Talal Abdullah Bahman, the CEO and Founder of Xent World, tells us about his professional journey and the business ways Xent World. He is a passionate entrepreneur who focuses on a customer-centric approach. This interview aims to capture the true essence of Talal’s career path and how he, together with his company, provides ultimate solutions to clients. Learn more through the interview below.
The Career Pathway
We asked, “Which career path led you to where you are today?”
Talal says, “I graduated from the American University of Sharjah in 2005 with a double concentration in Accounting in Finance. I entered the family business in 2008, which included an Exchange company. Although it was not my first choice, it eventually became my teacher in so many aspects of my business life. I managed the company alongside our GM at the time and learned many important aspects of this industry.
Eventually, leading to my joining the Kuwait Exchange Company Union as vice chairman, I was exposed to many of the obstacles and difficulties of the industry on a macro level and the challenges faced by different-sized companies that served every sector of the society.”
We were also curious about how Xent World was started. So, we asked Talal, “What inspired you to develop the idea for your company?”
“Throughout the years, I always tried to ask what the customers wanted on a personal level and why they would select one company over the other. Hearing out the operational problems faced by the companies through my membership in the Exchange union required solutions that covered the whole industry and not just a single or a few companies. Initially, the main obstacle was that I was part of an entity that was seen by others as a competitor, so many were reluctant to come on board initially. After leaving the company, it was clear I was no threat to the other exchange companies as well as I tied the success of the project to the success of the companies. So my focus was solely based on the customer needs and behavior, where that would equate to listening more and providing more customer-centric services and solutions.” he replied.
Business Evolution And Priorities
Every business goes through changes, and so do its priorities over time. To know more about Xent in these terms, we further asked:
“How have your priorities in terms of business evolved since you first started?”
“Xent has had to deal with many exchange companies with different IT readiness levels. Some of them had a maintenance team. Others had no in-house team whatsoever. Preparing and helping them set up was a challenge, especially since the new trend is being public with the rates available as opposed to the methods of walking into the shop and asking directly.” he said.
Challenges are something that businesses would come across at some point. What matters is how they tackle it. So, we further asked, “What are the most challenging situations that your company overcomes?”
He said, “The two biggest challenges we had so far were the Central Bank of Kuwait and the concept of working together with other exchange companies. Getting approval from the Central Bank proved to be challenging as the sandbox was a new service provided, and many of those involved were learning throughout the process in regard to how to deal with the different fintech. The other challenge was that the majority of the exchange companies usually worked alone unless they had to; sharing rates and potential customers was a new concept to the market.”
What’s the key strength to overcome it?
“Persistence. Sometimes the obstacle is trying to convince exchange companies of the shared benefits of joining such a platform. It is important to get around these obstacles using all the available methods and sometimes even ways that never came to mind.” Talal added.
Uniqueness & Major KPIs
We were curious about understanding the uniqueness of Xent World. So, our next question was, “What makes your company stand out from all the other businesses in your industry?”
“It’s unique in its way that it helps promote the services of exchange companies in a customer-centric way. The way the data is shown and displayed is made for everyone to help them understand the available information. With every transaction, the customer is guaranteed to get the best rate available.” he replied.
What KPIs do you use to measure your business success?
He added, “My customers. The feedback I get from the end users is most crucial as it can help me improve my services and products.”
Services & Teamwork At Its Best
When we wanted to know more about Xent’s services, we asked, “Tell us something about your services. What are you working on now?”
Talal said, “We are still trying to gather more exchange companies to be part of the Xent ecosystem to help offer more choices to the public and increase more transparency to the industry. In addition to other potential collaborations, we can have with the remittance providers not just exchange companies to help increase the total volume of business for all.”
How a business or company treats its employees matters a lot. We further asked, “How do you build trust with your employees and boost productivity without causing burnout?”
“Trust is a 2-way process. In order for my employees to trust me, I have to be able to show that I can trust them. This trust comes in many forms and not necessarily in business practices. Small steps help constantly improve relationships and build better bridges.” he replied.
Adapting To Technology & Passion For Work
How do you stay on top of new technologies and trends in your industry? We asked.
“Read! Reading news and announcements of different products in local and international markets helps provide me with an insight on the direction of consumer behavior as well as the evolution of existing products and services.” Talal said.
What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?
Talal advises, “The obstacles you will face are all part of the learning and growing process of yourself and your project. Passion and discipline go hand in hand when trying to achieve your goals, ‘You must understand there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.’”
Connect with Talal Abdullah Bahman on LinkedIn.