About seven years ago, I started working with a small group of young men who were living in a remote part of Mongolia, with no identifiable sources of economic activity besides goat herding. These men had been able to attend some sort of higher education and after returning home were searching for ways to make a living in their home town.
What they had to offer was in-depth experience and know how of the wild Mountains where they had grown up, some basic English and unbridled optimism. With this, and the breathtaking unspoiled beauty of their native land as assets, they asked me to coach them while they tried to develop an adventure tourist business in the region.
We decided to develop a long term vision , which would be based on the core elements of building any new venture, starting at zero, including a plan, budgets, proper financing and necessary investments. This included building a small hotel, and acquiring operating equipment. It also included definition and acceptance of leadership, clear lines of communication, and sense of responsibility.
It was a rocky road, with many practical hurdles to overcome, and the project it is still developing, but this year over 300 foreign tourist will use the services of their company, and after a dozen years, the project is a clear success.
The key success factors were:
- Share the vision that the lack of readily available material assets can be a strong motivator to achieve an objective
- Let optimism override caution when little is at risk
- Do not think too readily that one understands a problem, when the subject is new and unproven
- Do not stop inquiring even if the subject becomes personally uncomfortable