Advice to Turkish People Who Want to Start a Business in the U.S.

Cemil Ozyurt
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From the title, do not think that I will give you the advice of a guru. My advice depends on my personal observations and experiences. I have advice for people who are interested in the proposition that creating a strong community is possible by increasing the number of successful Turkish businesses.  
1-Do not keep thinking, “I am a Turk and so are you. Even if you don’t like my product or service, deal with it.”
2-Just laugh at people who say, “Many people tried it but none succeeded. You can never do it.” Work hard to prove nothing is impossible.  
3-Do not play to a specific ethnic group while doing business. Do not reduce your target to 200 or 250 thousand people in a country with a population of 300 million people.  
4-Do not make promises if you cannot keep them. Keep your promises. Etch in your mind that your most powerful credit is your word.  
5-Do not try to cheat the system (bank, tax office, customer) that you work with. Always be honest.  
6-Do not set sail to new adventures by depending on the word, money or promises of the people in Turkey.  7-Do thorough market research before importing something from Turkey that the U.S. does not have.
8-Do not open up a Turkish restaurant and try to teach Americans Turkish taste unless you are familiar with restaurant business. Do what you know well. Do not try to open up a gas station by depending on your wealth. It is not as profitable anymore as it used to be.  
9-Do not undertake businesses that do the same thing in a row of stores on the same street or in the same neighborhood, and that address the same target customers. Keep in mind that you divide the market by doing so and that you won’t last long in a divided market.  
10-Undertake a job as quickly as a Turk, be as disciplined as a German, but market like an American. Keep in mind that without marketing no one makes money in the U.S.
11-Do not start a business depending on someone’s word. Definitely hire a lawyer and make written agreements. If people tell you, “Why do we need a written agreement? Do we know each other by our signatures?”, tell them, “Let’s sign it and keep on knowing each other.”
12-Do timely accounting for your business. Try not to take your retrospective business to your accountant.  
13-Do not listen to people that say, “Stay away from Turkish people.” Their dollars are green as well.  
14-Do not focus on more than one job at a time. Do not forget that a stable but lesser gain will make you more money in the long term.  
15-Do not exploit your employees. Do not make them work with low wages by taking advantage of their legal status. Believe that any Turk that you give a hand would be useful both for the people around him and for his country.  
16-Do not work to live but live to work. Don’t be greedy. Keep in mind that it is your life that slips through your fingers and that you cannot take your money to your grave.   
17-Do not plunge into promises made during your visits to Turkey. Keep in mind that there is an ocean between you and Turkey and that promises can be easily forgotten.

And finally, try to be useful to your community when you hit the jackpot. Give somebody a hand and tutor him as your heir. Spread light around you. Have rich enemies instead of poor friends.

(July 2006, 21th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07