Starting a business in Dubai has never been easier than now. While today’s ever-evolving infrastructure and logistics provide the necessary means to start a company overseas, going global is by no means a simple task. Even though the Dubai government embraces foreign businesses by lowering taxes and supporting development, the process of taking your business overseas is different than what you’re used to locally.
Overcoming cultural barriers, addressing an entirely new audience, and becoming familiar with the laws and regulations are some of the top challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business in the UAE. But worry not! If you’re looking to break into the international market, the tips below will help make the transition as smooth and fast as possible.
Start by researching the market
Get to know the market before starting the company in Dubai. You’re reaching out to an audience that may be completely different from the one in your home county. Market research will help you gather all the necessary information to get started.
Seek out information about the industry you want to conquer. By answering the following questions, you’ll have a much better idea of what the best place to get started is and if your business has what it takes to enter the market:
- How eager is the competition in this particular field?
- What seems to be the biggest advantages and disadvantages of your direct competitors?
- Is there a high demand for the products or services that you provide?
- How should you price your products to stay competitive and still be able to cover expenses?
After gathering all this information and painting a complete picture of the industry, your next focus should be on the consumers. Understanding your audience is paramount for starting off on the right foot. Determine if the audience is familiar with the type of products you offer. It will help you understand how to advertise the products for optimal results. Next, define the buyer persona to know who you’re directing your products towards. Demographics, such as gender, age, education, social status, and general behavior, are vital for proper marketing strategy development.
Master the laws and regulations
Far less entertaining, but equally as important, learn about the UAE’s rules and regulations, as well as business policies. When going overseas, you’ll deal with a lot of paperwork, come across a bunch of legal terms, and discover entirely new legal frameworks.
This workload is what discourages entrepreneurs from entering a foreign market, but the situation isn’t as dark as you think. You’ll be happy to know that the local government has set up individual policies for foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting a new business here, so make sure you do your research. It’s a win-win situation, which means that the result is good for everyone involved. You can benefit from the support of a company like Emirabiz that offers consultation on how to set up a business in Dubai, how to get your residency, and how to open a bank account.
Depending on the type of business you’re running, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with the various tax codes, packaging standards, and particular business regulations to comply with the new market.
You’ll undoubtedly issue invoices and sales receipts. And it’s no secret that every country has its own set of rules when it comes to that.
Different VAT, archiving procedures, and even digital signatures (when the situation asks for it), are some of the aspects to consider. Electronic invoices will come in handy when you run an international business, which is why learning about global e-invoicing compliance regulations should be one of your top priorities. And, if you’re looking for a fast and professional way to send sensitive business documents, you may want to consider cloud fax. The most significant advantage of such technology is precise encryption. Third parties can’t access the documents, so you can keep data secure and keep the thieves away. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the consequences of breaking any data security laws and regulations.
Don’t ignore cultural differences and language barriers
Although seemingly unimportant, understanding language and cultural barriers play a considerable role in your business expansion process. Why is this crucial? Because if you fail to understand how important the cultural background is, the way people react or understand things, chances are you won’t be able to identify the best approach for your business. According to Hila Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International, less than 25% of the companies that decide to go overseas manage to succeed. Most of the time, the main reason for failure is the fact that entrepreneurs skip the business research process.
Besides understanding consumers, having a solid knowledge about a country’s culture will also help you establish connections with valuable business partners. You’ll have to deal with new employees, find suppliers, and investigate potential partnerships, which will be extremely difficult if you’re not capable of overcoming cultural barriers.
Establishing some reliable connections overseas will help you better understand language barriers, especially if you have to deal with a lot of paperwork and, most importantly, when you have to negotiate deals.
Establish an online presence
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, in today’s digitized environment, you need to establish a strong online presence if you want to have a chance at surviving in the market. Nowadays, we use technology and the Internet more than ever and expect businesses to do the same. Bringing your business into the 21st century means building a well-designed website, being present on social media, as well as using online marketing strategies for advertising.
If you’ve been in business for a while now, you know that this is a crucial step, not only for new enterprises but also for those looking to grow their customer base and centuries-old brand that want to improve audience retention. To become a global-first company, you need to connect to customers at every moment. The online community will give you valuable intel about consumer behavior, interests, and needs.
While going overseas may seem intimidating at first, your journey doesn’t need to be complicated. If you manage to take care of some fundamental aspects, everything will be fine. While the steps towards global business growth may look complicated, with a bit of planning and preparation, you’ll see that they are no different from the steps you took when first launching your company.