I got this email the other day at my Cactus email address. It was from someone purporting to be a high level management consultant with connections to VC funding sources over seas. The email went like this (identifying names removed);

Dear xxxxx

Being a climber myself and a Cactus enthusiast it is great to finally get in touch with you.

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a Director and Partner of xxxxxx Consulting Limited, a management consulting firm that assists New Zealand companies to globalise their business, products and services. We have a range of clients across most industry segments, and currently serve companies operating here in New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe.

Having used your products previously and experienced first hand their potential in the field, I would be most interested to meet with you to see whether there are any opportunities whereby we could assist you with advancing Cactus Climbing Equipment. Given the range, scope and quality of your products, i believe that there are a number of profitable opportunities for your company to consider internationally.

If you have a half hour later in the week i would be very interested to meet for a coffee.

Hope to talk soon.

Kind Regards,

xxxxx

Fair enough, I thought it worthwhile to meet and at least see where this guy was at. We met and he proceeded to tell me that their speciality was in facilitating applications for funding to NZTE (our Government funded economic development agency). Now I have been involved with economic development for a number of years and know that the application process to NZTE is easy, quick and simple and that no facilitation is required.

I then asked the “consultant” what VC companies he had “great connections” with. You guessed it – the details were a little vague on this question.

Let’s get this straight – small business is hard enough in this (and any I imagine) country, without these con-artists scalping a few thousand hear and there for no real value.

Word of advice to SMEs looking for help – really assess if the consultant offering help has experience, skills or an affinity for your business and your businesses issues before investing good money with him/her.

Postscript – In what can only be described as an unfortunate (for them) and bemusing (for me) turn of events, buddy Guy, MD of C4 Coffee received an email a few days ago from the same crow. The email was exactly the same except that this time they had a real affinity for coffee and the coffee industry.

Shiesters!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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