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Q&A with Viviane Nasr

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Viviane Nasr , Founder & CEO @CitySightseeing Lebanon

How could you describe your career path in few words?

As the CEO of CitySightSeeing Lebanon, my career path has been one of navigating constant challenges and adapting to the ever-changing socioeconomic, political, and tourism landscape in Lebanon. We launched the operation in May 2019 and the economy crash started in October 2019. Then, came the Covid-19 pandemic, Beirut port explosion… Despite the obstacles, I have been focused on finding creative solutions and opportunities to continue growing our business and serving our customers, while also prioritizing the well-being and safety of our employees and communities. I get adapted to the actual situation and I changed the operation of the hop on hop off tourism in Beirut to reach all other destinations in Lebanon. It was a success because Lebanese people were happy to go out and discover their country after the confinement and the frustrations. I had the option to leave the country and lead a new operation abroad, but I decided to stay and to face the challenges for the love of Lebanon. My country needs Even though, it has been a rollercoaster ride and a challenge at the same time but I am proud of the resilience and innovation that my team and I have demonstrated in the face of adversity. And today, I am proud to announce that we launched a new department for travel packages from Lebanon to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia as well as some cruises. What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset?

My most challenging experience has been navigating the ongoing economic and political crisis in Lebanon since 2019. This has had a significant impact on our business. We have faced numerous obstacles, from limited access to foreign currency and rising inflation to frequent power outages, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and on top of them the Beirut Port Explosion, the demonstrations and roads closed. Despite these challenges, I have remained focused on finding innovative solutions and adapting to the changing situation. This experience has taught me the importance of resilience, flexibility, perseverance and creativity. It has also reinforced my commitment to the well-being of my team and our customers, and the need to prioritize safety and sustainability in our operation. While it has been a difficult journey, I believe that we have emerged stronger and more capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

Based on your experience, what skills should an entrepreneur develop in 2023?

I believe that there are several key skills that entrepreneurs should focus on developing in 2023, particularly in the current challenging environment:

1. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and continue to move forward, despite obstacles and challenges.

2. Creativity: The ability to find innovative solutions and approaches, even in the face of constraints and limitations.

3. Adaptability: The ability to adjust to changes in the business environment and pivot as needed to meet new demands and opportunities mainly the fluctuations of Lebanese Lira against the US Dollar.

4. Agility: The ability to move quickly and make decisions in a rapidly changing and uncertain environment.

5. Digital literacy: The ability to leverage technology and digital platforms to reach customers and drive business growth.

6. Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one's own emotions, as well as those of others, to build strong relationships and navigate challenging situations. 7. Strategic thinking: The ability to think critically and develop a long-term vision and plan for the business, even in the midst of short-term challenges. These skills are essential for any entrepreneur, but they are especially critical in a challenging business environment like the one we have been facing in Lebanon since 2019. By focusing on these skills, entrepreneurs can build businesses that are more resilient, adaptable, and able to thrive in the face of uncertainty and change.

Based on your recent experiences, if you had one piece of advice for an entrepreneur's success in the context of 2023, what would it be?

My one piece of advice for an entrepreneur's success in the context of 2023 would be to stay focused on your mission and purpose, while remaining flexible and adaptable to the changing environment. In a challenging business environment like the one we have been facing in Lebanon since 2019, it is easy to get bogged down by short-term challenges and lose sight of the bigger picture. However, by staying focused on your long-term goals and values, you can maintain a sense of purpose and direction, even in the midst of uncertainty and change.

At the same time, it is essential to remain flexible and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances. This may mean pivoting your business model, adjusting your product or service offerings, or finding new ways to reach customers. By remaining nimble and responsive to the changing environment, you can position your business for success and growth, even in challenging times.

Ultimately, success in 2023 and beyond will require a combination of vision, resilience, and agility, so you can build a business that is not only successful, but also sustainable and impactful in the long run.

Finally, one last advice, remember that in every crisis there is an opportunity and life doesn’t always turn out the way we expected. Stay positive, look forward and pursue your passion.

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