I remember when the greatest game on my father’s Toshiba Satellite laptop was the 2D gray-scale “Prince of Persia”. Unlike the game, the business (and political) climate in Iran have way more than two dimensions. The US, through Secretary John Kerry and several other nations, negotiated a deal with Iran on their nuclear program. The resulting sanctions relief has started a change between Iran and the rest of the world. However, the US just elected Donald Trump to the White House, and that throws a lot of uncertainty into the young agreement.
We know that Europe; and especially the French; have moved ahead in improving relationships with Tehran, and President Rouhani publicly conducted the “Shopping Tour” last year to get the State’s infrastructure up and running. So, we know the opportunities are there, but what does it really mean for the business leaders around the globe? I believe there are some great future success stories with Iran, even though many are still against the policy changes. Let’s discuss how the exciting changes in Iran can open up opportunities for success!
- Current Products to a New Market – For those countries that can trade with Iran, there is a new opportunity to sell current solutions. From cars to plane, computers to toys, Iran has been unable to effectively obtain many of these products due to the sanctions. Iran’s business community is also excited to start growing and expanding, and this creates opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to sell into Iran. Now is the time to get back to building relationships and find solutions to streamline purchasing and payment protocols with Iranian partners. The Iranians already know the market, they know the language, and they know how to get things done internally. All interested business leaders need to do is deliver on these relationships (with a few beneficial trips to the Persian State).
- Skip-Tech Opportunities – When was the last time we were able to find a market with gaps in their infrastructure that allowed us to “skip” a generation or two? We see this in many African countries where phone lines were never installed in volume due to the advent of the mobile phone. Iran can provide many salespeople and entrepreneurs with the ability to leap ahead with cutting-edge solutions that vastly reduce the infrastructure upgrade costs expected by President Rouhani and his team. Imagine Tehran as a completely “WIFI” city, or using waste plastics for road construction! The right problem-solvers can work with Iran to not only develop on current technologies, but can jump ahead and help the Islamic Republic be at the cutting edge of technology.
- Iranian Products to New Markets – There are many entrepreneurs and business leaders who call Iran home. And many of them have products and services that they are ready to share beyond their borders. We already know about the traditional products such as pistachios and rugs, but what else is hiding in Iran that is waiting to reach the world market? I recently listened to an old interview about the price of Iranian saffron, and how valuable that spice is. Getting these products to the world market provide opportunities for businesses that know how to manage the trade.
- Learning about each other – There are many businesses focused on tourism and education that can gain opportunities in this new climate. As business professionals within Iran and outside link up, they will need to learn more about each other. Professionals; especially salespeople; will need to learn new cultures, new customs, new languages, new jargon, and how to identify new opportunities. We will need to learn how to conduct analysis and market validation, while also learning how to hail a taxi (or Uber)! And what are the differences in the way we each conduct business? There are many new things we can learn from each other.
- Ambassadors for Change – If you did not realize this before, you will now: Business Leaders are the “real” Ambassadors of the World. They have the ability to make significant changes in the way nations with each other, simply by how they operate with new customers and new markets. Improving relations with Iran may give us the chance to speed up the transformation through relationship-building, networking, profitable business, and education. Just imagine the impact one salesperson can have in eliminating barriers between both countries through one great sales experience. Our future President can definitely relate to that as one of America’s most famous Ambassadors. By promoting our respective interests and working with our counterparts, we can not only improve business relationships, but make our world much safer too!
Up, Down, Left, Right, and Spacebar! I used those 5 keys (if I remember correctly) to become the “Prince of Persia” Champion of the World… or at least over my younger brothers. Yet, the 5 opportunities above are just a few of many opportunities we have in building new relationships with Iran. Business leaders have the ability to go beyond the 2-dimensional stalemate we have experienced over the last few decades, to Win in a new multi-dimensional environment of growth and success with new market partners.Published in