Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Challenges of Doing Business in Dubai

The UAE with its seven Emirates is a tempting destination for businesspersons! It offers marvelous infrastructural facilities, modern technological support, an English-speaking workforce, and so on. However, you would still do well to remember that you are stepping into a cultural arena of which you may have little or no knowledge. Additionally, despite all the rosy promises, you may still face some hitches and glitches while launching your business. Therefore, it would be best to comprehend some of the challenges that you may encounter while doing business in the UAE.

Showing respect

An individual’s position or title matters a lot in Arab society and you will have to respect the same. Therefore, every business will have a specific hierarchy in place, wherein the people at the top make all the decisions and the others have to listen to them.

Similarly, everything in the seven Emirates, from working life to domestic life, and legal systems to governance, remains in alignment with Islamic values. You will have to award importance to them, whether you personally agree with their ideas or not. For instance, the time of Ramadan or summer may prove to be the ideal time for employees taking a vacation. Just be prepared with alternatives to fill in the gap or fill in the time. Additionally, you must take note of Islamic customs and religious beliefs while going in for business interactions. They come into play in all spheres of life.

Communication skills are an important aspect of doing business in a foreign land. Every region has its own way of communicating. To illustrate, even a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ may carry diverse meanings for diverse cultures, depending on the context in which they are used. The Arabs adhere to a certain level of directness and formality in their interactions with people. You will just have to practice, and practice some more!

Concept of time

Now, if you are from a country that attaches great importance to time management, you are in for a surprise/shock in the UAE! This is a place with a rather relaxed attitude towards the same. Do not be flabbergasted at sudden cancellations of business meetings, without even the hint of a warning! Do not feel frustrated if people turn up late, or if meetings run over the allotted time limit. Just get used to an alien culture’s way of looking at things!

Then again, the UAE’s working days are from Saturday to Wednesday, unlike in Christian nations. The weekend is the Muslim Sabbath, wherein people stay away from work on Thursdays and Fridays.

Time, however, has great meaning, when it links to lifestyle and quality of life. For instance, if you are planning to launch a business in the UAE, specifically in Dubai, you will need to ensure that you have sufficient money in the bank to support you for at least a year.

Do not expect your new venture to yield profits in the very first year and help you live the lifestyle you want. Note that the competition is eternally striving to catch up. You will have to spend a lot of time on traveling across the UAE and to diverse global marketplaces, in order to display your novel products or services at different events, during the first year.

Tech trends, especially, catch you with the global populace like lightning, regardless of wherever they originate! Therefore, you become part of a game of first come, first served. Additionally, Dubai is an expensive place. Make “Time is Money” the motto at your workplace.

Requisite knowledge

Do you have enough experience or expertise to initiate a business in the UAE? If you do not, please get some professional advice before you set out on an unknown adventure. It is imperative to have sufficient knowledge about official requisites, government rules and regulations, premises for launching a company, etc.

Administrative obstacles can throw a spanner into the best of efforts, and ruin your peace of mind! Therefore, do not try to attempt everything on your own, despite the details given on official websites regarding licensing, fees, regulations, etc. Engage a local agent.

Then again, you need a healthy capital in hand, prior to starting an entrepreneurship. You may need to borrow from friends, use your personal resources, or take private loans, initially. Remember that you are in an alien country, and banks are wary of lending to foreign start-ups immediately.

Thus, the initial years are bound to be rather difficult, despite the authorities going all out to make things as easy as possible for foreign investors. Of course, once your business takes off, everyone will willingly support you!

Miscellaneous challenges

Astonishingly, although the world views the UAE as one of the smartest nations to provide excellent infrastructural facilities and Internet technologies to entrepreneurs, the authorities seem to have difficulty in grasping the concept of social media-based initiatives.

This proves a hindrance to obtaining a trade license for a work-from-home business. The authorities will demand to see your computers, workplace at home, etc. Annual renewals of licenses may prove tedious, for administrative explanations have to be equally tedious in nature!

Natives from over 200 countries race to make the UAE, especially Dubai, their home for some time, at least. Yet, you may have difficulty in hiring the right kind of talent for your particular trade. You have begun your start-up with a vision. It may not be so easy to find people, who are willing to put in their best to fulfill that vision.

It is the UAE’s dream to encourage foreign investors to carry their businesses across borders. This is because the authorities believe that only when there is healthy competition, will the economy improve and sustain.

Therefore, if you wish to stay on top, research the marketplaces across the globe, wherein your products/services will sell well. Remain up to date with business happenings all over the world. Even your staff will have to remain well motivated and committed all the time. Also, do not forget to focus on Expo 2020!

how can we help you?

Contact us at our office in Dubai or submit a business inquiry online.

see our gallery

Looking for a First-Class Business Plan Consultant?