A Reader’s Letter from Saudi Arabia (Or How to Win in Business)

One of the greatest benefits of blogging is getting emails and comments from readers. It’s extremely encouraging and I’m so grateful for everyone who takes time out of their day to read this blog. It’s also really cool when I receive an email from readers in other countries.

I don’t usually share the emails on the blog for a number of reasons. Often, the note is personal in nature or the reader didn’t feel like having it broadcast to the world. I respect that. Today, I received the email below from a reader in Saudi Arabia (how cool is that?!) and was so encouraged and inspired by it that I had to share it along with my response. I’ve left the sender’s name out in case he/she doesn’t want to be named publicly.

The advice is really about how to win in business. It doesn’t matter what path you’re on, I believe these principles apply to everyone.

If you have any additional advice that you would like to add to it, please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you would have responded with.

Dear Travis,

I Hope this email finds you well.

My Name is [redacted], Egyptian living and working in Saudi Arabia. I’m a huge fan of your “career path” and I would love to take the same pass, Although, the resources where I live are very limited. I currently work as a Digital Media Manager in a multi-national company and I’m also a PHP developer.

I have some key questions and I believe you have the right answers. My question is how to be like you, to have the same career path, where should I start? What should I study? What are the keys that would allow me to be a good successful business developer and be able to set good business strategies? I actually have so many questions but those are enough for one email

Thank you very much for you time,
Best Regards,

[Redacted]

Hi [Redacted],

First, I want to sincerely thank you very much for your email. It was very special and I am very grateful that you sent it to me.

Second, I think it’s awesome that you want to head down the path of being a business strategist and business developer! It’s an exciting path and, if you really enjoy it, you’ll figure out the best way to make it work for you. While I’m not very familiar with your culture and business climate, I will try to offer you some advice that I believe transcends geography and culture. I hope this helps to get you started on the right path.

Business is all about relationships – we conduct business with people we trust and like. Become the type of person who people trust and people like. That’s the very first step. After that, everything you do should be about helping other people and helping businesses grow. If you have family or friends who are in business, offer to help them find ways of improving their business. At first, you may need to offer them an introductory rate for your services. That’s okay. Ask them if they would be willing to give you a testimonial that you can use on your website as well as refer you to others who may need your services.

Tell people what you are doing and how you can help them. Attend events in your area. When people ask you what you do, don’t tell them that you’re a business developer. Instead, tell them that you help your clients grow amazing businesses (or something similar). Their natural response will be to want to know more and they will invite you to explain your statement. That’s when you can communicate how you do it and tell them more about what you do.

If you are interested in going to school, enroll in business courses. However, I think you can learn a lot more from reading business books. There are some great authors and that is where I learn more than anything else. If you’re interested in which books I recommend, visit this link: http://travisrobertson.com/book-shelf. It has a list of many of the books I’ve read and I continue to update it with more all the time.

I believe this is far more valuable than a university education. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue an education at university. It simply means that your education should not stop once you leave university. You should always be learning and growing. The truth is that I have learned more from the books that I have read than all of my schooling combined.

Much of what I’ve learned about business, I’ve also learned through experience. I study successful businesses to see what makes them successful. I study unsuccessful businesses to understand what makes them unsuccessful. I’ve also worked for both types of businesses and took on leadership roles wherever I could.

I also recommend that you consider sharing your thoughts and ideas on a blog. It’s a great way to demonstrate your understanding of various topics and build credibility within your community. Your clients want to know that you have the ability to understand their needs and provide them with the best ideas and suggestions for their business.

Blogging is a form of teaching. It will help you form your thoughts and ideas more clearly. I always learn more when I have to teach something than when I simply learn for understanding or information. Teaching forces your brain to simplify, synthesize and clarify concepts and information. Blogging is just one of the ways to do this. You could also teach classes and speak at local groups and events.

The final suggestion I would make is to learn to listen for people’s real needs. Often, people and businesses you are working with either don’t understand what they really need or they don’t know how to ask for it. In order to be successful at helping others, you need to be a keen observer and develop the ability to hear the question that isn’t asked. Listen to what people are saying, but also try to “hear” what isn’t being said. This is a skill, but the person who masters it will set themselves apart from others.

I have no doubt that you will be successful on this path. Please let me know if I can help you in any other way.

Sincerely,
Travis

Share Your Advice

What advice would you give this reader? I’d love to have you share it in the comments below.

About the Author

  • “In order to be successful at helping others, you need to be a keen observer and develop the ability to hear the question that isn’t asked.” Great advice Travis. When we approach an expert to learn more about their product or service, it’s because they know their stuff. Don’t limit yourself as “not a sales type.” Just apply your skill to the benefit of that other person and everything else should come along just fine for you. To the person who reached across the world for advice – I like your chances!

    • Thanks, Kevin! Applying our skills to the benefit of others is absolutely key. And I agree that anyone who will reach across the world has fantastic chances for success. 🙂

  • How awesome is that?
    Well, when someone reaches out to you from a different state, that’s enough to send chills down my spine. I can hardly imagine what it must feel like to know you’ve reached someone across the pond. I’d say that’s the moment you know you’re doing something right! Keep up the good work, Travis! Wish you lots of success with the ebooks and THE MILLENNIAL REVOLUTION project.

    Got some BIG SECRETS up my sleeve as well…checkout my recent post at http://toryminus.blogspot.com. Hope this piques your interest. Who knows, maybe my project will reach someone in another county as well. Never say never, right?