危 wēi danger
After training with Exxon Mobil, Raphael Tudela, the son of Spanish émigrés who had arrived in Venezuela penniless knew he wanted to work in the oil and gas industry. At the age of 34, while running a glass manufacturer he learnt from a business associate that Argentina was seeking a $20m supply of butane gas. Tudela sensed his opportunity and flew there to see if he could secure the contract. “If I could get the contract,” he said, “then I`d start to worry about where I`d get the butane.” However, after making the trip to Argentina from Venezuala, he discovered that his competition was formidable: he was up against BP and Shell. Surely the inexperienced entrepreneur would lose to the specialised & capitalised competitors?
机 jī opportunity
However, while on the ground in Argentina Tudela also learnt that the country had an oversupply of beef that they were desperately trying to sell internationally. Tudela made a clear offer to the Argentinian government: “If you buy $20 million of butane from me, I will buy $20 million of beef from you.” Argentina gave him the contract contingent upon him buying the beef.
Tudela then flew to Spain, where a major shipyard was about to close down from lack of work. It was a political hot potato and an extremely sensitive issue for the Spanish government. “If you buy $20m of beef from me,” he told them, “I will build a $20m supertanker in your shipyard.” The Spanish were ecstatic and delivered a message to Argentina through their ambassador that Raphael Tudela`s $20m of beef should be sent directly to Spain. Tudela`s final stop was in Philadelphia at the Sun Oil Company. “If you will charter my $20m supertanker, which is being built in Spain,” he told them, “I will buy $20 million of butane gas from you.” Sun Oil agreed, and Raphael Tudela fulfilled his desire to get in the gas and oil business. He has since built a billion-dollar business in less than twenty years.
TL;DR / How About…
- When talking to your customers asking what their greatest needs are, even if they’re not associated with your existing offer?
Read more in “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” by Mark H. McCormack