Expanding Your Business and Entering the UAE Market
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Expanding Your Business and Entering the UAE Market


Business and Entering the UAE Market

You have established a successful business in the UK, USA or in any other country and are now looking to expand, but the question is where to expand to and how. The UAE comprises of seven states with Dubai being perhaps the most famous due to its rapid expansion and innovation.  There are many advantages to entering the market in Dubai:-

1) Tax incentives  – no corporate or income tax.

2) Open Market.

3) An attractive tourist destination.

4) Continuing expansion.

5) Growth in online shopping – over 300% from 2012 to 2013.

The growth in online shopping in particular makes it a lot easier to test your product and services in your desired location.  Whether you are a working at home Mum, or large corporate organisation, an online presence makes you immediately accessible.

Will my business succeed in the UAE?

To decide on whether your business will succeed in Dubai you have to do your homework!  Do a business plan and research the market, just because your idea works in the UK or USA does not necessarily mean it will translate well into the UAE.

You need to understand your new customers, how they shop, when and their cultural differences.

The business plan should include financial, marketing and sales strategies as well as a description of the business and operational set up.  The business plan is particularly important if you are looking for investment.

Market research should encompass the competition, costs, specifics of business with the UAE and your customers.  By doing a SWOT analysis you should be able to cover the main points affecting your business.

  • · Competition:

Is there already competition for your product or services?

What are their prices?

Do you offer something different?

Look at social media sites to see what is being said about the competition.

  • · Costs:

The initial cost and risk need to be weighed up.  Is it worth taking the risk?

Undertake a market test to minimise risk.

Look at possible help and funding which might be available to you.

  • · Duties and regulations associated with working in Dubai:

Doing business in Dubai may well be very different to how it is done in the UK.  To help with this, there are many cultural training schools available.  These provide courses on anything from help with negotiation to people management and training.  It is also extremely important to understand the business etiquette.  Getting it wrong can make the difference between a deal and failure.

  • · Route to market.

Once you have decided to expand your business in Dubai, you will need to decide on the best route to market and how to set yourself up.  There are various options open to you each with their own costs and risks as follows:-

1)     A formal presence in UAE – usually by way of a limited liability company.

2)     Using a commercial agent.

3)     Establishing a branch office.

4)     Establishing a 100% foreign owned business in one of the free trade zones.

5)     Licensing.

6)     Franchising.

With the continual growth of the online market, the world is becoming a smaller and much more accessible place.  There is a wealth of information available on the internet to help you decide whether expansion into the UAE is the right decision to make and certainly while markets are slow at home it makes sense to look abroad.

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