This week, I spent time facilitating a marketing session with visiting women entrepreneurs from Rwanda and Afghanistan. The women I worked with are in the U.S. for a few weeks as part of the “Business for Peace” program. We tackled putting together marketing strategies for each of their businesses, including managing a law practice, teaching small children, training professional engineers, selling phone cards and running a fitness program. When they return to their homelands, they will bring back to their businesses – and their colleagues – new ideas for growing their businesses.
In the hours we spent together, we went through the process of building marketing plans. There were times when we were stumped over how to translate a term, like “disclaimers” for an ad, which apparently is not an issue in their countries. There were times when we had to work around cultural challenges, such as most of their markets did not have access to the internet. But, we always found a “work-around,” and by the end of our session, none of us wanted to leave. They learned about creative ways to spark “word of mouth” marketing and I learned about their determination, optimism and desire to succeed.There’s a principle in psychology that cooperating toward a common goal builds liking between people. No question, we all proved the principle works during our short time together. The photo shows our group at Northwood University after our marketing session. I wish each of them best of luck in their enterprises and I look forward to hearing about their future achievements!