have to be at least three shareholders owning a Thai Limited Company and at least 51% of the shares must be owned by a Thai legal entity (natural person or company). There are three exceptions to this law:
  • Companies set up by foreigners holding US citizenship using the Amity Treaty
  • Companies set up under the support of the Board of Investment (BOI)
  • Companies that only export products and services
A Sole Proprietorship company type is only for Thai citizens as it doesn’t allow to issue work permits for foreigners.
The 8 Steps of Setting Up a Thai Limited Company

1. Reservation of the Company Name
There are two basic requirements regarding the company name. First, the suggested company name cannot be similar to another company that has already been registered in Thailand and second, certain company names are not allowed (no vulgar words or phrases that are related to the royal family). There have to be three different company names submitted to the Department of Business Development (DBD), ordered by priority.
2. Filing a Memorandum of Association
Once the company name is approved, all shareholders must sign a Memorandum of Association (MOA) providing the names and personal details of every shareholder, the company’s address, the registered capital and the intended scope of business activities during the first year. The MOA and the relevant registration documents have to be submitted to the Ministry of Commerce. A company seal is required (1,000 baht) and other fees include 50 baht for every 100,000 baht of registered capital (minimum 500 baht, maximum 25,000 baht) for the Memorandum Registration, 3,000 baht for the Share Certificate Issuance and 1,500 baht for the Company Shareholder Registration Book.
3. Registering the Company
When all the shares have been reserved by the Ministry of Commerce, the next step is to hold a statutory meeting and a minimum of 25% of the registered capital has to be paid-in. Following that the Ministry of Commerce will issue the company affidavit, company certificate, list of shareholders and the company articles of association. The company can now start operations.
4. Registering Tax ID and VAT
Within 60 days after start of operations the company has to submit an application for a Tax ID Card as well as to register the company into the VAT System and to receive a VAT certificate.
The minimum requirement regarding accounting is the monthly withholding tax and social fund submission as well as the half year report and the annual audit including yearly profit-and-loss statement and the balance sheet.
5. Operational Licensing
There are certain licenses that have to be obtained for specific business objectives. These include: Food License, Alcohol License, Cigarette License, Entertainment License, E-Commerce License, Import License, Factory License, Internet Cafe License and Import-Export Card.
6. Social Fund Registration
Before you can apply for work permits for any foreigners working for the company (including yourself) you need to hire four Thai employees per one work permit being applied for and by doing so you need to register these Thai employees into the Social Fund System and pay at least a three month fee for them into it. The amount of these contributions is depends on the salary – employer and employee have to pay 5% each of the employees salary into the Social Fund on a monthly basis. More information about the minimum salary for Thai nationals you can find here.
7. Obtaining Work Permits
A Thai limited company must have two million baht of registered capital and four Thai employees for each work permit being issued to a foreigner. For more information on how to apply for a work permit, have a look at this post. Before you can apply for a work permit, you must hold a Non Immigrant Business Visa.
8. Opening a Company Bank Account
The last step in a Thai Limited Company set up procedure is to open a company bank account, for which the bank requires minutes of the meeting of the board of directors to open the account.
How to Set Up a Thai Limited Company as a Foreigner | Thailand Redcat

Or other variables as: dealing with twisted Thai bureaucracy, integrating one's business into Thai social order/community, employee relations [Thai or others], etc....
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Old 21-03-2017, 05:54 AM   #42 (permalink)
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good points, yeah.
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Old 31-03-2017, 09:38 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Lots of great advice in here already, I especially like and agree with the "be invisible" rule.

I would add, learn Thai customs and practice them with your employees, it makes you much more relatable for Thais and breaks down the "you are and will always be a foreigner" mentally. Do small things that show your workers you are really investing in them and the business. This way they feel you aren't just here to make yourself successful, but them as well.

Also, is there a thread where farang can talk about possible business venture collaborations?
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Old 31-03-2017, 09:49 AM   #44 (permalink)
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A farang business owner should always ensure that his Thai staff are managed by a competent and trustworthy Thai placed in a position of authority. The further the farang distances himself the better - respect is automatically accorded and will be genuine provided he has a 'good heart' and is fair, although there should always be an element of fear.
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Old 16-05-2017, 08:37 PM   #45 (permalink)
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If things don't seem to be working throw more money at the problem.
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Old 16-05-2017, 11:46 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I'm thinking of starting a Pie business in Isaan, any tips and market research done by the esteemed Teakdoor market research experts suggest that the many Farang bars and restaurants have a pressing need for good old Hybrid pies, an Australian Masterchef cross between Aussie and Jamacian British pie skills of excellence.
Any suggestions on where to start an Isaan billion £ & $ industry just waiting to take off.
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Old 17-05-2017, 04:38 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seekingasylum
The further the farang distances himself the better
Businesses with hands-off owners are a receipe for failure

Personally I would not open a business in Thailand. Not with a physical location at least. Success would breed people interested in stealing your business and/or money.
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Old 17-05-2017, 09:32 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhaze View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seekingasylum
The further the farang distances himself the better
Businesses with hands-off owners are a receipe for failure

Personally I would not open a business in Thailand. Not with a physical location at least. Success would breed people interested in stealing your business and/or money.
Agree RH. My business has struggled due to my FIFO life. Also a Thai manager with an MBA means SFA.
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Old 17-05-2017, 10:17 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Agreed I have a business in Laos that suffers terribly when I am away. Every time I come back it is like I have to redouble my efforts just to stabilize it. To assume you can train Thais to do do your job or play your role in your absence is dangerous.

Particularly if you have a business such as a bar or guesthouse that operates on word of mouth. The word gets out you aren't there and people won't come anymore if you are away extended periods.
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