Lessons from Mongolia …

- September 6, 2012 2 MIN READ


This article is coming to you from somewhere in between Mongolia and Russia as I’m sitting on the Trans-Siberian railway admiring the landscapes and thinking about how there is so much we can learn from the Mongolian nomads.

Living with the nomads in Mongolia was one of the most amazing experiences and I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learnt that apply to business (and personal life).

Utilising resources to the maximum: The nomads really utilize and re-purpose their resources without wasting anything. From their animals for example they use the milk to make cheese, yogurt and different other dairy products, eat the meat, use the fur to make clothes rugs, blankets and even use dried cow poo to make a fire to cook and keep warm in winter.

Christo in a Mongolian ger (Nomads’ mobile home).

In business, look at how you can re-purpose and utilize your resources better. There might be ways to add an extra stream of revenue. Some of our clients have a strategy to repurpose their content effectively. A video for example can be turned into a blog article which can be turned into Facebook and Twitter posts.
Or programs and products can be packaged with more or less components to create different levels of service.

Are there any resources in your business you can re-purpose?

Sharing everything: Sharing comes naturally to the Mongolian nomads as they are used to sharing the vast landscapes with their neighbours. Food is also being shared to help each other out. To survive in harsh winter they understand the importance of supporting each other.

I think in business we can and should look at how we can share our knowledge and resources with other businesses to make it mutually beneficial more often. There are many opportunities for businesses to support each other and grow.

Looking after their most precious ‘tools’: The nomads look after their most precious and important ‘tools’, their animals. They are always making sure they are healthy and have enough food. I was actually quite impressed and happy to see how they treated their animals, understanding that the nomads’ wellbeing will depend on that of their animals.

In our company we are big believers in investing in our systems, equipment and resources. Being up to date with equipment makes work much more efficient and fun. Even though you might save a few pennies using older systems and computers, you or your team might not be working at optimum efficiency.

Basic Bananas adopting a Mongolian horse

Because we are animal lovers ourselves, we decided to adopt a Mongolian wild horse. They are the ancestors of our domestic horses and are a protected species as there are currently only 270 of them left. We called our baby horse BeeBee. Now we’ve got a whale ‘Cosmos’ and a horse ‘BeeBee’. The Basic Bananas family is growing.