Several months ago I began a new journey that started by simply asking a question. What that question led to was a new direction that could potentially make my business grow to where I dreamed it would be.
It all started earlier this year (2009) when I was doing my usual search through LinkedIn. I came across an interesting profile for a business in the US that was working with China in the healthcare industry. The CEO, Ruth Lycke, was the first stroke survivor to be treated in China. Since then her company China Connection has been working to coordinate medical services from China with people in the US. I was interested to learn more about her story since she was based in the Midwest. How did she come to seek treatment in China? What caused her to start her business? How easy was it to create an international company doing business in China? My thought was it couldn’t hurt to ask so I contacted her directly. To my surprise, I soon got a reply via email welcoming my connection and wanting to answer any questions I had.
Within the week, Ruth and I connected via phone. I had the opportunity to learn about her journey and the opportunities that her circumstances had created for her. She had been working on China Connection since 2004 and had built a solid reputation, as well as good connections in China. I explained my services to Ruth and asked about the potential in China. She felt there were wonderful opportunities there for my process and then surprised me by offering to assist me with building a practice in China. I was cautious (and Ruth will attest I still am) about taking my business this direction. In an instant I had gone from inquiry to potentially opening up a whole new opportunity. Curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to learn more. We agreed to meet face to face so I could address any questions I had plus weigh out the possibilities of making a move like this while reducing as much risk as possible.
Our meeting was both informative and reassuring. I left with what I believe to be a great opportunity: build a business where I can work to break down the barriers between two cultures that very much want to work together. Doing business with Asia is going to be necessary to build trade. China has the fastest growing economy and the greatest challenge is our cultural differences. (I am purposely avoiding political discussion here and will only say that if we want someone else to change, we must educate and provide opportunity. That goes both ways.) If I can help bridge a gap, who knows what opportunities that will provide in this country as well as abroad.
So I recently opened an office in China and am in preparations to make a trip there in the coming months. Are there risks? Yes and they have been calculated. The point is this is one step to bringing a dream to reality. I welcome the challenge and look forward to reporting more in the future.