This week, I’ve been blogging from the Middle East. I was invited by the Saudi Arabian Airline to address their corporate conference on Branding. It’s been an incredible experience. Today, I learned that I actually made history. I was the first women to ever address the group as a keynote speaker.
If you are not familiar with Saudi traditions, women do not had the same rights as men in their culture. They cannot drive, have limited leadership and governing roles, have strict dress codes and do not mix with men in dinning and many public places. I knew accepting this invitation would be an experience. I was aware of their traditions and values, but until I arrived had not fully realized that I was making history.
Doing business globally introduces many challenges to a day’s work, from the work product you deliver to how you communicate, to respecting their culture and protocols. Read the story in New York Times on my travels.
Here are 5 important lessons I learned from my trip.
1) The world is very small.
Even if you are a small business you can earn rewarding and exciting global assignments. And a single project can develop into a long term cross the pond relationship too.
2) High Google search results are equal to an elite global sales team.
The client found me because of my high Google ranking.
3) A strong and professional website presence can project as much credibility and capability as a firm ten times your size. If you want big projects, you need to practice smart marketing and can’t look like a small potato.
4) Assume presenting your offering to a foreign culture will come with significant challenges. From technology glitches to communications differences, don’t fall short of delivering the best. You may think it will all be like it is back home. It won’t be. Do your homework, plan well and be prepared for travel bumps.
5) Global adventures can teach you so much and open unexpected doors too.
This trip connected me and my firm not only to this client, their industry, and unique culture, but to other entrepreneurs involved in the project that can be a source of business, knowledge and world friendships.
I’m headed back to New York City tonight. A thirteen hour flight, and then I’m in Manhattan for a week. While in the big Apple, I’ll be working on client projects, writing my new book, conducting some business meetings and having some fun.
For more lessons, check out: I’m going to Saudi, join me!