A UK-based business owner has shared his do’s and don’ts of growing a business in Dubai.
Dubai is investor-friendly and starting a business in the city can be very lucrative for an entrepreneur.
According to statistics published by the UK government website, more than 5,000 UK companies are currently trading in Dubai.
Neil Sheth, founder of writing company Writefully, is currently expanding his business in the UAE and sharing his insights.
“Many people now see Dubai as a place to live and work. COVID has made us all realize that it’s perfectly possible to run a business from anywhere – we’re no longer restricted to the UK. It’s time for British business owners to take full advantage of the opportunities that lie elsewhere – and Dubai is a haven for British businesses”.
Neil shares his 4 do’s and don’ts for starting a business in Dubai:
DO – Splash the Money
London may be expensive, but Dubai makes it look cheap. The standard of living is higher in the UAE and even taking clients out for a meal can be quite expensive – expect to shell out hundreds for a business dinner. Labor costs are also higher – the average salary in Dubai is AED258,000 (around £58,000) compared to the UK average of around £30,000. If you are looking to establish yourself in Dubai, you may need considerable capital or investment to support you.
DON’T – Be culturally insensitive
Remember that culturally, life in Dubai is very different from life in the west. Go through all your promotional material or anything you could use in a pitch deck and make sure it’s appropriate for Eastern ideals – even if you’re going to be dealing with other expats. Neil explains that a photo of a fitness model almost ruined a pitch because of a low-cut top.
DO – Build Relationships
In the UK you are more likely to land a customer by solving a problem they have. In Dubai, it’s all about cultivating a relationship and building rapport with your customers and investors. If you’re going to a meeting, expect to take them to a fancy restaurant or hotel, and don’t rush to close a deal immediately to make a lasting positive impression.
DON’T – Expect it to be easy
We may be used to the modern world of instant gratification, but doing business in Dubai takes a lot longer and requires a lot more patience. They also don’t just give anyone a bank account – you might not even have a personal bank account for 4 months. Be prepared to spend a lot of time setting up your business in Dubai to reap the benefits.