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It's two o'clock on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and Jim and Kylie Cawood are getting ready for their monthly wine-tasting session. "Where are the bottles of Rocky Gully 2005?" Jim asks his staff. Kylie, a former chef, is adding the finishing touches to freshly baked bread sticks and loaves of ciabatta.
The Australian duo are the brains behind Vino, a two-year-old wine merchants located at the edge of the business centre in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. "It took a while to get things organised. The first eight months were one step forward, two steps back," says Jim. "We were constantly building relationships, and it takes a while to reach a critical mass of sales where you don't have to be continually drawing out of your pocket. A lot of the businesses don't think long-term."
With a 15-year background in wine, but little knowledge on the business side of things, it was a big step to open their own wine business in a foreign country. They finally received a business licence, but not before encountering some problems. Jim explains: "Before you get your business licence, you have to find premises. Looking around for a site took a lot of time because there's no way to ask someone where it is. Then, when you find it, you have talk to the landlord."
In addition, the Cawoods had to build their reputation from scratch--through events such as monthly …