15 Essential Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East

  • Categories: Localization
  • Written By: Torjoman
  • Date: August 1, 2022

Every market in the world has unique business dynamics. You cannot run a business in the Middle East in the same manner that you would in the West. The Middle East is a region with enormous potential. Many business owners want to put money in this region in order to take advantage of untapped opportunities. Doing business in this zone has become very simple as a result of numerous business reforms. The Persian Gulf and Arab Gulf states of Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia comprise the Middle East. These countries form the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) political and economic bloc. Let’s take a good look at how you can successfully enter this market.

Choosing Local Partners

When you enter a foreign market, the first challenge you face is competing with local companies. As a result, you must find a local partner. The Gulf companies are eager to sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and form strategic alliances with foreign firms. These companies will assist you in producing and selling products. Although working with local partners is extremely beneficial, don’t become enslaved by leads and new orders. It can be difficult to manage local partners at times. Find a local partner who will create synergy between both organizations. Furthermore, everyone is on the same intellectual level.

Recognizing Cultural Diversity

Do you know what Westerners think of when they think of the Middle East? Oil, desert, and sands. This is just one facet of the Middle East. It has a diverse culture ranging from Morocco to Yemen. Furthermore, there are 20 countries with diverse histories and backgrounds. This region is home to nearly 335 million people, accounting for 6% of the world’s population. The Middle East’s most diverse region in terms of oil reserves is the MENA. Egypt, Yemen, and Morocco, on the other hand, have less resourceful economies. Understanding the cultural diversity of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is essential for a successful business venture, so that you can manufacture and sell products in accordance with the preferences of your target market.

Arabic Language Expertise

One thing that Arabs are well-known for is their pride in their language. This is due to the fact that Arabic is the language of the Quran, the Holy Book of Muslims. As a result, if you want to enter the Arab world, you must be fluent in Arabic. Learning a few Arabic phrases will demonstrate your appreciation for Arabic culture. You can finalize your deal with Arabic stakeholders if you interact with them in their language. If you are in the e-commerce industry, you must translate your website into Arabic. People will learn about your company and buy its products and services as a result. It is preferable to use professional translation services in an Arab country, so you may use a translation company in Dubai for instance. They will offer you rich website translation services  and assist you in approaching prospective consumers.

Find a Business Partner to Expand in the Arabic Region

To lower the barrier to entry in the Middle East, you must find a business affiliation or influential friend. If you don’t have any contacts, seek professional help on business matters. This will direct your efforts toward reaching out to prospective customers before your competitors do. Look for stakeholders who have done business in the Middle East in the past. for instance, if you have a Sales team from the Arabic region that has previously met sales targets, you will be spared from target market challenges. Making your business team up of experienced individuals will do wonders for your company. Arabs prefer to do business with people who are warm and friendly. As a result, in business communication, you should be available for them and begin with a small talk to break the ice.

Making Business Decisions in the UAE

In the UAE, stakeholders take their time when making major business decisions. For this reason, you must be patient and adaptable. If you are impatient, your business partner will have a negative impression of you. It is possible that they will refuse to work with you in the future. The important thing to remember is that, whether in your personal or professional life, you must be patient in all aspects of your life while living in the UAE. It will assist you in dealing with the most critical business phases. Managers are unable to make decisions unless they consult with their stakeholders. Employees, on the other hand, are not permitted to question management decisions. They are required to do whatever their managers instruct them to do. Business decision-makers, who are typically managers, are excellent risk-takers.

Face-to-Face Communication Is Preferable

If you are unable to meet with your business counterpart for any reason, make a phone call. People in the Middle East place little value on written communication or e-mails. They frequently end up in the spam folder. As a result, you must contact them to follow up on your business deal. If you’re in Saudi Arabia, don’t even think about doing business over the phone. They would rather meet for business purposes . The same is true for countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. If you talk to an Arab person face to face, you will notice that they are frequently checking their smartphones. Do not be offended. Make an effort to understand their language and culture. They’re not disrespecting you, but rather keeping up with cutting-edge technology.

Business Attire

Businessmen in the Middle East typically costume in the same manner as businessmen all over the world. However, it is advisable to dress appropriately for the region and business industry.  It is advised that you dress in dark colors. Short sleeves and shorts should be avoided. This relates to both men and women in order to maintain modesty in society. Persons in Arab countries place a high value on outward appearances. It represents their social standing in society. Consequently, in order to make a good impression on your business partner, you should dress comfortably and in high-quality clothing. People’s clothing has also been influenced by the weather. When Westerners travel to the Middle East for meetings, they remove their jackets and extra shirts in cars. Because of the hot weather, they would sweat if they didn’t. This is something that Arab hosts are aware of. As a result, if you attend the meeting, they will not remember if you remove your jackets.

Recognizing the Hosts

The Golf Company Council follows standard business practices. However, due to cultural differences, there are still many variations between Arabic countries. You must have local knowledge in order to understand the consumer behavior of Arabic people. If you are unable to communicate with the locals, seek professional advice from a reputable local law firm, such as chambers of commerce, or hire a local law firm. Furthermore, your home country’s embassy can be of immense help to you.

How to Define Arab Negotiation

Arabs are not straightforward negotiators. In negotiations, you will encounter many ambiguous terms and metaphors. They don’t say things like this to annoy you. It is their method of negotiating the final table deals. They are aware that disparaging a business partner will cause loss of the deal. As a result, you must be extremely submissive and open to exploring all business options. Furthermore, you must make sure that everyone in the room comprehends what you are saying. One thing to remember about people from the Middle East is that they never ask for clarification. This is why in the business negotiation, you must clarify everything by hiring a professional simultaneous interpretation agency.

Signing Business Contracts

Before you start your business in the UAE, you should find out which companies are interested in doing business with you. If you need to do business with a particular company, don’t begin with the mega project. Begin with small projects. Once they are successful, and you have established a good connection with customers, you will be ready to sign large projects. You can sign massive business deals and spend your time and money on them without fear, and you can use legal translation services in Abu dhabi to help you with signing any project.

Organizational Structure

The UAE business culture adheres strictly to hierarchical levels. Enterprises are organized in a vertical hierarchy. Senior and veteran employees hold the highest positions. They are promoted based on their performance. Furthermore, they are in charge of making company decisions. Employees at the lower levels, on the other hand, have no say in business decisions. They are obligated to accept top management decisions. As a result, if you want to do business with any company, you must cultivate positive relationships with the upper executives.

Business Cards

Every entrepreneur and business owner should have business cards. It should include your name, company name, department, phone number, e-mail address, and website. The most important thing to remember is that your card ought to be in both English and Arabic. People in the UAE have a very casual attitude toward business cards. They usually make a presentation to each other before the meeting begins. Remember to always give your business card with your right hand because it is considered impolite to do so with your left.

Women’s Role in Business in the UAE

Women are playing an increasingly important role in business in the UAE. They are pursuing higher education and pursuing careers rather than marrying. Many foreign women are flocking to the UAE in search of good jobs and to establish their own businesses. The UAE government also assists women by providing them with benefits such as part-time work, flexible hours, and maternity leave. You might be surprised to learn that 66% of women work in the public sector. Furthermore, 30% are in managerial positions, with women serving in the UAE cabinet being only 27% of its makeup.

Business and Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an important part of the business culture in the UAE. In February 2018, the UAE government introduced a CSR law and announced incentives for businesses that choose to implement it. Many financial benefits and exemptions are given to companies that apply corporate social responsibility on a global scale. Many businesses are investing in charitable projects, while others are working on environmental concerns.

Corruption and Fraud in the UAE’s Business Sector

Corruption, misappropriation of funds, and abuse in any commercial venture are all punishable offences in the UAE. This is why these sorts of crimes are uncommon in the UAE. According to Transparency International’s survey, the UAE is the least corrupt country in the world. Money laundering is the most daunting problem they face in the fight against corruption. According to Transparency International, millions of dollars are managed to be brought into Dubai. Furthermore, people have purchased real estate for cash. These issues are being looked into.

FinallyIt is not easy to tap into any foreign country. You must first know the market dynamics in your native language before developing a business strategy. Furthermore, you must understand the mentality of stakeholders and local business associates, so that you can deal with them appropriately. Following the rules and regulations of the country, as well as understanding the preferences of the target market, will ensure the success of your business venture in the UAE. Are you prepared to conduct business in the UAE?

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