I know that the business press has described the Internet based global marketplace for a decade now. Certainly I have any number of clients who’ve seen their small businesses impacted by a customer’s ability to search the globe for competitive products. Frankly, however, those of us who provide face to face services (which means about 70% of the small business community) have felt a bit insulated from the migration to cheaper online sources.
As a business coach, I have never thought that telephone or Internet based coaching was as good as face to face. 85% of our communication is based on body language. Tracking facial and posture feedback is a critical part of good coaching. I have the same belief as to business brokerage. I, like most brokers, insist on being in the room for ever meeting between buyer and seller. One reason is that I can see when one party is agreeing to something that he or she may not be happy about. Recognizing that frequently avoids a lot of grief later.
Two weeks ago I received an email that I almost erased as a scam. Someone in Ulaan Bataar (Outer Mongolia) was asking me to consult on business strategy. “Sure” I thought. “I’ll bet all I need to do is to send him my bank account number so I can have huge sums wired to me tax free!”
I have a love for Asia, and Mongolia isn’t the normal origination point of these scams, so I Googled the sender. He came right up, and looked pretty legit.
Graham Taylor is an expat Aussie who realized a lifelong dream of crossing Mongolia on horseback, and wound up living there. Like many entrepreneurs, he began a business with what he knew- arranging trips for others who wanted to travel to one of the more remote places on the planet. That grew into Karakorum Expeditions with employees and equipment for adventure tours and trekking. Then, like any true entrepreneur, Graham turned his experience to another venture, wine importing. Xanadu Fine Wines supplies finer wines to the region’s restaurants and hotels.
Graham had found out about me through my author page at Amazon, and contacted me to see if I could help him in making some decisions about his businesses.At first I demurred. What do I know about the challenges of being a business owner in Ulaan Bataar? But as Graham pointed out, the professional business advisory community between northern China and Siberia is somewhat underdeveloped. I had to agree that even help from about 8,000 miles away (I don’t know exactly. I tried to look it up, but none of the Internet distance calculators would recognize any spelling of Ulaan Bataar that I could come up with,) is better than no help at all.
So Graham and I have struck a compensation arrangement, and I’ve gone global. I’ll update you as things progress.