If you visit Kobe, Japan, you may marvel at the 3,911-meter-long Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, one of the modern engineering marvels that took ten years and the collaborative efforts of more than two million people to complete. The bridge links Kobe, which is on Japan’s main island of Honshu, with Awaji Island.

One of the marvels of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the installation of two heavy-duty caissons (large filled concrete blocks used as foundation for the suspension bridge) at the ocean floor sixty meters deep. Without the Caissons, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge could not have been erected in the treacherously turbulent waters of Osaka Bay. It took talent and an indomitable spirit of the Japanese engineers and builders, to make this engineering marvel come to serve the hundreds of thousands of Japanese traveling between Kobe and Awaji Island today.

Actions: The spirit of foundation

In marketing and sales, the foundation blocks are the understanding your competition, understanding yourself, understanding the markets, and the preparedness for changes. There is no immutable law except that the only constant is change. Many businesses and entrepreneurs dive into a business execution without first studying the terrain, the competition, and even their own products. Without a firm analysis, you are at best treading on your luck. As we all know, luck has to run out some day, often at the worst time. If there is someone who promises you quick results, step back, take a deep breath, and suppress your greed and listen to your own reason. If you cannot, have partners who think differently, or have good counsel by your side. You will thank yourself later, while your employees will thank you for saving their jobs.

Marketing and sales require a solid foundation to make things work. As with architecture, such as the building of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, a strong foundation creates a stable building or bridge, while a weak foundation will only end in disaster.

These are some writings we did in 2003 (published as “DotZen”, a paperback book that was widely publicized), and we extracted some which are still relevant today, in the areas of branding, marketing, sales, publicity, and business improvement. If we find some time outside that of helping our clients grow and taking a rest, we will try to write some more.

Copyright©2003 Seamus Phan & Ter Hui Peng. All rights reserved.