February 10, 2009

Business travel

Do you travel a lot in your business?

If you are the type who are given the blank cheque of choosing your own travel mode in whatever type of class, you are lucky until you feel the pressure of the work as you globetrot all over the world. Some are given this liberty to travel as the business require it. The other type is to fulfill the need of their clients who are trying to break new market in faraway lands. Some will just do it to start anew. Some just couldn't travel unless their private jet is the one which transfer them from one place to another. Remember those CEOs of auto industry in the United States? Hmmm, no wonder their products are not well bought and well used. Even they are not willing to stake their business on them.

In my early days of being a lawyer, I was a trial lawyer. I have this one partner who is good in doing criminal trial and our office is in this small town called Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, just 50 kilometer or 30 miles of Kuala Lumpur. We don't have any other branches although we travel the whole of Malaysia which is in length nearly 800 kilometer or 500 miles. As we were a very lean business model. Basically, we do everything. We are the marketeer. We are the executor of the work. We manage the office. We do trials. We interview the clients. We visit prisons. We are basically THE FIRM. I mean, where we are then, that is the firm. We don't really need the office but as a base.

So, we have this one state down south called Johor Bharu where we travel nearly every other month which are  located 300 kilometers or 170 miles from our office. My partner was a former public prosecutor from that state and his contacts were good as his friends whom he had worked for nearly 10 years would tell him of any new criminal who needs representation (it is not a breach of any rule as we are only told of the case and we still have to meet and market our service). Some cases are referred to by the court itself as they always need someone to represent a client who cannot afford a lawyer especially in capital punishment cases. Yes, Malaysia is a place where the whole country subscribe to the death penalty in cases like drugs and causing death.

How do we travel in those days? I have this small car which was the first car which my parent kind of gifted to me as my graduation's gift. They actually was hoping i would stay in this small town but I then moved on. The car was my transportation to go around the town and then I also used it to travel inter-cities. We would drive out of the town at 4am, in which I would drive first then if I am too tired, we would change places and we would stop in a few places to pray and to eat breakfast. Court starts at 9 o'clock in the morning and we usually arrive just in time. By evening we would be back in our own town and sometimes into office doing work. I think I did drive a few time while I was sleeping. I know, crazy, but I am too stubborn to stop over and have some sleep before going on. Luckily and thank God I am still alive today.

That was my business travel experience. Today, my travellings are mostly for holidays and if I am doing any business travel, it will be on a plane somewhere to close deals. I did have a few years of travelling around the world when my politician client keep on insisting me accompany him as an excuse for him to bring his other 'business associate'. Read whatever you will in that...I may tell the story about it one day.

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