Exporting our expertise.
The real future of the underdeveloped countries of the world lies in our ability to get good old-fashioned American business principles -- honesty, integrity and profit -- into their business systems.
In a few weeks, Janusz is coming to visit. Janusz Bromboszcz is a trade magazine publisher in Poland. The name of his princpal magazine is "Medyczna Rehabilitation." In English, Medical Rehabilitation. In the last five years or so he has become quite successful with his publishing business. Now he is visiting the U.S. to meet with other trade publishers and to find partners for expansion plans in Europe.
Six years ago, Janusz was a Polish physician working in a hospital in Krakow. His specialty was physical therapy, and he was eking out a living for his family (a wife, two kids and some in-laws), earning about $800 per month. The family lived with even more extended family members in a grand old house that had been theirs for generations, situated on the Vistula River that runs through Krakow.
Janusz had learned to read and speak English in school, then spent some time in England, where he greatly improved his language skills. When he was still practicing medicine, he would read American medical journals, and thought it would be wonderful if similar journals were available in Polish so that more doctors could learn from them. He envisioned starting such a magazine, but a number of roadblocks stood in his way.
Everybody in Poland was not ready for free enterprise. Decades of communist rule still affected people's thinking. Democracy was an idea to be debated, but not many were actually making something happen. At the time, however, there were a few Polish nationals -- already successful businessmen in other countries -- returning to the homeland of their fathers or grandfathers, carrying precious principles and experience. They began starting businesses, found success, and provided a great example -- and even greater hope -- to the Poles, including Janusz Bromboszcz. But he needed more details, more knowledge of the ins and outs of the magazine business.
I met Janusz as part of a contingent sponsored by the Peace Corps, which had an office in Poland designed expressly to help people like Janusz get the information they needed to follow their dreams and start businesses. I got involved about six years ago, after a wonderful, longtime employee of ours named Kay got her Ph.D. by going to school nights. She decided to join the Peace Corps and do something worthwhile. She went off to Poland, met Janusz, understood his dream and suggested to the Peace Corps that perhaps I could help.
Poland was wonderful. I went twice. Krakow was spared the bombing of WWII, and her museums and art were preserved. The buildings of Krakow were centuries old, and evidence of the greatness of previous generations was everywhere. Sadly mere decades of communism had left the old city surrounded by grotesque stands of huge block buildings, apartment houses where people were taught not to think for themselves, but to live for the state. When the communists fell, the buildings and much of the dependence on the state remained. These people needed new ideas. Or an old idea refit for the times.
Janusz was always way ahead of us, like a student who saw the light even before the presentation was complete. His idea moved from a vague dream to logical thoughts on paper. A business plan began to take shape. Out of this fell a financial plan, a staffing plan, a cash-flow plan and a marketing plan. It was all his, and eventually it passed any test we could apply We planned brochures, interviewed printers, made sales calls in Warsaw in Polish and English, and trained salespeople in Polish and English.
Now Janusz Bromboszcz will travel to the U.S. as a successful businessman, seeking new ideas and partners. His potential and the potential of his business are unlimited. He will serve as a role model for many other Polish entrepreneurs.
American business can help set up this kind of success anywhere in the world. Let's do it.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2000|
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