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Unlocking Business Success Through Travel: 5 Lessons Learned in Nepal

I am a firm believer that travel is one of the most impactful ways one can learn. It challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone and leaves you with a fresh perspective that remains long after your bags are unpacked. I recently concluded my term as President of the Superior Chamber of Commerce after nine years on the board with a visit to Superior’s Sister City in Khandbari, Nepal. During our tour, I learned several lessons that have helped me bolster my sales efforts. Let me save you the 25+ hours of flight time and share the most important ones.

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Lessons Learned in Nepal: Make A Lasting Impression

While in Nepal, I grappled with midnight cockroaches, dense pollution, and showers on par with the ice bucket challenge. But what do I remember most? The infectious enthusiasm of locals who welcomed us with open arms. Who literally threw us a parade complete with mountains of marigold lays and flower pedals thrown from balconies above. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and, just like that, all the little inconveniences faded into the background.

Let’s be honest. There is often little that separates one product or service from another. So, the most impactful way you can make your business stand out is how you make your customers feel. Are they just another number? Or are you genuinely invested in their success? Do you remember personal details and go the extra mile with each and every interaction? Nothing creates customer loyalty like a lasting impression. And, if you’re not making one, your competition will.

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Keep An Open Mind

Dignitaries from Khandbari also traveled to Superior to learn more about our community. While visiting Town Hall, they inquired about the extra seating and podium. We explained that it was so residents could come to hear what town leadership was discussing and offer public comment. Upon hearing this, the Nepali delegation returned home and immediately added public seating and a podium to their own municipal building. The first in Nepal to do so.

Innovation is impossible without an open mind. It allows you to respond to varying market conditions, remain relevant, and maintain a competitive edge in a landscape that’s always changing. So, never be afraid of new ideas.

Focus On Relationships

During my stay in Khandbari, I gained a “mitini jiu” (which is essentially a ceremonial family member). Now, I can proudly say I have a Nepali sister.

Relationships are the building blocks that support business. And it’s not just about who you know, but what kind of relationship you have with them. When you cultivate genuine connections, sales will naturally follow. And those deep relationships will translate to long-term growth rather than a one-time transaction.

READ: Maximize Your Impact — The Power of Intentional Network Building

Be Giving 

Despite Nepal’s status as a third-world country, its people are among some of the most giving I’ve ever encountered. In fact, we were showered with so many gifts that we each had to buy a duffle bag just to get them all home. While searching for one, a shop owner helped me fix a necklace I’d purchased from another store. But, when I tried to pay him for his effort, he refused saying “money isn’t what’s important.”

Like the Nepali people, be giving in your business dealings. Look for ways you can be of service and offer value without expectation of what you’ll get in return. Share your knowledge and network with reckless abandon. It will position you as a resource and create a deep sense of loyalty.

Know Your Limits

We capped off our time in Nepal with a helicopter tour to Mount Everest Base Camp. As someone who’s grown up around the mountains, I was a bit arrogant about the high-altitude safety measures. That is, until the effects of the 17,800 feet suddenly hit me. My heart started pounding, my vision blurred, and my head felt like a balloon whose string had slipped the hand that held it. Just like that, my ego was firmly in check.

Ignoring your limitations will only hurt you in the long run. Your products and services may not be a fit for everyone. And that’s ok. Simply bring in referral partners to assist when you can’t. It creates strong referral relationships and shows you have your clients’ best interests at heart.

There’s a lot we can learn from Nepal about business growth and fostering meaningful relationships. And, by acting on these lessons, your sales are sure to flourish.


Stephanie MillerStephanie Miller is an avid traveler and a private banker at InBank. She works closely with high-net-worth individuals, nonprofit organizations and professional service providers delivering a variety of private banking and lending solutions. Contact Stephanie at [email protected].