The CEO of one of the world’s leading speaker bureaus says passion for the journey will push you to take things to a whole new level
Can you start small and then work throughout the globe? Are you passionate? If you are, then you’ll find or create opportunities to do that.
Gautam Ganglani is the CEO of Right Selection Group, one of the main speaker bureaus in the world, who exclusivity represent several legendary and A-List speakers.
Yet all started from a small book shop in Dubai. Mentored by his father, Gautam kept expanding the business until it got to a global level.
For him, it’s all about the journey. ‘I’ve just realized that my true passion has come to be this journey.’
His father’s 3 golden rules guided him through all business storms: surrounding himself with the right people, continuously learning and taking action. These pieces of advices kept him grounded even when his business was very far from being an international hit.
Gautam is on a mission: to ‘make a difference across the globe’.
What difference do you want to make? Use this to push yourself. Remember to share it with your friends and spread the passion.
Passionpreneur & Chief Energy Officer
Award Winning Author & Speaker
Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays, the best way to end a week and start another. Our guest today is the CEO of one of the world’s leading speaker bureaus, representing speakers like Marshall Goldsmith, Tony Buzan and Brian Tracy – Gautam Ganglani.
Gautam: A pleasure! Thank you for having me!
Moustafa: Thank you so much! I’m really excited to have you here because very rarely you get speaker bureaus that have that personal relationships and representations with such amazing speakers and authors and experts around the world. So when did you get the passion to create such a business?
Gautam: I have to credit my dad, actually. We are a father and son business. He is my pillar of strength and inspiration. It all started with a book shop actually. A small book shop in Dubai with just 100 books. One hundred books on self-help, New Age, personal development books and that’s what we were for a number of years just distributing self-help, management books across the region. And one fine day dad and me were taking a walk and he said ‘What’s next? How can we take the business to the next level? The books are highly appreciated and the niche market that we focused on. But what’s next? How can we bring the authors of the books live?’. There was a simple questioning and we ended up hosting our first even with a speaker by the name of Bob Urichuck and we organized the event and we partnered with an event agency. And at that event, we realized that out of the 126 people I think they were, there were 93 that registered through right selection. That meant a direct correlation between the people who buy books so a direct correlation between that educational engagement to wanting an emotional engagement to see the speaker live. And we saw that there is an actual trend here. And we kept organizing public seminars in Dubai, Oman, Bahrain and so spreading throughout the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent. Then when organizing public seminars, we got inquiries like ‘Can we get private time with the speaker? Can we book the speaker for an hour, half day, full day?’. We were just naturally offered that when the speakers would come for a public program whichever region it was. We offered that corporate plans and allowed government institutions to book the speaker. And suddenly we found out that this seems like another business model here, that’s just evolving on its own. It was just one step and to the other. We did some research and noticed that there is actual business called school bureau business. And we said ‘ok, let’s formalize a speaker bureau business that actually represents more than just the speakers we host for the public programs, actually understand the market and what kind of speakers are being booked. It could be from MCs and moderators to international speakers who have written books to news, people from the news to politicians to celebrity CEOS, sports personalities, there were no restrictions. There suddenly was a huge market and again ‘Why just the Gulf? We can actually work throughout the globe!’ and that’s when we finally came across the IASB, which is the International Association of Speakers Bureaus. To become a member we thought that we can just apply. But no, they actually interviewed five of our speakers to see how credible we are and to see how experienced we were doing the right selection. And then asking five random customers ‘You booked a speaker. How was the experience? Did it work? What didn’t work?’ a lot of diligence before they gave us our membership as well. And here we are today as Right Selection Speakers Bureau, the only speaker bureau out of the 120 that exist officially with over 20 years of end-management experience in a book shop, where it all started 23 years ago.
Moustafa: I love it, I love the story because I mean, it’s partially showing that passion is sometimes not having a clear vision of what your passion is, it’s about pursuing your passion in that moment.
Moustafa: And in that moment at start for your dad it was books and then it became a speaker bureau and here’s what’s interesting: you decided to continue with the speaker’s bureau because that is more of your passion. You didn’t go back to the books model.
Moustafa: You could have gone back to that book model.
Moustafa: But you chose not to because you’re honoring your passion in that moment, not what your dad’s passion might have been back then.
Gautam: Yes, yes. I mean, I’ve just realized that my true passion has come to be this journey. I just love to surround myself with the right speakers, to spend time with world-renowned speakers, to travel with them, make new friends across the world and transform life globally. Why just work in a certain region when you can transform lives globally across the world and make a difference? I’m on a mission to make a difference across the globe and to bring the best speakers on every single market I can and to transform lives.
Moustafa: Amazing! I love that! I’m sure on that journey… today has been 20 years and it’s been working phenomenally. But somewhere along the way there must have been dips in the relationships, dips in the business, challenges where you had to reinvest your business model, you had to recreate yourself. Where did you find the passion and not question yourself and go ‘No, that’s not my passion. Why am I here? I find myself stuck in this passion because my dad gave it to me’. How do you manage those times?
Gautam: We have definitely had a lot of ups and downs in this 23-year journey. No question about it. I had three very distinct difficult times which lasted from three months to a year on these three occasions. They were very painful times and I had to dig deep. I really had to dig deep. I went back to the advice my dad gave me when I was a child. He told me three pieces of advice. He said ‘Whenever you are stuck in life, whenever you have a challenge, any pain, just think of these three pieces of advice and they will give you the breakthrough and the transformation’. And those three pieces are: 1. Surround yourself with the right people.
Gautam: Secondly, continuous learning. Third and mostly, take action because when you take action, you will learn if not succeed. And then I kept it this simple. I said ‘Ok, I’ve got this challenge. Who do I need to surround myself, who are the best advisors in this challenge? Because no challenge hasn’t been done before. So I surrounded myself with the right people. I started learning and reading on that topic, watching videos, listening, asking questions. So I was learning. Then when I understood the concepts I took action. Some things worked out exceptionally well, some things I learned, tweaks made a difference and I started again. And that has really helped me. In all three situations I applied the discipline that my dad shared with me.
Moustafa: I love that! So basically these are the best three tips for everybody to just surround yourself with the right people, continuous learning and most importantly…
Moustafa: And apply.
Moustafa: And I hope everybody is gonna apply what they’ve just learned today. Gautam, thank you very much for being with us today!
Gautam: Thank you, Moustafa! A real pleasure!
Gautam: Thank you!
Moustafa and Gautam: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I really hope you found this episode as useful and as exciting as I did. If so, please leave your comments on the blog below and share it with your friends or those who might benefit from it. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website, go to Moustafa.com. Until next episode – live passionately!