I’m a firm believer that education is the fuel of a good and sound economy and the key to bringing change developing countries and societies.”
Chiraz Bensemmane has been working, selling and travelling for over 6 years in more than 12 countries for over $2 million worth of products and services. She is now the CEO and founder of Pitch World Fast, a business development consultancy company providing its clients with the extensive experience, adaptation, culture sensitivity, sales and public relation knowledge.
She offers her consulting services both in person and online, to ensure that all can benefit from her experience and expertise. She is passionate about languages (speaks fluently Arabic, French, English & Spanish) and sales, therefore transformed it and used it at its best to service its client better sell themselves.
Her goal : being the closest possible with her clients and working with them to get them to the next level while growing with them.
She holds a master degree in International Business from EM Strasbourg, a business school in France, and Georgetown University.
Chiraz can be found wherever need be next to its client, mostly between planes. She currently lives between Marseille or Strasbourg, France and Algiers, Algeria.
Where did the idea for Pitch World Fast come from?
I had the opportunity of travelling a lot for work for my ex employers and therefore learnt how to network, connect and sell in different countries and navigate different cultures. When I decided to quit the company, I couldn’t see myself working for a specific company but I did want to share my experience and expertise, enable general managers, entrepreneurs to fast forward and get to the next level and this is how Pitch World Fast started.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I think preparation is key and this is for me the best way to work. I need to visualise my objectives and my day so I prepare it the day before, this makes my days therefore productive because I know what I have to do and what I need to accomplish.
When I wake up, besides taking my breakfast (and feeding my dog), I start off by listening to whether the radio or a podcast (TED talks usually).
Then I’m off to work. Depending on the day I’ll go to the office or work from home. In Algeria, where I am based right now you get a lot of traffic so I organise myself as per my meetings, if I do have meetings I try to work close to them to maximise and not get stuck
The first thing I do is read the news, you need to know what’s happening in the world not only for your business but also so that you can have real conversation, never have superficial conversations and understand the environment you are evolving in. I focus on news on the industry I work in, the countries I work in/with and all related to geopolitics
Then after that it is a mix between follow up calls that I’ll be always doing in the morning because people tend to be more fresh and accessible. Meetings are also usually held in the morning.
The afternoon is usually dedicated to proposals, training sessions and answering to all the pending emails as well as organising the following day.
Then after 5pm this is when the admin part starts: emails, documents, accounting and preparing for the new day and potential meetings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
That is a tricky one and a thing you always wonder is “how will I make this happen?”. I personally believe it is about visualising, having the end goal in mind. You should always have the idea as your clear and main objective and then break it down step by step to see which actions to implement in order to reach it.
This method enables me to be clear and see the advancements made.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
It might not be that new but I’d say online training and teaching. I’m making my business more and more online and it is really exciting to see how people are more and more eager to learn through various programs and platforms wherever they are. See all these tools and platforms developing to have access to courses and educating people.
I’m a firm believer that education is the fuel of a good and sound economy and the key to bringing change and developing countries and societies.
We are all, I am, constantly learning about new trends, news ways of doing business. You have to be open to change and learning so this is why the new ways of providing education, training coaching is really exciting for me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
“Cleaning up my mess”. What I mean by that is lying down everything I’m doing on a piece of paper so that I restructure myself and restructure what need to be done. By doing this I have a clear visibility of what need to be accomplished. I do have to say, sometimes cleaning up my desk does help as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
“Don’t be scared to put yourself out there”. I went to a business school, learned about entrepreneurship but I never thought I’d start off a company, even now when I have a project such as online training, or a press meeting I’m scared of being on the light to a certain extent but you have to do what you have to do and it is such a learning and rewarding experience. Take everything you have to take, it is for sure worth it because in whatever we do, we grow.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Some countries, and I count Algeria among them, need and should have an enlightened dictatorship should they want to progress/evolve.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read & Learn. Things do change and you need to be on top of things, you need to learn. I’m always investing in myself and training myself, understanding the new trends in my area. Recently I participated in a one week summit talking about online marketing and online sales funnel. I’m new to that but it is a part of sales and the new way of doing so we need to be aware of it and train ourselves.
I’m a bit of a nerd so I’ll be buying lot of books that are related to my field, keeping myself updated, look at the training and keep on reading and reading.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Personal networking. I built this almost from scratch. When you start off a company, especially a B2B service company, a consulting one, why should companies work with you, this is why you need to build up your credibility.
My first 1-2 years I just went to all the relevant events and receptions where my potential clients would be and introduced myself, my services, explained how I worked. Then little by little, they saw my work, and because I was focused on some industries, my clients or people I was meeting became my advocates and started introducing me to their counterparts and telling them what I did, how I worked and things picked up.
Never underestimate the power and the importance of building value and relationship/network
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I took on a project for local training company here in Algeria and I was helping them building up an international strategy. Here in Algeria a lot of people still don’t see the value of service companies, so you have to explain every time. Anyway, they decided to hold on the project and they decided that the work I done didn’t get paid and they considered that building a market and data base wasn’t work, so I didn’t continue the project and never got paid.
This actually helped me and pushed me to better choose my clients, not take any project and put on a process to make sure that we are on the same page and that we get paid for the work done.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An app to put in contact people from different countries and have the local person make you visit their country. People who can’t afford a plane ticket can connect with the locals and visit amazing places
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Company Goodies. This might sound silly but it is the first time that I bought mugs, stickers and notepad with my company’s logo. It is the first time that I’m putting it out there, some are for family so that they see what I do and it is also so that they company brand get known. It is a proud moment for me to see my logo, this little phoenix a little bit everywhere, with clients.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Dropbox. I really love this software and app. Been using it since they started and this is a life saver, I have all my company documents there and it allows me whenever I have a meeting to provide any information needed and not be tied to a problem with computer and be flexible.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Art of Uncertainty” from Dennis Merritt Jones. When you start of your company, you tend to want to control everything and the company, your project is your baby, it is therefore great book to learn how to little by little let go and trust the people we work with.
What is your favorite quote?
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
― Edmund Lee
- Keep on learning, be curious
- Build your network and credibility
- Put up your own process and always be prepared
- When ready, put yourself out there
- Visualize your goal and break it down it little steps to see the evolution
Pitch World Fast on Twitter: PWF_entreprise
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Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.