While the role of a business counselor may appear straightforward, it is actually much more intricate and comprehensive. Business counselors utilize successful business methods and solutions to guide organizations toward success, providing a competitive edge through thorough market research and organizational abilities.
One notable executive in this field is Khaled M. Ismail, the CEO, and Partner of TOUGHLOVE Advisors, who assists businesses in unlocking their full potential.
About the company:
TOUGHLOVE Advisors is a unique advisory firm founded by a group of nine C-suite executives with over 250 years of combined hands-on experience in more than 120 markets. They specialize in enhancing business performance for neglected businesses, offering access to a collective of practitioners with multinational training in business, operations, marketing, and technology to discover and deliver solutions.
The team’s expertise stems from their experience working with over 80 top multinational corporations, including renowned brands like Emirates, Etihad, FAB, P&G, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Landmark Group, L’Oréal, Visa, Leo Burnett, and more.
Initial challenges faced:
In the market, there are no other consultancy businesses with such extensive practical experience working together. TOUGHLOVE Advisors prioritizes telling clients what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear in order to effectively assist them and their businesses. They understand the importance of working with real-world practitioners who can provide customized, practical solutions based on their own experiences, rather than relying solely on theoretical best practices. Their goal is to introduce businesses to an alternative approach— the TOUGHLOVE approach.
The trigger for company growth:
TOUGHLOVE Advisors’ growth was triggered by their emphasis on expertise over theory and their straightforward, uncomplicated, and sincere approach. They provide clients with the information they need, ensuring a clear understanding of their advice. Their distinct approach sets them apart:
- Sophisticated, not patronizing
- Dependable, not fluffy
- Motivating, not dogmatic
- Progressive, not just a buzzword
- Ambitious and motivated, not opposing
- Provocative, not encroaching
- Confident but not haughty
- Supportive, not transactional
- Blunt, not direct
TOUGHLOVE Advisors help businesses identify blind spots, support them in co-creating solutions, and develop internal skills and capabilities in five areas: strategy and management, brand experience and marketing communications, digital transformation and business innovation, people and culture, and business operations and performance. They employ a methodology based on direct engagement, co-creation, and delivering results using a mix of data, insights, and expertise.
Professional experience of Khaled Ismail, CEO/Partner:
Khaled Ismail is a pragmatic business leader with over 30 years of experience. He has held global executive positions in marketing, branding, public affairs, and communications for Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. His experience spans advertising, international sales, marketing, and branding in FMCG and food packaging industries, including Tetra Pak and The Coca-Cola Company. Khaled holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and has completed executive programs in leadership and management at Ashridge, IMD, and Harvard Business School. He is an active investor in technology, beverages, sports marketing, and finance. Khaled is also a respected business leader, public speaker, marketer, and mentor.
Market need addressed by TOUGHLOVE Advisors:
TOUGHLOVE Advisors fill the gap by making business advice accessible to those who lack the resources, knowledge, skills, and time to experiment with ideas and best practices. They provide peer-to-peer support in developing market-ready solutions and are committed to telling businesses what they need to hear. They continue to work with businesses during implementation, knowing that this phase often leaves them vulnerable. The wealth of practical experience possessed by TOUGHLOVE partners gained from working with successful companies in the region, equips them to address the challenges faced by SMEs and family-owned enterprises competing with multinational corporations.
Advice for corporate leaders considering starting their own business:
Don’t hesitate or overthink your ideas and opportunities. The entrepreneurial and start-up landscape is highly active, and being the first mover is crucial. Think in terms of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and take action.