IT IS business done backwards, but that's just the way Peter Chaly likes it.
He attended the recent council delegation to China, and found he was mobbed - literally - by a range of potential customers interested in his app which links Chinese travellers with Queensland tourism businesses.
The response caught him off guard, as he essentially does not yet have a product to give them.
Instead the reaction has prompted a range of tweaks to scale up business models, plans, forecasts and financials.
It has also sparked a targeted round of product development which ultimately, Mr Chaly hopes, will lead to the best possible version of the app going to market on day one.
"I did a presentation (in Xiamen) at a Sunshine Coast on Show event and a lady came up to me afterwards, asking if I had paperwork ready as she wanted to sign up.
"I had to tell her I didn't ... I wasn't used to things moving that quickly."
Mr Chaly, now back on Australian soil, is continuing discussions with that lady, a travel agent, as well as with an app developer and the Chinese equivalent of Telstra - which has 700 million customers.
He said despite his experience living in Singapore and working in China, there was no substitute for physically being there on the ground to form these relationships.
"Being part of an official delegation affords you a certain respect and opens doors to meetings with more senior people than you would have otherwise," he said.
He started marketing agency Smartink almost five years ago.
It has a presence in Sunshine Beach and Brisbane, and counts SMEs as customers.
His app, the Queensland Travel Saver, is separate to his agency work, putting him at a crossroads now, depending on whether the app takes off.
He has been accepted into UQ's business incubator program to develop the app, so a clear path down one of those crossroads may be materialising before his eyes.
The app is aimed at the increasing number of cashed-up middle class Chinese increasingly keen on travel.
It links users with Queensland tourism providers and allows them to share and connect via social media with others seeking a similar product, thereby ensuring the best price.
The app goes into closed beta trials soon.
FIND OUT MORE
There is an information night at the Lake Kawana Community Centre on June 19, 6-7pm.
It is free to attend, bookings essential. Call 0411 295 655.
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