At the beginning of this year, I left the Australian Navy and became an entrepreneur, setting up a successful business in seven days with just $500. But not satisfied, I wanted to make history by becoming the world's smallest multinational. In a total of 12 days I will have travelled the globe, encompassing Tokyo, Paris, London, New York and San Francisco in an attempt to secure overseas clients and getting my one-man-band Sebastien International in the record books.
So what does a day in the life of a one-man multinational look like in the virtual world? It starts with setting up offices in the city of your choice, be it London, Tokyo, New York or Sydney. Through a simple interface you can book the catering for your lunch meeting in London then get a personal assistant to attend your conference the following day in New York. You can review the latest updates to the presentation even if your battery goes dead because all your files are securely stored in the cloud. And these services can be done via one streamlined business control panel cutting admin and cost.
While going global in a week might not be for everyone, it's nice to know you have the option. It also means you don't have to be big, to be big.
Currently, I'm half-way though my trip. Tokyo was always going to be a challenge. As I speak no Japanese, I had to do business through an interpreter. The result was a series of meetings opening the door to distribution deals in Asia.
Business in Tokyo is very humbling. Sharing business cards is an important respected ceremony and meetings are more about the relationship, with final details being sorted later.
London had highs and lows but I secured a very important deal using social networking sites like LinkedIn. I now have an agent in London to arrange distribution to top UK supermarkets and pharmacies. However, my progress was hampered by London-wide tube strikes - nothing we could do about that during our international travels.
In Paris I used the virtual office to work on administration and proactively set up meetings for my next leg in New York and San Francisco. I have also completed some market research as this is something I can only do when I am in the country.
With only the US to go I'm still on track to complete my world record attempt. The Tokyo and UK meetings are helping me to secure this title and I couldn't have done it without the support of Servcorp Virtual Office. In the US I intend to secure one more distribution channel, satisfying the challenge I set out to do - the next step will be to submit documentary evidence to the Guinness Book of World Records to secure my title.
Find out more about Sebastien's challenge at www.smallestmultinational.com