Issue 6 Feb. 2012 - Mar. 2012 Price: AED 10
www.theintelligentsme.com Gives your business an unfair advantage
SME outlook 2012
Dubai SMEs are all set for higher revenues
and profits this year P28
European markets beckon
Why UAE companies are heading West
How personality affects work performance
A milestone for Dubai
The top 100 SMEs announced
The No.1 Platform of Business Leaders
Strategic alliance partner
FEBRUARY - MARCH 2012
20 Entry into European markets
Why local companies are now taking the jump
into European markets, especially Germany.
24 Breakthrough technology in diagnostics
Revelar, a medical device that measures cell
damage will soon be launched in April.
26 Viability depends on government support
SMEs in the F&B industry require the Dubai
government’s support in creating a nurturing
32 SME Pulse: The way ahead
28 SME business outlook 2012 SMEs have positive expectations from 2012.
What can Dubai’s SMEs expect for the future? New initiatives are being taken by various
authorities in the UAE to build a foundation for
9 Rare & Fabulous their growth and development.
Success is a destination. Have you arrived?
36 A closer look into the SME sector
14 A heady whiff of success Zed Ayesh sheds light on the issues that affect
Olimpia. T. Mascolo gives an account of her the SME industry.
successful journey with her perfume brand
Anfasic Dokhoon. 38 ‘Micromanagement is a huge wastage’
Taner Kilicarslan urges SMEs to grab
18 SME 100: A milestone for Dubai opportunities, use online tools and organise
The emirate’s top 100 SMEs announced. their business.
40 Dubai SMEs upbeat in Q4 Alliance partner
SMEs are expecting an increase in sales revenues and profits in
2012 compared to the previous year, according to Dubai SME.
44 To the long life of your business
Nita Maru writes on the need for a proper business succession
plan to avoid uncertainties in the future.
46 Quality compliance with ISO 9001:2008
Quality at a competitive cost can be achieved only through an
effective process-based system, writes Dr. Sameer Kumar.
49 Women Entrepreneurs
Kelly Lundberg’s ‘Divine’ inspiration, and Kristina Nyzell’s advice
54 How personality affects performance
Corrina Cross shows how to increase success at the
56 Happiness leads to success
Prof. Christopher Abraham explores the science of happiness
and how it relates to professional and personal success.
58 Your employees need caring
Michael Tolan explains the need for adopting wellness policies in
companies to increase productivity.
61 How to inspire your peers
Anesh Jagtiani writes on the key to becoming a positive and
62 Let’s get social
Farrukh Naeem answers your queries on using Facebook, Twitter,
SEO and any other online services.
Be a Connector
Chief Executive Officer
EDITOR’S NOTE Account Director
VP Business Development
vents such as SME 100 and SME Invest are giving SME Shraddha Barot Amariei
companies solid platforms for further development and, above
all, an exposure, which is indispensible for their growth. Sandhya Divakaran
Recently the top 100 SME companies were announced in the emirate Consulting Editor
of Dubai, which gave a wholesome emphasis on what exactly goes into Utpal Bhattacharya
being an SME by Dubai standards. Looking at financial and non-financial
aspects, the SME 100 list gives many benefits to all companies that Kristina Nyzell
have attained this recognition. Alexandar Williams
On a similar note, an SME roundtable, which was recently held in Dubai, Farrukh Naeem
further zoomed in on the sector, to see what is required by SMEs in
order to grow. Industry experts were unanimous in their answer that Nita Maru
finance and governance dictates an SME’s growth. Corrina Cross
Prof. Christopher Abraham
Some of the upcoming events this year, including SME Invest, National Michael Tolan
Exhibition for SMEs and Middle East SME Forum are aimed at giving
the much required support, recognition, knowledge and networking Art Director
platforms to this sector. These are defining times for the region’s SME Aneesh Varghese
sector, as various forces in the market are coming together to help them
boost their performance. SME companies are looking forward to a great Web Designer
year ahead. There is a feeling within the sector that things have, finally,
started to look up, in spite of mixed sentiments of industry experts. Editorial Enquiries & Contributions
Company owners and decision makers are now motivated and inspired Tel: 04-2659704, 04-2650312
to strive for further growth, as the mechanisms of a positive change are Fax: 04-2690566
slowly falling in place. The next step would, of course, be for suppliers, E-mail: email@example.com
such as banks, equity lenders and financial institutions to take a closer
look at SMEs, and see what can exactly be offered towards this sector. Tel: 04-2659704, 04-2650312
And as we, at The Intelligent SME, always emphasise, change is
happening. It’s time to get in where the action is, and be the change Subscription Enquiries
Tel: 04-2659704, 04-2650312
that you want to see!
Sandhya Divakaran Melanie Castro
Post Box: 89735, Dubai, UAE
Tel: 04-2659704, 04-2650312
Fax: 04-2690566, 04-2651708
Disclaimer: SPI Publishing has endeavoured to bring out a publication that is reliable and www.spi-holding.com
informative. This is true to the best of our knowledge. The opinions presented are those of
individual writers and not necessarily endorsed by SPI Publishing. The content in this magazine is
protected by copyright law and is copyright to SPI Publishing unless credited otherwise, and may Follow us on twitter: @intelligentsme
not be copied, reproduced or republished for any commercial purpose or financial gain. Facebook: facebook.com/spi.holding
The Intelligent SME
More than a business magazine
Empowering Decision Makers
Change is happening. Be a part of it.
Please visit: www.theintelligentsme.com facebook.com/theintelligentsme
linkedin.com/company/spi-holding Please follow us: @intelligentsme
S U C C E S S I S A D E S T I N AT I O N
H AV E YO U A R R I V E D ?
WATCHES YACHTS DESIGNER JEWELLERY BOUTIQUE REAL ESTATE GADGETS EXOTIC DESTINATIONS FINE DINING
Rare & Fabulous
High tea onboard Bateaux Dubai
‘High Tea’ has now launched on the renowned Creek vessel Bateaux Dubai, a
must do experience for any resident or visiting tourist! Take in the traditional Dubai
sights in a cruise past the legendary Souqs, the bustling docks, the crowded Abra
stations as well as the more modern landmarks.
Launched in January, the 45-minute cruise combines delicious creations with
essential sightseeing, as the vessel sails the famous waterway. The chef and his
team onboard have created a delectable high tea menu, adding to the experience.
Packages start from AED75 per person, including a selection of canapés
and refreshments such as tea, coffee and soft drinks. Alternatively sample the
new, mouth-watering high tea menu for only AED150. The premium package of
AED195 per person also includes a glass of French bubbly.
Bateaux Dubai is already an established evening venue and tops Trip
Advisor’s list for Dubai’s best restaurants, but experiencing this superb glass
vessel during daylight is as glorious as by night, albeit in a very different way.
For reservations please contact the Bateaux Dubai team on 04 399 4994 or
Rare & Fabulous
The new Porsche 911 Carrera: Tradition meets modernity
The completely redesigned generation of the iconic instrument cluster with five round instruments of which
Porsche 911 Carrera is stepping into the limelight with its one of them is a high resolution multifunction screen, the
flat, stretched silhouette, exciting contours and precisely central rev counter and the ignition lock to the left of the
designed details. steering wheel. Setting the standard in its class, as it has
The 100 millimetre longer wheelbase and reduced for generations, the new 911 Carrera and Carrera S raise
height combined with the up to 20-inch wheels underpin the performance and efficiency bar yet another notch. All
the athletic appearance. At the same time, the compact versions get by with significantly less than ten litres of fuel
sports car exterior dimensions were retained. per 100 kilometres. Fuel consumption and emissions are up
The remodelled exterior mirrors are accommodated to 16 per cent lower compared to preceding models.
on the upper edge of the door and not as before on The 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S can be ordered as
the mirror triangle. Like in the exterior design, classic of now starting from US$91,041 for the 911 Carrera and
Porsche elements can also be found in the interior: the US$107,796 for the 911 Carrera S (GCC).
Rare & Fabulous
Hästens Beds now in Dubai
The 160-year-old Swedish Hästens Beds brings to GCC
its highly acclaimed hand made beds using only natural
materials, with the launch of its state-of-the-art store at
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah. The 3600 sq ft store is designed
as an experience zone where visitors can test Hästens’ full
range of beds along with all natural pillows and duvets and
other bed accessories, in a luxurious environment.
By using naturally processed horse hair, the finest wood,
and a spring system that provides excellent ergonomic
support to the whole body, Hästens has created beds that
understand the human body and its need for deep, restful
sleep. This understanding has spurred the creation of three
collections that suit different sleep needs and individual’s
preference: Frame Beds, Continental Beds, and Adjustable
Beds. Price on request.
Rare & Fabulous
Desvall, crafted to perfection
The Shisha is a symbol of unity. A round table which creates
space for the merging of minds. With its flawless design and
unparalleled beauty, the Desvall Shisha is the ideal choice, an
object worthy of true art.
The Desvall Shisha truly embodies Sweden´s world famous
and critically acclaimed artistic heritage: hand shaped
ceramics, pioneering use of metal and leather working
techiques, as well as the exquisite and rare reindeer antler
carvings of the indigenous Sami people.
All Desvall Shishas are individually crafted to perfection; each
piece is milled out of a solid block of metal. Every metal piece
is sanded and polished by hand, and individually coated. Each
Desvall Shisha is a unique work of art. Desvall’s exquisite
collection includes limited edition black, gold and chrome. It
can also be customised to taste and specification. Price on
Made in UAE
A heady whiff of success
The UAE is one of the easiest places to begin a business. How one
manages the business to makes profits depends on the owner’s skill.
Sandhya Divakaran spoke to one such successful entrepreneur, Olimpia T.
Mascolo (OM), owner of Anfasic Dokhoon LLC.
SD: Why did you choose this line of was heavenly. Coincidentally, I came
operations? What is your academic to Dubai on holidays and everything
background? clicked in place. I wanted to work
in perfumes and I wanted to be my
OM: When I was a child, I used to own boss. The Gulf’s incredible
pick roses and ask my mum to boil cultural addiction to perfumes and
them so I could keep their scent the business-friendly environment of
longer! Perfumes are my passion. the UAE were the perfect setting for
While studying foreign languages in me, so I decided to stay.
the south of France I was working
in a historical perfume factory in SD: How did Anfasic Dokhoon come
Grasse, the capital of perfumes. to being?
It was converted into a museum
and my job was to show people OM: I was very lucky to meet my
around and give them a sense of business partner, Mohamed Hilal,
how perfume was manufactured. It from my very first years in Dubai.
was then I realised that this is what We set about making a perfume
I wanted to do. I had an experience brand, and he suggested the name
of Oud when I was in France and it Anfasic Dokhoon, which means
Made in UAE
“breathing incense.” We developed were either ‘French’ perfumes or
the brand from A to Z, from the ‘Arabic’ perfumes, which were very
concept creation all the way to the traditional. We blended the two
retail operations: scent development, worlds together. Our target is the
packaging development, and young Arab generation that travels
production of the actual perfumes. worldwide, is very fashionable and
The conception took about one seeks quality, and yet is attached
year, finally the first kiosk opened in to their traditions. Anfasic Dokhoon
Mercato in April 2007. reflects their needs: we offer
a modern, elegant and trendy
SD: What were the challenges that image with our powerful and rich
you faced in your journey? How was oriental scents. Somebody once
the competition, especially in this complimented me that we were
part of the world where incense, the ‘Rolls Royce’ of perfumes; but
perfume, Oud are well established? I would rather be the ‘BMW’ of
perfumes, because then we offer the brand only (the group including
OM: Anfasic Dokhoon now counts luxury, but at an affordable price. the back office and the factory counts
28 retail stores. Support and hard 200!), introduction of the brand in
work are what made us grow so fast. SD: What techniques have you Galeries Lafayette in September
Mohamed’s experience in Arabian used to market your product 2010, and we closed 2011 as their
fragrances taught me everything successfully? number one selling brand. My
I know about Oud and incense, advice? Don’t start a business for the
and until today it is fascinating to OM: Anfasic Dokhoon’s success money, do it because you love the
manipulate such rich and came from three things. Firstly, I idea and everything will seem much
beautiful ingredients. attribute it to the uniqueness of easier! Real passion is what
The perfume business is the concept and the quality of our brings success.
one where you have to ensure fragrances; distribution is the second
consistency and quality in every factor with our own retail shops SD: Where do you see the perfume
product. The ingredients are natural, giving us more flexibility; and thirdly, industry in the next five years?
and so one needs to be extremely our strong focus on turning our
conscious of the quality of sales team into fragrance specialists OM: Yesterday I was reading an
the resources. through extensive perfumery training. article about edible perfumes, who
Business is a challenge in itself. knows where technology will take
The list of specific challenges we SD: What is your vision? How far do us? But definitely people are bored
faced would be very long. However, you want to take your brand? of the same scents. Perfume is a
I believe the most important thing signature. It defines one’s identity,
is to remain positive and believe in OM: We currently have shops across gives one self confidence and makes
oneself. Of course, the most difficult the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi one feel good. Most consumers are
part in this game is maintaining the Arabia. The strategy for 2012 is to educated and demanding, and this
right exposure in the retail market. develop a range of products for the allows more space for niche brands
Negotiating the right locations Western market, particularly Europe. to develop.
in shopping malls remains very We have succeeded in diversifying
challenging. Once you have the our range to spray perfumes, SD: How do you balance work and
locations, the second challenge is to candles, lotions and so on besides family?
make sure you hire the correct brand incense. We’re planning on adding
ambassadors maintaining a high many more products in this range in OM: I was very focused in the
standard customer service. the near future. first three years on the brand;
entrepreneurship in the beginning
SD: How would you differentiate SD: What would you consider means longer hours, multitasking and
your product from the entire range your achievements and what very little time for yourself, your work
of foreign and local products advice would you give to budding becomes your family which I think is
available? entrepreneurs? great. Dubai can be very lonely and
it’s good for the staff and their boss
OM: Today, all the international OM: Anfasic Dokhoon started with to be comfortable and close to each
houses of perfumery are turning one little kiosk in Mercato in 2007. In other. I got married last September
towards Agarwood and oriental three months we will be celebrating and nowadays life is much more
fragrances. Five years ago, when our fifth year with 30 shops across balanced, so I have two families: one
we started the brand, there the region, over 60 employees for at home and one in the office!
The Intelligent SME 15
Updates you might have missed
New economic opportunities in Dubai
Dubai has steadily built confidence international awareness on the
among businesses and residents emirate’s advantages as a gateway
on the strength and sustainability to high growth markets, the business
of its growth. Dubai’s economy sector in Dubai is looking forward to
returned to positive growth during accelerated growth and expansion.”
the last two years,” Sheikh Ahmad Engineer Hamad Buamim,
Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman director general, Dubai Chamber of
of the Economic Sector Committee, Commerce and Industry; Marwan Bin
president of Dubai Civil Aviation, Galitha, director general, Real Estate
and chairman and chief executive Regulatory Agency; Khaled Ahmed,
of Emirates Airline and Group, senior vice president, Economic
said in his keynote address at the Zones World; Dr. Nasser Saidi,
forum, hosted by the Department chief economist, Dubai International
Sami Al Qamzi, director general DED of Economic Development (DED) in Financial Centre Authority; and
Dubai. Dr. Mohammad Lahouel, chief
G overnment officials and private Held under the theme ‘The economist, DED, shared the public
sector leaders speaking at Power of Vision – Economic sector perspective on the future of
the second ‘Dubai Economic Development in an Uncertain Dubai’s economy at the forum. The
Outlook’forum shed light on the World’, Dubai Economic Outlook sector leaders and analysts who
economic growth prospects for 2012 focused on three topics: addressed the forum included Jamal
Dubai in 2012, emphasising the ‘Macroeconomic Outlook’, Majid Bin Thaniah, group CEO, Dubai
various drivers, opportunities and ‘Restructurings for Development’ World; Dr Marios Maratheftis, head
strategies to harness potentials for and ‘Engines of Growth’. Sami of research, Western Hemisphere,
further development and growth. Dhaen Al Qamzi, director general, Standard Chartered; Dr Farouk
“Through strategic responses Dubai Department of Economic Soussa, chief economist, Citibank;
and close co-ordination between the Development, said: “With sharper Trevor Rowe, executive chairman,
government and the private sector, focus on diversification and growing Rothschild Australia; among others
S. Korea eyes 66% rise in 20th PR World Congress
tourists from Middle East
M ade in Korea, an exhibition in the MENA region
showcasing products, services and technologies
M alaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar
Ibrahim, the British public relations guru Lord Bell
and the former head of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar, will
from South Korea, has announced that it is preparing headline an impressive line-up of 35 speakers from the
a showcase of tourism destinations and value-added worlds of politics, public relations and the media when the
services in the country and in the Middle East. While there 20th Public Relations World Congress (PRWC) comes to
are around 60,000 tourists from the region who visit South Dubai next month.
Korea each year, the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) is Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh
aiming to increase the figure by over 66 per cent to reach Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and
100,000 visitors by end of 2012, in line with the KTO’s Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in
ongoing ‘Visit Korea’ campaign. partnership with the National Media Council of the UAE,
GCC countries are particularly important growth PRWC will take place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai over three
markets for South Korea’s tourism industry, led by Saudi days during March 13 – 15, 2012.
Arabia, which witnessed a 52 per cent increase in tourists Anwar Ibrahim, now a Malaysian opposition leader
to Korea during the first six months of 2011 in comparison and leader of Keadilan, the People’s Justice Party; Lord
to the same period in 2010. UAE’s tourists to Korea also Bell, who played a key role in former British Prime Minister
increased by 16.9 per cent during the same timeframe, Margaret Thatcher’s three successful election campaigns
while the number of Kuwaiti tourists in South Korea was and now the chairman of Chime Communications; and
up by 15.7 per cent. Wadah Khanfar, who now leads the Sharq Forum, an
Tourism in South Korea has been a major revenue independent think tank, will lead a roster of thought-
source for the national economy with 8.7 million foreign leaders who will address the theme: “From the Arab Street
tourists visiting the country. to Wall Street, Communications in the Age of Dialogue”.
16 The Intelligent SME
Updates you might have missed
DIB introduces ‘Al Islami Business Online’ for companies
to access over 75 Business Online is the latest
services at the click of a component of DIB’s strategy to
button. transform the existing model of
Developed to business banking,” said Dr. Adnan
help businesses in the Chilwan, deputy CEO – chief of
UAE easily manage consumer, wholesale banking.
their finances, Al Islami “Through continued innovation, DIB
Business Online enables is helping enterprises in the UAE to
companies to administer both manage their finances and grow
their funds 24/7, pay their businesses. Al Islami Business
utility bills and access Online further enhances DIB’s
Dubai eGovernment position as the bank of choice for the
Dr. Adnan Chilwan, deputy CEO – chief services, create multiple UAE’s business community.”
of consumer, wholesale banking. users with different levels of access, Al Islami Business Online is
transfer salaries through the Wages available to all DIB business and
D ubai Islamic Bank announced
the launch of Al Islami Business
Online, a portal enabling companies
Protection System (WPS), account
services and cards related services.
“The launch of Al Islami
corporate banking customers, with
free account set-up until
March 31, 2012.
More fund raising assistance in the Middle East
R oyal Investment Bank Limited
has signed a collaborative
agreement with Bridgehead
– thereby saving them the time and
effort associated with finding Middle
Eastern investors for individual funds.
mix. However, our primary and
secondary market research indicate
that there is a strong investor desire
Administration Limited to provide Explaining the new venture for smaller funds with market-leading
fund raising assistance and in context, Lars Pampel, CEO, performance,” he added.
investment marketing services to Bridgehead Administration Ltd Mohamed Ahmadi, founder
international fund managers who are and director of investor relations
and CEO of Royal Investment Bank
looking to access the investor market at Royal Investment Bank Ltd, said
Limited said: “Working in conjunction
across the Middle East. that improving market visibility and
with Bridgehead Administration, we
Both firms are based at Dubai raising capital in the Middle East has
International Financial Centre always been difficult, even for a large are focusing on industries that are
(DIFC), and their joint venture number of ‘best of breed’ funds. of particular interest to investors in
aims to actively market alternative “Historically, most allocations the Middle East - real estate, oil and
investment funds in the region and have gone to funds that have been gas, power and utility, travel and
to provide a full bouquet of capital able to leverage their size as part of hospitality, healthcare, and foreign
raising capabilities to fund managers their overall investment marketing exchange.”
Moody’s credit opinion on the UAE
M oody's foreign and local
currency issuer ratings for
the federal government of the UAE
government of Abu Dhabi (also
rated Aa2 with a stable outlook).
Abu Dhabi's sovereign ratings
federation's economic performance
and fiscal balances are volatile given
its dependence on hydrocarbons,
are Aa2. are supported by the emirate's although the external current
These high, investment grade very strong government balance account has remained in surplus
ratings are based on Moody's sheet and abundant hydrocarbon despite global oil price downturns
assumption that the government resources. since the late-1990s, if not longer.
of Abu Dhabi, the richest of the A release said that the Another concern, it noted, is that
seven emirates that compose the consolidated fiscal account of the the UAE's political, administrative,
UAE, stands fully behind the federal UAE is dominated by the budget and legal institutions tend to be
government. Given this assumption, of Abu Dhabi. The release said that less developed than rating peers,
Moody's links its ratings of the the federal government's ratings especially as scored by the World
federal government to those of the face several constraints. The Bank's governance indicators.
The Intelligent SME 17
SME 100: A milestone for Dubai
Dubai SME announced the names of the emirate’s top 100 SMEs earlier
this month at a ranking ceremony. A TIS report.
he names of Dubai’s cent as small companies, and 33 per of SMEs to attract equity capital,
top 100 SMEs were cent as medium sized establishments. according senior officials of
announced earlier this Companies registered were from Dubai SME.
month at a ceremony the manufacturing, services and Speaking at the ceremony,
hosted by Dubai SME, an agency trading sectors. Sami Al Qamzi, director general
of Dubai Department of Economic Together, with a combined of DED, said: “I congratulate the
Development. The ranking initiative turnover of AED2.3 billion and first batch of Dubai SME 100
was launched by Dubai SME in 2011, employing 4,319 personnel, these100 companies that have demonstrated
and a total of 1092 SMEs registered companies have set the base for the willingness and capabilities
for the rankings, out of which 100 SME development in the emirate. to be evaluated under the Dubai
SMEs were selected. The selection The ranking will be a platform and SME 100 model. They have shown
of these 100 SMEs was based catalyst to identify promising SMEs, commendable performance and
on a number of criteria and upon groom them to become sustainable vision for growth and development.
complete submissions of financial enterprises, and eventually become I also commend Dubai SME for
statements, management interviews globally-oriented companies. The launching such an initiative to create
and site visits to ascertain merits. ranked companies will be role models, a dynamic platform for all SMEs
The top 100 ranked SMEs fall sharing best practices to the rest of to come forward on their own will,
under Dubai’s official SME definition, the SME community. They will also participate, exchange information
with 15 per cent of these companies receive opportunities to raise capital and share best practices. I am sure
classified under micro SMEs, 52 per and a potential secondary listing SMEs will be curious to know how
Sami Al Qamzi, director general of DED, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the economic sector committee, president
of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline group, and Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME at the
SME 100 ranking ceremony.
18 The Intelligent SME
their fellow-enterprises have grown and overcome challenges. In short, not ranked this year would join the
and developed.” we need to overcome all barriers to bandwagon then.” Eastern Biotech
“These SMEs have now create new value for the economy. was ranked 19 in the listing.
responded to the call to participate Dubai SME 100 is a major means to
willingly and share their business achieve this.” Arch. Khalifa A. Al Jaziri, group
information in the first-ever Dubai Al Janahi noted that Dubai managing director of e-Home
SME 100 ranking. A vast majority of is home to a rich diversity of Automation, which was ranked
them have been nominated by our companies, especially SMEs across seventh, said: “This is a milestone in
banks and free zone companies, varied sectors such as trading, the growth of SMEs. We are proud
and therefore, it can be rightly said services and manufacturing. “Yet to have made the ranking, and this
these SMEs represent some of the we do not often hear or know opens the door of opportunity for
best SMEs that Dubai has,” Al Qamzi who among them are the fastest us. This year is looking very positive
added. growing and most talented, or what for us.”
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of their ambitions are. These SMEs
Dubai SME, said: “Dubai has been have used Dubai as a base to start
the epicentre of global business their business journey, and are
opportunities and development for now flourishing,” he said, adding
decades. Many great companies that Dubai SME 100 will bring the
and global brands have been built in spotlight on these SMEs, enabling
Dubai over the last three decades. them to accelerate growth.
Indeed, their story is the story of Said Dr. Faruq M Badiyuddin,
Dubai’s economic development. CEO of Eastern Biotech and
Moving forward, to sustain Dubai’s Life Sciences: “SMEs dominate
dynamism and the can-do spirit, we business in Dubai. This ranking has
need a new wave of thinking, action motivated us further, by giving us
and energy. We need new ideas, the inspiration to strive for even
more innovations; we need new more growth next year. We hope to
ways of doing things; we need to better our ranking next time, and we
take more risks, stretch ourselves, are sure that companies that were SMEs dominate
further, by giving
us the inspiration
to strive for even
Dr. Faruq M Badiyuddin
Sami Al Qamzi, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Abdul Baset Al Janahi with CEO of Eastern Biotech and Life
the winners at the SME 100 ranking ceremony.
The Intelligent SME 19
Entry into European markets
Jan D’Sa investigates why local companies are now taking the jump to
European markets, especially Germany.
here has always been European countries that offer a Two graphs are used here to
a constant interest in stable political and economical illustrate the points as follows. In
developing economic ties system, not giving in to all the talks Graph 1(Page no.21) it is shown that
between Europe and the of so called Euro crisis. besides being the largest exporting
MENA (Middle East and North nation of the European Union (EU)
Africa) countries. A recent very good German attraction and despite high customs, Germany
example is the agreement between A large number of companies in remains the pillar of growth in
Swiss-based pharmaceutical the Middle East consider the Federal Europe. This strength of Germany
company Acino and Cephalon Inc. for Republic of Germany as the most makes it attractive for international
the former to take over Cephalon’s attractive point for potential market investors that are strictly looking
Middle East and Africa business, entry in the European market, being for security, a very competitive
investing EURO800 million. the world’s fourth largest economy environment, ultra modern
Stagnant economies offer with a GDP of US$2.94 trillion (2010 infrastructure and the advantage of
golden opportunities for quality estimate). Germany is strategically being in the geographical centre of
products to secure new thresholds. located in Central Europe, and which Europe.
Products in the lifestyle, luxury puts it right in the middle of the Historically, Germany has
fashion and gourmet food industries commodity and services movement. strongly defended its track record
are currently experiencing market Germany Trade and Invest, the as one of the major export nations
gains in highly competitive European economic development agency of of the EU, and this has elevated its
markets, offering tremendous the Federal Republic of Germany, economy into a solid position relative
opportunities for companies in cites why Germany is the most to competitors in the region. Graph
the Middle East to invest in these attractive European market. Through 2: (Page no.22) Illustrates Germany’s
segments Germany, UAE companies can have strong potential, even disregarding
Besides, the constant political access to the growing domestic the country’s massive constraints
instability and churning in the Middle markets of the European Union. that emanates from the household
East in the recent times, is leading Other factors such as world class budget due to EU responsibilities.
to regional companies looking out infrastructure, competitive tax Dr. Marcel Mulley, managing
for more stable markets. These conditions, and secure investment director of MABA Holding,
companies are increasingly choosing framework make Germany the ruling an international management
to set up bases, specially in those European market. consultancy firm specialising in new
20 The Intelligent SME
and value-added tax (VAT) on goods
and services. The disadvantage
of making goods expensive can
be compensated by the rate of
exchange in favour of the currency
The signing of a new tax treaty
in 2010 between the UAE and the
Federal Republic of Germany (also
called the Double Tax Treaty) appears
to have no considerable advantage
over a situation without a double
taxation agreement for German
nationals, but offers advantages to
UAE companies entering Europe.
Double tax treaty:
In principle, a double tax treaty
enables offsetting tax paid in one
of two countries against the tax
payable in another, in this way
(Graph 1) preventing double taxation. The
old agreement compromised that
market entry and turnkey operations, Through Germany, jobholders who had their place of
says: “Setting up a business in
Germany is straightforward. The
UAE companies residence or permanent dwelling
in Germany were exempt from
main consensus is choice of can have access
paying taxes in Germany on
company. The German company to the growing wages learnt in the UAE.
law allows company formations that domestic markets According to Low Tax global
include limited liability companies, tax & business portal (one of
joint stock companies and various
of the European
the web’s largest and most
forms of partnerships. If UAE-based Union. authoritative tax and business
companies are for joint partnerships, portal information sources), the
the importance lies in doing the new DTA signed with Germany
groundwork and charting a precise and the UAE in July 2010,
business plan to convince official manufacturing and also supporting
introduces a new formula by
bodies and to enter the market environmental issues in the
which in such case any paid
successfully. Thankfully, a lawyer or GCC countries.
taxes in the UAE are to be set off
consultant can provide the necessary What are the factors influencing
against the otherwise payable
know-how to guide through the economic decisions to enter new
taxes in Germany. The new
dense jungle of bureaucracy. Also, European markets?
agreement (DTA) has obviously
partnerships or joint ventures are grown to meet the constraints of
less extensive, since the partner Costing structures and taxation
does all the regulatory work.” While positive and negative
Besides the prevention of fiscal
The upcoming German-Emirati factors (such as saturated markets,
evasion, with respect to taxes and
partnership conference in Abu Dhabi abrupt change in policies, tax
income this agreement, as Sheikh
(April 2012) is further proof that issues) will continue to influence
Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
there is a serious discussion taking economic decisions when entering
stated, “It was set to open new
place, revolving around economic new markets, it is interesting to see
avenues for commercial and
cooperation, establishing and how companies can still benefit from
investment cooperation between
maintaining of contacts between different taxation systems.
the two countries.”
German and Emirati companies. This Costing structures play an
Also, the old agreement
event should boost fundamental important role in consideration
(DTA) did not treat the income
relationships and coin the future of market entry. Whilst the UAE
earned by self-employed persons,
agreements with German and is mainly income tax free, Germany
namely people in positions as
Emirati companies working in the has a complex tax system with
physicians, artists and attorneys.
sectors of construction, engineering, income reaching up to 52 per cent
The Intelligent SME 21
this is not a one-way trend.
Arts festivals and Biennales in
other parts of the world are flooded
with visitors from the Middle
East countries, including artists,
collectors and investors. The art that
is produced in the Islamic world is
definitely gaining prominence in the
West, thanks to Charles Saatchi’s
initial initiatives through his ‘Unveiled’
exhibition featuring Middle East
artists. More recently, the Louvre
museum, France, has added on the
department of Islamic Art, which
will hold some of the oldest Islamic
collections. Most of the funds
towards this department, running in
millions of Euros, were championed
by GCC countries, including Saudi
Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. There is
enough proof that there is interest
for Middle Eastern art and high craft
(Graph 2) products in European markets.
It is on this train of thought that
Emirati Farah Al Fardh, owner and
Looking abroad designer of Farooha, approached
Setting up a business
For ChoCo’a, a UAE-based the idea of introducing her Emirati
manufacturer and retailer of exclusive
in Germany is themed 3D models made of paper
chocolate, confectionery and straightforward. The quilling with Emirati themes into the
pastries, the current UAE markets main consensus is European markets. While the art of
are saturated with many chocolate paper quilling is quite extensively
choice of company.
manufactures. It, therefore, made practised in the UK, it remains
sense for them to expand into new The German company relatively unique in other parts of
markets in Europe, despite the fact law offers company Europe including Germany, France,
that Germany and Switzerland are the formations that Spain and Italy.
main chocolate producing European She says: “The European market
include limited liability is a mature one, where there is more
According to Assem Hamzeh, companies, joint stock appreciation for all kinds of art forms
managing director, ChoCo’a, “Our companies and various originating from the Middle East. It
market study indicates that the is definitely easier to make the right
forms of partnerships.
European markets are mostly kind of contacts in the art world
saturated with mass chocolate as well as working with a German-
products; however, the high-end based partner so that I can augment
market is shared by few. Moreover, dealers companies,”Hamzeh adds. the awareness of this particular art
there are no products like ours in Unique Arab artwork form.” There are a number of areas
the German market.” Despite tax It is also important to have unique where MENA companies can look
implications in Europe, Hamzeh products to showcase in new at Europe to diversify their markets,
believes that a population of 82 markets. including manufacturing, IT, health
million Germans means a bigger Recent political situations in care and engineering services.
target clientele, which would be of the Middle East have given art a big But industries like art, which show
great interest to ChoCo’a. “Sure, boost. MENA artists are presenting significant promise, should be
there are competitors, but the artworks that showcase issues which explored further. In some ways,
different approach to our products are poignant and moving. In recent for companies from the region, the
as well as developing new line of years, we have seen a number of art pastures in Europe are really lush
tastes, which is not familiar to the fairs and biennales, such as the Art green: the scope is immense for
European markets, means that we Dubai, Art Abu Dhabi and the Sharjah those that have the right products
stand a greater chance of having Biennale that attract international art and services, strategy and in some
new cooperation partners and major lovers and investors to the UAE. But cases partners.
22 The Intelligent SME
Medical diagnostics gains
Ground-breaking medical device measuring cell damage to
be launched in April. A TIS report.
lood tests will soon be reflects breath aldehydes in the The Revelar score
thing of the past. Enter parts-per-billion range. The device is
the Revelar system, a simple to use, and takes less than
is a measurement
medical device that uses seven minutes to get a personal tool to give patients
non-invasive techniques to detect score, which helps to detect a very specific
aldehydes and free radical damage. oxidative stress in the human body. method to measure
Launched by US-based Pulse The Revelar score helps people make
Health and distributed in the educated lifestyle decisions that may
region by Pharmaplus, the Revelar improve their health. Additionally, reduce free radical
system gives real-time diagnosis it can be used to determine the damage and
of a person’s wellness or illness type and amount of nutritional
by tracking aldehydes, organic supplementation an individual takes
compounds released when cell to narrow down the risk of disease. health.
damage occurs in a body. Alaa Altaher, CEO of
Aldehydes are indicators of free Pharmaplus, says: “Aldehydes are stress reduction advice and suggest
radical damage, a possible symptom evidence of cellular injury, and many appropriate exercises to alter the
that factors in cancer, heart disease, are also highly toxic themselves. score and help in improving the
ageing and rheumatoid arthritis. The The Revelar score is a measurement wellness of a patient.”
Revelar system measures volatile tool to give patients a very specific The Revelar device is currently
and often toxic aldehydes that exit method to measure aldehydes, help in the registration process with the
a body through exhaled breath. The reduce free radical damage and UAE ministry of health. Altaher says
non-invasive technology uses a ultimately improve health. If a doctor that the device is being registered in
Revelar Breath Tube to capture these has this data in his hand, then he the Grade 1 category. He also adds
aldehydes in a unique manner, and will be able to prescribe appropriate that the device will be rolled out in
calculate with a Revelar Score, which antioxidants and enzymes, or give phases in the UAE and the region.
“We will roll out Revelar
to the hospitals first, and then
target corporates and insurance
companies,” he says. Chris Marsh,
CEO of Pulse Health, who was in
the UAE recently to speak to the
country’s medical fraternity, notes
that the device would also be
appropriate in wellness centres, for
nutritionists, clinics, chiropractors
and fitness centres.
Pulse Health, the owners of the
Revelar device, is in the process of
launching other medical devices
that use breath-analyzers. The
company is planning a global launch
of two devices shortly, one that will
measure cholesterol and another that
Alaa Altaher, CEO of Pharmaplus, and Chris Marsh, CEO of Pulse Health, launch would measure blood pressure, both
the Revelar system in Dubai. using breath technology.
24 The Intelligent SME
Viability depends on government support
SMEs in the F&B industry see opportunities ahead;
however, the government needs to play a proactive role
to create the right environment, according to some local
players. A TIS report.
he food and beverage manufacturing contributes to the agricultural and livestock produce
(F&B) sector represents a food security and diversifying and a continuous rise in raw material
significant share of the total manufacturing objectives of prices, affecting margins.
investments in Dubai. the country. The study also revealed
The F&B industry in Dubai is that in order to develop and
characterised by national industries Opportunities increase competitiveness of F&B
that account for local investment The main opportunity for SMEs in the manufacturing in Dubai, government
and multinational companies (MNCs) F&B industry in Dubai relates to niche intervention in the form of low cost
and free zones, representing foreign products based on the market trends land and utilities and increased
investment. However, Dubai’s F&B of convenience, health and luxury incentives for research and
industry remains largely dependent that cater to high income segments. development would be appreciated.
on imports, a trend common to the With a multicultural society Firms could also benefit from
GCC as a region. consisting of wealthy locals and a increased export assistance and
To promote the industry, dynamic pool of expatriates, Dubai marketing support for locally made
the government needs to play a can serve as a testing ground for products.
proactive role in providing incentives innovative food products, which are The demand for products is
and creating the right environment to export-worthy, according to experts. highly dependent on population and
encourage local F&B manufacturing The latest Dubai SME research its lifestyle characteristics. A highly
in a highly competitive environment on Dubai’s F&B industry revealed demanding population provides
in and around Dubai. that the local industry in Dubai has incentive to innovate and improvise
The development of the F&B industry been stagnant due to increased products, the Dubai SME report
is key to the strategic development competition coming from large and suggested.
plan of Dubai. From an economic low cost producers in Saudi Arabia The F&B landscape in Dubai is
and strategic perspective, F&B and India, limited supply of local relatively crowded with a multitude
26 The Intelligent SME
of imported products and brands. The F&B landscape new venture, while agreeing with
Foodstuff sold in retail outlets is him, said that challenges were not
estimated to consist of 75-80 per
in Dubai is relatively limited to these issues only.
cent imported consumer-ready crowded with a “Another problem is the location.
products and 20-25 per cent locally multitude of imported The right location for an outlet like
processed foods. this is very important. Ideally it could
products and brands.
Consequently, there is potential be big shopping malls, but those
to increase the share of locally Foodstuff sold in retail are out of question, as they demand
manufactured F&B products as outlets is estimated huge rentals. It is hard to convince
well as to enhance value-addition to consist of 75-80 big malls to give us a releasing offer.
on re-exports before it reaches the In fact, they (malls’ managements)
per cent imported ask us, the beginners and local
customer. There are also avenues for
Emiratis to explore entrepreneurship consumer-ready players, to pay as much as major
opportunities in select product products and 20- international brands. Is this fair?” he
categories. 25 per cent locally demands.
“We need government’s help.
processed foods. We know there is a dedicated
Nasser Al Hashemi, a young UAE organisation – Dubai SME, but so far
businessman, who is in the process we have not approached them,” the
of setting up a restaurant, said: “It is partners said.
not easy to set up a new business as
we do not get enough help in doing
“For instance, I do not know
whether I can get any help in
financing my venture and, if yes,
there is no information on how one
can get it. Luckily, I am financially
sound, and can do it on my own. But
apart from funding we need other
For example, we had to conduct
market research, a feasibility study to
find out whether it is viable to open
a new restaurant in Dubai, which is
full of different kinds of outlets from
fast food to specialised ethnic food
restaurants,” he said.
“There are two ways of setting
up an eatery – establish a new
concept or get a franchise. I opted
for the first one and decided to open
an outlet, which will serve traditional
European food, with a different
concept of serving,” he explained.
“So, to get market research
done I was asked to pay a huge sum
of money that would be very difficult
to recover even if the restaurant
is successful from day one. My
question here is – how am I or any
other young entrepreneur supposed
to pay so much to some consultancy
firm, which is doing this kind of
report that I did on my own with
minimal expenditure?” he queried.
Fardan Al Fardan, his cousin
brother and business partner in the
The Intelligent SME 27
SME business outlook for 2012
What can SMEs expect for the future? TIS finds out,
following the recently held Dubai Economic Outlook,
the pulse of the segment.
ith Dubai’s GDP and the substantial increase in Q1 2011, growth rate for 2012 is
expected to grow by passenger traffic through Dubai expected to exceed the numbers
over four per cent in International Airport in 2010 and achieved before the economic crisis,
the first quarter of this 2011,” Sheikh Ahmed said. he added.
year, the emirate’s business outlook He said the financial sector in As the global economic
for 2012 seems to be positive, Dubai has also remained resilient slowdown is expected to impact
according to experts. and robust, in spite of the real estate Dubai’s trade partners (especially
Government officials and private lending challenges. “As a part of Europe, China, India and other GCC
sector leaders speaking at the our overall prudential approach in countries), access to international
second ‘Dubai Economic Outlook’ managing public finance we have diverse markets will be a key element
(DEO 2012) forum recently shed light rationalised the use of public funds for the emirate’s trade activities,
on the economic growth prospects and have set tighter budget controls he explained.
for Dubai emphasising various for 2012,” Sheikh Ahmed disclosed.
drivers, opportunities and strategies Trevor Rowe, executive Export
to harness potentials for further chairman, Rothschild Australia, Dr. Mohammad Lahouel, chief
development and growth. echoing Sheikh Ahmed’s views, said economist of the Dubai Department
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al that construction and real estate of Economic Development, said:
Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai sectors were expected to achieve “Exports of goods and services will
Economic Sector Committee, robust growth following a return to be the main driver of growth
president of Dubai Civil Aviation positive growth in parallel with global in 2012.”
and chairman and CEO of Emirates economy recovery, and the tourism He said that it would contribute
Group, said Dubai’s economy has sector will continue to play an to this growth rate significantly,
returned to positive growth in the last important role in Dubai’s economy. adding that Dubai has an extremely
two years, albeit at a moderate pace, Following an increase of 17 per open economy with an excessively
compared to the pre-2009 phase. cent for restaurants and hotels in dynamic service oriented market,
According to available estimates, the driven by a rather exemplary tourism
emirate’s GDP grew by about 2.5 per sector, which in turn feeds the retail
cent in 2010 and by more than three and hospitality sectors.
per cent in 2011. We see these Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, director
Dubai has had its fair share of sectors firmly in the general, Dubai Department of
difficulties. However, the strategy of driving seat once Economic Development, said: “With
creating new opportunities through sharper focus on diversification and
diversification has succeeded in growing international awareness
bringing about economic prosperity by an unrivalled on the emirate’s advantages as a
and stability. infrastructure, global gateway to high growth markets, the
enterprises and business sector in Dubai is looking
Growing sectors forward to accelerated growth and
Economic activity and prosperity
growing reputation expansion.”
in Dubai has traditionally been as an international Hamad Buamim, director-general
centred on the trade, logistics and destination. of Dubai Chamber of Commerce
tourism sectors, he said, adding:
“We see these sectors firmly in the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al
driving seat once again, supported Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai
by an unrivalled infrastructure, Economic Sector Committee, president
of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and
global enterprises and growing CEO of Emirates Air Line Group,
reputation as an international
destination.” Together, trade,
logistics, transportation and tourism
accounted for almost 60 per cent of
Dubai’s GDP in 2011, he noted.
According to Hani Al Hamli,
secretary-general of Dubai Economic
Council, Dubai accounts for about
one-third of the UAE economy.
“As you well know, these sectors
have recently experienced vigorous
growth, as demonstrated by the
buoyancy in tourism and hospitality
The Intelligent SME 29
CONFERENCE CENTER COMMERCIAL OFFICE SPACES
ference and meeting Shell and core of-
facilities with the fices and business
flexibility to meet all centre services to
kinds of networking support plug and
conferencing and play.
ments. For retail and com-
For conferencing please contact:
and events enqui-
ries, please email: 055 2333000
RETAIL ENVIRONMENT GOVERNMENT SERVICES
BV is serviced by an impressive retail environ- BV houses a number of Key government offices
ment, which includes a food court, health club, to provide many of the essential services under
coffee shops, fine dining, convenience store one roof.
and banks to serve the community
hhp://www.facebook.com/pages/Business-Village/108911539225050 follow us @Buzzvillage
and Industry, said: “From whatever for investment in labs and there is
feedback we get from the Dubai The subsequent demand, then it is going to be a
business community, perspectives eastward shift in good year for us despite the global
for this year look promising.” slowdown. But I believe it will be
Uncertainties resulting from the
economic activity tough for others, especially smaller
global downturn and euro-zone crisis and financial companies to survive in these
as well as regional developments flows present vast uncertain times when competition is
following from the Arab Spring opportunities for fierce,” he said.
have underscored the importance “In fact, we managed to expand
of Dubai’s economic vision. The
Dubai’s economy into other GCC countries, including
subsequent eastward shift in and the private Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as
economic activity and financial flows sector, experts say. Egypt, during the last couple of years
present vast opportunities for Dubai’s since the inception of the company,”
economy and the private sector, he added.
experts say. “The business is growing, there
The economic forecast for are all the positive signs for that, with
the UAE by Oxford Economics last that SMEs in Dubai can divert their our company entering new markets,
month put the merchandise export operations to the vast African market including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and
growth at 35 per cent driven by and benefit from the significant trade Kuwait, not to mention the Northern
higher oil output and prices, as well relationships that exist with the Emirates,” said Atheeqe Ansari,
as by the revival of non-oil trade continent. director of a medium-sized electrical
in Dubai. Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat, owner cables supply company.
of a medium-sized laboratory supply “While the real estate and
What’s in store for SMEs? and maintenance company in Dubai, construction sectors have plunged
“The (business) outlook for Dubai said: “Business outlook for medium- over the last three to four years since
SMEs for this year is good, with sized companies in Dubai is good the economic crisis has struck, the
all the indicators showing positive this year, especially in our field given industrial sector is still functional. It
outlook growth,” said Abdul Baset Al there are investments in this sector.” is growing and it is well funded,” he
Janahi, CEO, Dubai SME. He added “If the government has budget explained.
Trade, logistics, transportation and tourism accounted for almost 60 per cent of Dubai’s GDP in 2011.
The Intelligent SME 31
SME Pulse 2012: The way ahead
Factors like lack of finance and talents have been the bane of the SME
industry for ages. However, certain initiatives are now being launched in
the UAE in an attempt to solve these issues. A TIS report.
he SME industry has always company listed in Dubai SME 100 operation he is expanding, but
been at a disadvantage, and winner of The Big Project’s 2011 he owes this success purely to
when it comes to basic Green Building Project of the Year. innovative solutions.
elements that contribute to But Nassar’s journey had not been Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight
growth and success of enterprises. easy. It was a bumpy ride to success. Discovery, explains why small
Time and again, there have been His first business closed in about six businesses go through messy
various discussions regarding the months. situations, especially at times like
plight of these small businesses Nassar says that he did receive today when there is hardly any
that contribute so significantly to the trade credit from a local bank, but confidence in the market. He says:
gross domestic product of the UAE this support was not a consistent “More fundamentally, entrepreneurs
economy and yet continue to remain one. “When you’re dealing with local in the UAE are usually expatriates,
on the fringes. Experts keep harping banks in tough times, as they were with strong links to other countries.
on two primary areas that need in 2008, the consistency of support In the event that their businesses
immediate addressing for SMEs can be very poor. We had facilities falter, they often leave for good. In
to become competitive: talent and that were valid for 90 days. Then, fact, given the absence of a modern
funding. on the 59th day, I get a call from my bankruptcy law, they may face
banker saying that they had changed imprisonment if they stay. Potential
Challenges of funding their terms. The facility was now financiers know this, and often see
There are numerous instances of valid for only 60 days. I had recourse commercial ideas of merit as being
SMEs being forced to close owing to nothing at that time, and yet I had far too risky.”
to lack of capital. Take for example to close my position with the bank A recent panel discussion
the case of Mohamed Nassar, the within 24 hours. It had been quite a on SMEs, organised by Insight
founder and managing partner of struggle those days,” he recalls. Discovery in Dubai, drew attention
WMS Metal Industries. Nasser Nassar’s second business to some major problems faced by
founded WMS in 2007. He took WMS Metal Industries has seen this industry segment. According
the company from a start-up to a better days. After three years of to Edward Rodericks, co-chairman,
Envestors MENA, an angel
investment and corporate finance
company, among numerous
challenges that SMEs face, those
that are in the business of offering
services find borrowing extremely
difficult, as they hardly own any
hard assets that can be offered as
security. Their second challenge is
the cost of funding. Sometimes the
rates are punitive, he adds.
“I find it extraordinary that
businesses which are trying to grow
and develop are able to borrow at
that level, let alone to be able to pay
it back at some stage in the future,”
Add to that the cost of getting
a licence, operating fees, an office
space, rents, and many other
32 The Intelligent SME
expenses, and SMEs are left with and leasing. We are focusing only costs.A number of SMEs have also
no budget to strategise and develop on corporate clients since most begun to outsource simple tasks
their business. companies, these days, don’t have to freelancers and consultants to
enough liquidity to buy vehicles by reduce expenses further. This way
Innovating to survive themselves and the banks are very they have professionals to deal
The need for hiring the right talent tight on lending, so the only choice with their projects, while incurring
in a company is equally important is to lease out these vehicles, giving nominal expenses as opposed to
as capital. Many SME owners are them peace of mind to outsource recruiting new staff. In most SMEs,
of the opinion that talent is key to a this function to us. This is an multitasking is a habit, where few
company’s success, along with effective solution that works in our manage a lot of responsibilities. The
cash flow. favour.” owner himself wears many hats and
“Every potential candidate is Companies like Atics are going takes care of many specific tasks,
a winner during interviews. Ten with market trends and developing be it administrative, financial and
days later, they reveal their true innovative products. Atics, which so on by himself. Another way of
capabilities, and the employer is primarily provides preventive and getting talent and finance is to get a
at a loss,” notes one entrepreneur. predictive electrical maintenance shareholder who is also an industry
Finding and sustaining right talent solutions for various sectors by using expert. This is a long-term solution
is as time-consuming as any other thermal imaging or thermography, is where both parties – the business
project, and due diligence is required about to diversify its products on a owner and shareholder – receive
for this task as well, he adds. need-based philosophy. “The world mutual benefit.
However, despite the difficulties is in need of an energy shift, and Financial institutions such
of the present times many SMEs are renewable energy is the focus of the as Gulf Finance, and HSBC and
applying innovative and times. With this in mind, Atics will be National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)
cost-effective solutions to access entering into commercial trading of are now closely following the SME
capital to cover their burgeoning solar hybrid generators and energy industry, supported by their own
expenses. Many have diversified their efficient lighting,” discloses Rashid research arms. Nick Levitt, head of
portfolios of services and thereby, Al Mutawaa, MD of Atics. commercial banking, HSBC Bank
increased revenue lines. SMEs owners and decision Middle East, predicts that in the next
Hussain Al Tahri, managing makers are networking regularly, five to ten years, provision of funding
partner and director of Al seizing opportunities wherever to SMEs will be one of the areas that
Wegdaniyah Transport, says: “Our possible to expand their client will experience the largest growth for
company used to cater to retail database. Indeed, proactive and financial services in the country.
walk-in clients prior to 2008; but result-oriented in nature, they are
since then we only deal with constantly trying to remain ahead of Government support
corporate clients, long-term rentals competition, reducing unnecessary Many industry experts agree that
The Intelligent SME 33
government support is the key to the such as the recently held Dubai SME will provide value to the SME sector,
success of the SMEs in the country. 100, organised by Dubai SME, an encouraging knowledge transfer
The governments of economies like agency under the Dubai Department and networking. It is hoped that
Hong Kong and Singapore ensure of Economic Development, are this steady stream of support will
that half of bank debts are invested aimed at motivating SME companies, continue till SMEs are self sufficient.
into the SME sector. Although inspiring them to maintain robust
there is nothing comparable in financials, strive for further growth
the UAE, there are certain positive and also offering them beneficial
indications in this regard. The Dubai support through financial institutions challenges that
Chamber of Commerce and Industry and advisory. SMEs face, those
recently signed a memorandum Mohamed Ahmed Bin Ghalaita,
that are in the
of understanding with NBAD to managing director of Suntron, an
facilitate entrepreneurship by electronics and home appliance business of offering
providing up to US$100 million to company that was adjudged 31 in services find
SMEs. This is a major development the Dubai SME 100 rankings is now borrowing extremely
for the UAE, as bank lending to SMEs looking forward to the next big
difficult, as they
in the country has been restricted to event. “The Dubai SME 100 ranking
a mere 3.85 per cent, which is the has motivated us immensely; we hardly own any hard
lowest in the world. are now looking forward to SME assets that can be
All indications are that the Invest where we will be exhibiting,” offered as security.
governments in the UAE are he says.
beginning to offer the much needed Events such as these, along with
support to entrepreneurs. Rankings trade exhibitions and conferences,
‘Innovation is the name of the game’
Hussain Al Tahri (HT), managing best insights you can give to budding TIS: What is your opinion of your
partner and director and Mohamed entrepreneurs? industry at present? Are there any
Lashin (ML), CEO, gave The problems that you would like to
Intelligent SME an account of their HT: Since 2008, we doubled our highlight, and how you are solving it?
experiences at Al Wegdaniyah growth achievements every year.
Transport and the SME industry in Our advice? Focus on long term ML: We are focusing on corporate
general. Al Wegdaniyah Transport is prospects and give excellent service clients only; now most companies
ranked 70 in the Dubai SME 100 list. and pricing. You will definitely beat don’t have enough liquidity to buy
the competition. vehicles by themselves and the
TIS: Please explain the operations banks are very tight on lending, so
of your company and how long you ML: Also, I might add, it pays to the only choice is to lease out these
have been functioning. be specialised. Companies have to vehicles, giving them peace of mind
study their market very well, and to outsource this function to us. This
HT: Our company was established use tactics and pricing that can’t be is an effective solution that works to
in the year 1997, and we became offered by large companies. our benefit.
members of Dubai SME in 2008.
Al Wegdaniyah handles the shuttle TIS: What were the challenges faced TIS: What are your plans for the
bus service for all the major malls in the course of doing business in this future? Would you be further
in Dubai and is one of the top three country? diversifying your portfolio, or build on
companies for ground transportation the existing products?
for Emirates airline. HT: In order to operate without
any difficulties we pay high fees HT: We already diversified our
ML: Our company catered to to establish and run our business. portfolio of products. We are now
retail walk-in clients prior to 2008, These are challenges to any start-up. providing innovative solutions to our
but since then we only deal with We have to pay licensing and existing client base. For example,
corporate clients, long-term rentals operating fees to various bodies. we are now offering baggage
and leasing. Now, after more than three years, we delivery express service for Emirates
have an established revenue stream, and goods delivery for various
TIS: How have you grown over the but in the beginning these fees companies. Innovation is the name of
years of your existence? What are the severely affected our cash flow. the game.
34 The Intelligent SME
Shuttle Bus Service for Mall Shoppers
Airline Passenger Transport
Luxury Bus shuttle service
Luxury cars for business and ﬁrst class passengers
School Bus Service
Hotel Guest Transport
Goods & Luggage Delivery
Ofﬁce # 801, Business Avenue, P.O.Box: 93934, Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 2947 000, Fax: +971 4 2947 111, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.alwegdaniyah.com
A closer look into the SME sector
Zed Ayesh sheds light on the issues that affect the growth of the
SME industry and provides solutions that will uplift this sector.
ubai, without a doubt, is micro businesses employing SMEs, a sector that plays a vital role
one of the best places nine people or less, with a turnover in the economy, employing more
in the world to set up a of less than AED3 million for than 50 per cent of the labour force.
business, especially for service-oriented businesses and
SMEs. As an expert working very AED20 million for manufacturing Delegation of responsibility
closely with the SME sector for businesses, according to the Dubai It is fair to say that SME owners are
the past five years, I have had an SME definition. The second factor is a different breed of people. They
opportunity to deeply understand the that the majority of SMEs in the UAE are a key factor in any SME success
working of SMEs in the region. This are service businesses. story, as they drive their businesses
has provided a clearer perspective of At the outset, it is important with dedication and passion. The
SMEs internally and externally. to note that UAE SMEs, in spite of more passionate they are about what
In this part of the world, SMEs are all the challenges they face both they do; the better is their rate of
challenged by internal factors much internally and externally, are in a success. Unfortunately, this is also
more than external ones. There are much better position compared to the reason for most of the internal
two important issues that contribute similar SMEs in the region. However, challenges – owners or managers
to the internal challenges, the first it would be pertinent to shed some cannot ‘let go off the reins;’ in most
being that most SMEs in the UAE are light on the issues that will affect cases they are unable to empower
36 The Intelligent SME
Many of these requirement, and which reflects marketing and sales plans. Secondly,
badly on delivered services. a credit-reporting system should
businesses do not A bigger challenge stems from be created where suppliers and
even understand service businesses: selling services customers can be checked out and
market needs, that are intangible, thus dictating evaluated based on track record and
demands and longer sales cycles, which are more performance.
accentuated when there is a lack of Thirdly, any business has
consumer track record and credibility, especially to involve its consumer. Allow
behaviour. In most in the case of a newly established experiences to be shared with
cases, owners open business. Longer sales cycles affect consumers through an open
a business owner financially and forum with feedback that can be
shops based on
emotionally, and have a negative displayed prominently. Fourthly,
their beliefs and impact on the passion factor, standardisation, certification
intuition, until they expectations and performance. This and insurance will help bring
are struck by reality. is an important issue that is not accountability to a business, by
addressed in the big picture. being responsible for the goods and
services sold. This step would also
other staff, and which means there Competition increase the need to be consistent
are lesser delegations of duty to get As a global business hub, with quality.
the job done. Ultimately, it all boils Dubai constantly attracts many Giving SMEs a boost to steady,
down to an owner or a manager and entrepreneurs from around the upward growth requires due
his individual capacities to multitask, world; this in turn results in fierce importance for the consumer, in
instead of creating internal systems competition in the market. Only terms of value delivered, as well
that delegate responsibilities. This is the best will survive, depending as improving the quality of service
one of the reasons at the core why upon business understandings of of the SME. We must uplift all
SMEs in this region are handicapped an owner, practices established in stakeholders in order to make the
from becoming large corporations. place and levels of service delivery SME sector the most important
Add to that the complexities that, of any company that meets the engine of growth our economy.
in many cases, arise from the same requirement. However, most
background, culture and education consumers will refer to price as the
level of an owner or a manager, main comparison among goods
stymieing progress of the company. and services, a factor that could
Many SMEs stagnate at one level challenge a new SME business.
due to avoidable mistakes, as most I have seen a number of
internal challenges exist due to entrepreneurs in Dubai that have
flawed top management practices set up their businesses without
and conduct within the business. (if any) enough market research,
Owners or managers need to be business planning, feasibility studies,
rehabilitated, which is the first and evaluation of core competencies
most important step in building or differentiating factors to take
strong, growth-focused SMEs. on competition. Many of these
businesses do not even understand
Quality of service market needs, demands and
Furthermore, another cause of consumer behaviour. In most cases, Zed Ayesh has over 20 years’
owners open shops based on their experience in management
internal challenges is that most
and business development.
SMEs in the UAE are beliefs and intuition, until they are
He is currently the managing
service-oriented. This means that, struck by reality.
director of Flagship Consultancy
in order to succeed, service-based based in Dubai, and works with
SMEs should provide good (if not Solutions clients on many aspects of the
good, then reasonable) level of Business owners must undertake business from strategic planning,
service to their customers. This in certain procedures in order to business development, marketing
turn, requires trained individuals. In succeed. I would suggest a few strategies, pre-sales and sales
most cases, an owner or a manager to begin with, and these include management, across different
is unable to provide such training, establishing a reliable source to sectors such as government
receive accurate data on the various agencies, real estate, media
as costs significantly increase when
hiring trained employees. A majority aspects of the market. This data can
contracting, engineering firms,
of owners try doing business without be used to make business plans
retail and shipping companies.
investing more than the minimum and chart out feasibility studies,
The Intelligent SME 37
‘Micromanagement is a huge wastage’
Taner Kilicarslan urges business owners to grab opportunities, be smart,
use online tools and organise their businesses to make good profits.
and authorities are promising less
bureaucracy to help start-ups.
These are positive times for the
However, there are some major
hurdles to overcome for the regional
SME businesses. We get calls every
day from business owners, and the
most common question we face
is: “How can I get my business to
generate more profits?” Quite a few
of our clients have hit a plateau, and
some very early in their life cycle.
After studying their marketing and
sales strategies, the one flaw we find
is that their tactics have not changed,
although the market has.
For example, one of the
biggest problems I find is that while
consumers are going on the internet
or using mobile technology to source
products and services, many SMEs
aren’t properly harnessing the power
of these tools to generate more
business or communicate with their
rowing your business in a shape a whole new paradigm for existing customers. Internet savvy
flat-growth environment the way 21st century businesses competitors are snapping these
requires a bold will operate. The collapse of many clients up, while those not willing
combination of savvy and aspects of corporate culture and to accept the use of new media are
innovative thinking, careful planning change in financing gives way to losing revenue by not being able to
and well-thought-out tactics with growth being driven by emerging, communicate their message and ask
realistic benchmarks. While I see highly flexible, entrepreneurial for the sale.
a surprising degree of confidence organisations. Another major challenge that
amongst businesses in the UAE, SMEs also make up over 85 I run into is, meeting a business
SMEs must also possess a keen per cent of the UAE’s business owner who wants to grow his
awareness of a shifting focus on community with recent government business, but has no business plan.
where and how growth is pursued. statistics showing nearly 180,000 It’s near impossible to run and grow
In the past 15 years, I have SMEs in operation. And, according to a business without clear benchmarks
always worked for the “largest firm” the Ease of Doing Business rankings in place with realistic goals.
of one industry or another from 2011 set by the World Bank and One of my clients for instance,
media to manufacturing, helping IFC, currently, the UAE is ranked was facing a similar type of situation.
them grow their business. And 33rd in the world, while it is ranked It was an established and recognised
today, I focus more on helping SMEs 42nd for starting a business. Banks brand, but had no internal structure
achieve exceptional growth. It is are starting to lend more to this for HR, finance, or marketing. It also
more exciting to work with SMEs specific group, laws surrounding had no web presence, no product
because they are poised ready to small business are being reformed, development for many years, no
38 The Intelligent SME
sales training and was losing money. Another major sector in the region for this year
The owner had been micromanaging is extremely positive. Essential
the business so much that it created
challenge that I run into factors for the success of a good
a bottleneck, and development was is, meeting a business business are creativity, diversity and
not possible. owner who wants to entrepreneurial drive which
When I was called in to the UAE-based businesses have.
grow his business, but
company to help restructure things, Regardless of what the news
the first thing I noticed was the
has no business plan. tells us, we are in a new economy
lack of a business plan or a clear It’s near impossible and it is here to stay. No matter
trajectory to grow and generate to run and grow a what the conditions are, innovation
more revenue, and none of the remains the essential ingredient
business without clear
employees knew which direction the for market leadership. Yet, many
company was going either. It took benchmarks in place businesses fail to set strategic
some time to revamp that business with realistic goals. priorities for it. Those who apply
with adequate planning, web the right approach to how their
development and market domination business operates, from identifying
strategies. Today, with our guidance, with our partner David Bullock in the efficiencies and sources of financing
this same company offers exciting US, co-author of Barack 2.0 - Barack to thinking more globally about
new web tools, has completely Obama’s Social Media Lessons for opportunities for expansion, will
new branding, employs successful Business, showed that the region’s continue to reap the rewards of
online marketing using social media adoption of web-based tools is nearly growth in an otherwise flat business
to bring in more prospects, a sales five years behind that of the US. The environment.
team that sells with one voice, and a UAE, and regionally the GCC, has a
back office that supports the whole truly dynamic business community
process efficiently. that wants real change and is hungry
for development. But when countries
Micromanaging develop, they expect entrepreneurs
I would say that one of the most to initiate and champion change.
important lessons for SMEs is to set Therefore, there is usually not
up automated systems for marketing, enough research conducted on
lead generation, accounting, what the SME truly needs and
sales training, outsourcing web governments tend not to have clear
development, and creating a new strategies on how to help this sector
mindset around the business by grow. At the third Annual Middle
East SME Forum in Abu Dhabi in late After 15 years experience
clearly defining everyone’s roles. A
working in three continents,
common mistake business owners 2011, government initiatives were
Taner Kilicarslan launched
make is to feel they need to control set up to workshop ways to help
SME Rebuilders, a group of
and run every process themselves. SMEs through the announcement of experts focusing on change
This type of micromanagement is a improved laws while state run banks management, strategic company
huge waste of time and resources, would offer more services. But in the planning, sales training, business
especially for a busy CEO who end, it’s up to the SME to take action development, website design
should be out networking, creating and invest in their development. and development with SEO
business ventures and driving big But a warning to the wise; be services, business accounting,
deals back to the company. We careful when trying to find resources business law, and Virtual PA
as the world is rife with people services.
understand that for SMEs, cutting
Having expanded his
costs and converting prospects trying to sell solutions in a box which
network around the world with
into buying customers is essential. promise new media expertise. I have
influential figures in key sectors
But it takes the leaders of these written about this in my book, The and creating successful joint
organisations to believe that change Web-Entrepreneur Success Guide, ventures, Taner gained a more
is necessary before any meaningful but if they are not a registered rounded understanding of
change can occur. business in your area or a registered most markets bringing that
Small businesses must also company that offers real training expertise to SME Rebuilders.
remember that they are not limited you may be in for an expensive Taner loves public speaking and
to local or domestic markets, and ride and wasted months. If an SME filming his own Web-TV shows
needs help deciding what resources and more. His ultimate goal is to
through effective use of the internet,
build an online business empire
doing business globally can have to choose, we can help them by
and open a micro-winery in
exceptional benefits. However, a connecting them to the right people.
recent informal study we conducted My outlook for the SME
The Intelligent SME 39
Dubai SMEs upbeat in Q4
The SME community has positive expectations from the last quarter
of 2011 in terms of sales revenues and profits. They are also quite
bullish on the outlook of 2012, writes Alexandar Williams.
ubai SME, an agency (vs. 41 per cent of SMEs as per the confidence index has increased by
under the Department of Q3 survey) and another 54 per cent approximately 25 per cent compared
Economic Development, plan to expand their capacity (vs. to the index in Q2, 2011 and
conducted the SME pulse 49 per cent of SMEs as per the Q3 approximately 10 per cent compared
survey for 475 SME businesses in survey). to the index in Q3, 2011.
Dubai for the fourth quarter (Q4) of However, large businesses
2011. The sample selected for the Business Confidence Index– Q4 are more upbeat compared to the
survey included companies in the The SME Business Confidence Index SMEs. This is reflected in their Q4
trading, manufacturing and (BCI) for Dubai in Q4 rose to 125 BCIs which are respectively equal
services sectors. points, indicating an overall positive to 125 for SMEs and 138.6 for large
According to the survey, the business outlook amongst SMEs for businesses. The higher confidence
composite business confidence the first quarter of the year 2012 (a among large companies is primarily
index for SMEs rose in Q4 by score of 100 indicates stable/ due to a more optimistic outlook on
approximately 10 per cent compared neutral sentiments). future profits. In contrast, previous
to Q3, reaching 125 points, indicating Moreover, a quarter-on-quarter quarter’s (Q3) findings showed
a positive and rising business outlook comparison reflects that the SME higher optimism amongst SMEs.
of SMEs for the first quarter of the
year 2012. The majority of SMEs SME Business Con dence Index
are optimistic about Q1 (January –
March, 2012), reporting expectations 140.0
of rising sales and profits as 115.7
compared to Q4, 2011. In terms of 100.0
economic activities, expectations are 100.0
higher among trading SMEs relative 80.0
to services and manufacturing SMEs.
Overall, the SME community is
moderately less optimistic in their 40.0
expectations of sales revenues and
profits in Q1 2012, compared to large
companies in Dubai. -
In the order of intensity, some Q2, 2011 Q3, 2011 Q4, 2011
of the key challenges, cited by
businesses in the survey, include
(Base Quarter, Q2, 2011)
insufficient demand for products
and services, competition from
local and international players, Business Con dence Index- Q4, 2011 Business outlook– Q1, 2012
increasing government fees, rising 180 The survey shows rising
costs of utilities, frequent changes expectations of the SME
in business regulations and delays in 140
125 community with respect to
payments and collections. Despite key business performance
these challenges, the positive 100
outlook of businesses in Dubai is It shows that 67 per cent
reflected in the confirmation of of the SMEs are expecting a
investment plans over a 12-month rise in their sales revenues
time horizon. Around 38 per cent of in Q1 2012, an increase of
Composite BCI Large BCI SME BCI
SMEs plan to upgrade technology nine percentage points over
40 The Intelligent SME
SME business outlook– Q1, 2012
Forecast Business Performance (SMEs) - Q1, 2012
Sales Revenue 67% 11% 22%
Selling Prices 19% 7% 75%
Volumes Sold 66% 11% 24%
No. of Employees 28% 6% 66%
Pro ts 57% 14% 28%
New Purchase Orders 49% 9% 38%
Capacity Utilization 53% 8% 39%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Increase Decrease No Change Not Applicable
the last quarter, while another 22 per visitors every year. Expectations of a next quarter whereby a majority of
cent expect sales revenues to remain similar footfall of tourists on account the respondents report that their
stable. A comparison between large of the 2012 DSF has led to optimism sales revenues are likely to increase
companies and SMEs shows that amongst tourism, hospitality and marginally, at best, or remain stable.
the former are moderately more retail businesses. Consequently, Prospects for this activity are driven
optimistic about sales revenues than a majority of tour operators, by expectations of new projects
the latter, with a net balance positive restaurants, car rental companies, in the domestic market as well as
and equal respectively to 60 per cent jewellery, electronics, apparel and contracts in other GCC countries.
and 56 per cent. In contrast, SMEs textile trading businesses expect
were more optimistic than the large their sales to increase in the first Capacity utilisation
companies with respect to sales quarter of 2012. This reflects the In view of the expectation of higher
revenues outlook for Q4, 2011. typical nature of such businesses, sales, a majority of SMEs expect an
In line with the overall business where sales cycles receive the increase in their capacity utilisation
scenario, trading SMEs are more maximum attraction during the high as well – 53 per cent of the SMEs
optimistic about future sales tourist season in Dubai (i.e. October expect an increase in capacity
revenues as compared to their to March). utilisation in the next quarter,
counterparts in the manufacturing In addition to tourism, some while another 39 per cent report
and services sectors (net balance of of the transportation and logistics no change compared to Q4, 2011.
positive 59 per cent for trading SMEs companies have expressed optimism Manufacturing firms are also seen
against a positive net balance of 53 about their sales, partly because they to be most optimistic on increasing
per cent for both manufacturing and expect higher cargo movements in their capacity utilisation, relative
services SMEs). Similar to Q3, the order to respond to the needs of the to their counterparts in services
optimistic sales revenue forecasts shopping festival. and trading. Moreover, SMEs are
in Q4 are driven by higher volumes, In line with overall business moderately more optimistic for the
with prices remaining stable (as trends, majority of the food and next quarter than large companies,
elicited from 75 per cent of SMEs beverage enterprises (manufacturers with 53 per cent of the SMEs
in Q4 and 73 per cent in Q3 stating and traders of F&B) are expecting an expecting an increase in capacity
expectations of stable prices). This increase or stability in the volume utilisation as compared to 48 per
signals an expected rise in the level of their sales in Q1, 2012. Some of cent of large companies.
of real economic activity in Q1, 2012 these companies have mentioned There is also an optimistic view
compared to Q4, 2011. that they are likely to benefit from an on new purchase orders, with 49
One of the significant drivers for increased demand stemming from per cent of SMEs forecasting an
the expected increase in volumes is the hospitality sector. increase in purchase orders in Q1,
the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). In contrast, the construction 2012 (versus 42 per cent of SMEs,
DSF attracts around 3.5 million sector is expecting stability in the who were expecting an increase
The Intelligent SME 41
in purchase orders in Q4, 2011). level of optimism amongst the demand and strong competition in
Manufacturing SMEs are seen to SME community in Dubai. This is the market. The decline was seen in
have the most ambitious plans to reflected in the fact that 54 per cent the case of contracting companies,
increase their purchases in Q1, 2012. of business respondents expect an manufacturers and traders of building
Rising expectations about improvement in the overall business materials, construction equipment
sales revenues are also consistent scenario, while an additional 37 per rental companies, architectural and
with reported hiring plans, wherein cent expect the business situation to engineering consulting firms, among
the percentage of SMEs planning continue to be at the same levels as others.
to increase their workforce has in Q4, with a minimal proportion (i.e. In addition to improvement
increased from 18 per cent for Q4, nine per cent) expecting the situation in sales, new hiring has been
2011 outlook to 28 per cent for Q1, to worsen. reported, as shown in a positive
2012 outlook, with manufacturing net balance of seven per cent,
and service SMEs expressing the SME performance – Q4, 2011 although a majority of firms (67 per
strongest intentions to increase their Overall, the survey shows an cent) reported no change in their
workforce in Q1, 2012. However, improvement in the real economic employee count for this quarter.
new recruitments are expected from activity in Dubai in Q4, 2011, with a However, a higher proportion of large
about 28 per cent of SMEs, while higher number of SMEs reporting an companies reported an increase in
two-thirds expect to maintain the increase rather than a decrease in their employee count as compared
same level of employment as in sales volumes (Net balance on sales to SMEs, 28 per cent for the former
Q4, 2011. volumes of positive one per cent in against 20 per cent for the latter.
Q4). There are other key highlights of As expected, the cost of finance
Upgrade in profits business performance in this quarter shouldn’t change significantly from
The Q4 survey also assesses a rise that needs mentioning. one quarter to another. A significantly
in the number of SMEs that foresee The end of Ramadan in higher proportion of the SMEs
an improvement in profits in Q1, September, and the beginning of (approximately 30 percentage points
2012 (57 per cent of SMEs expect an winters and the holiday season in higher as compared to Q3) reported
increase in profits in Q1, 2012 versus this quarter were the key drivers for no change in cost of finance in the
45 per cent of SMEs that were improvement in sales volumes for current quarter.
expecting an increase in profits in tourism and hospitality businesses Likewise, the cost of labour
Q4, 2011). However, large companies and businesses engaged in remained relatively stable in Q4, with
are more optimistic with regards to manufacturing and trading of 71 per cent of SMEs reporting no
their profits in Q1 compared to SMEs jewellery and food and beverages. change in unit labour costs and 25
(57 per cent SMEs are expecting a Increased promotional activities per cent reporting an increase that
rise in profits in Q1 as compared to of corporates and higher printing is imputed to annual increments
64 per cent of large companies). requirements for festive greetings provided to employees in order to
Furthermore, in terms of benefited the businesses involved in reward their performance and match
sectors, manufacturing SMEs are the advertising and printing industry any increases in the cost of living.
more upbeat about future profits (including advertising firms, printing The cost of raw materials in
than those operating in trading and publishing firms, manufacturers Q4 was still a cause of concern for
and other services. In comparison, and traders of paper and other a large number of SMEs as 39 per
service-based SMEs were the most advertising materials). cent of them reported an increase.
optimistic in terms of the expected On the other hand, a majority As expected, this rise impacted the
profits in Q4, 2011. of businesses related to the manufacturing more than trading and
In summary, expectations on construction industry experienced service SMEs. Overall, the survey
key business performance indicators a decline in their sales volumes shows an improvement in sales,
look positive and reflect a high in Q4, owing to lack of domestic even though it was not reflected in
reported profit performance.
Key business challenges in Dubai
The survey also addressed
key challenges faced by SMEs, as
perceived at the end of Q4.
Reduced demand for products
and services (cited by 41 per cent
of the respondents). The survey
illustrated that a decline in demand
was experienced by SMEs that were
highly dependent on construction
42 The Intelligent SME
Key business challenges in Dubai demand for products and services,
The survey also addressed key challenges faced by SMEs, as perceived at the end of Q4.
Key Business Challenges (SMEs) - Q4, 2011 Capital investment plans over a
45% 41.3% 40.7% 12-month horizon are steady, as 38
40% per cent of SMEs plan to upgrade
35% technology (vs. 41 per cent of SMEs
as per the Q3 survey) and 54 per
cent of SMEs plan to expand their
15% capacity (vs. 49 per cent of SMEs as
10% 7.7% 7.5% 6.6% 6.4% 5.4%
per the Q3 survey).
5% 2.5% 1.9% From a sectoral perspective,
0% trading SMEs are the most
Demand for products / services
Availability of Bank Finance
Cost of Rental & Leasing
Availability & Cost of Skilled
Cost of Finance
Cost of Utilities
Cost of raw materials
optimistic about investing in capacity
expansion, with approximately 60
Labour per cent expressing intent to invest.
In comparison, manufacturing
SMEs are more inclined to increase
investments in technology upgrades.
In the context of a comparison
between exporters and
non-exporters, the survey explains
activity and government projects. municipality and traffic rules) coupled that the exporting SME community is
In addition, the current economic with a lack of communication of more inclined towards investments
climate in the US and Europe, such changes, are reported as a in capacity and technology upgrades,
coupled with political instability in challenge by eight per cent of the as compared to the non-exporting
the region has created ripple effects respondents. The formalities and businesses.
impacting businesses engaged paperwork (particularly in customs), Further, the survey mentions
in transportation and logistics, leading to transshipment delays was that there is no significant difference
and trading and manufacturing also voiced as a key challenge by in capacity expansion and technology
companies focusing on exports. respondents. upgrade plans of SMEs registered in
Delays in payment receivables the Dubai mainland and free zones.
Competition are expressed as a growing
The survey shows that competition challenge cited by seven per cent of
(cited by 40 per cent of respondents) the respondents. The survey showed
from international and local players that businesses faced challenges in
has impacted revenues and profit Q4, in collecting money from clients,
margins, especially in sectors making timely payments to suppliers
such as food trading, jewellery, and negotiating better credit terms.
textiles, construction materials and Volatility in the cost of raw
electronics. materials, cost of skilled labour,
Rising government fees (cited rental costs and lack of accessibility
by 10 per cent of the respondents), to bank finance coupled with
with respect to fees (such as rising cost of finance are the
employee visa, licence renewal and other challenges that have been
municipality) and duties (such as highlighted by respondents. A few
custom, import and port charges) of the respondents also reported
has been cited as the third most inability to manage internal overhead Alexandar Williams is the
prominent challenge amongst the costs, lack of market information and director of strategy and
businesses in Dubai. currency fluctuations as causes of policy at Dubai SME. He has
High cost of utilities (cited by nine concern. over 20 years’ experience in
per cent of the respondents) was Overall, the challenges for SMEs strategy and policy planning
were similar to those faced by large for SME sectors of various
voiced as a concern, associated with
countries. He has an MSc in
cost of electricity, water, telecom companies. However, for the latter
Public Administration from the
and internet charges. the availability and cost of skilled
London School of Economics
Frequent changes in business labour figures were among the most and Political Science.
regulations (relating to imports, serious challenges, just after the
The Intelligent SME 43
To the long life of your business
If you do not have a proper business succession plan or estate
planning in place, you are inviting uncertainties in the future, writes
n my line of business, I am main source of future income - will it takes considerable planning and
often found quoting the be tied up in your business. The preparation, and should be ranked
words of American author success of your estate planning is high on a priority task list for all
and academician John M. dependent upon this business being business owners.
Richardson Jr. Marked by innate transferred smoothly, or sold to a Average global statistics
simplicity, it is as simple to practice third party for a fair price. Either way, estimate that less than 30 per cent of
as it is to preach: “When it comes family owned businesses survive to
to the future, there are three the second generation, and less than
kinds of people: those who let it 12 per cent to the third. The survival
happen, those who make it happen, If you do not have rate for the fourth generation is a
and those who wonder what a proper business meagre three per cent.
happened.” succession plan or For expatriates living in the
If you own or co-own a UAE, these figures may be ever
estate planning in
business or professional practice more alarmingly lower. The official
in the UAE, it is important that you place, you simply website of the Government of
plan for its future and that of your cannot be sure Dubai emphasises: ‘The UAE Courts
family members, before someone what will happen will adhere to Shari’ah law in any
has to sit back and sigh over what situation where there is no will in
after your death. place’. This means if you die without
As a business owner, a having planned your future - or that
significant portion of your wealth of your family - the local courts will
- and possibly your family’s examine your estate and distribute it
44 The Intelligent SME
according to Shari’ah law. Personal
assets, including vehicles and
bank accounts will be seized, until
liabilities have been discharged.
A wife who has children will
qualify for only 1/8th of the estate.
Shared assets will be frozen until the
issue of inheritance is determined by
the local courts, and surviving family
members are often left without
access to money during this period.
On the business front, if you do not
have a proper business succession
plan or estate planning in place,
you simply cannot be sure what will
happen after your death: whether
your family will be provided for, who
will look after your business, and
when and how your beneficiaries
will stand to benefit from the and answering pertinent questions
investments you made in your yourself: Who will run the
business. business after you? Will revenues
There are also many decrease dramatically? Will all your
uncertainties regarding real estate loyal clients take their business
inheritance issues under Shari’ah elsewhere? Will your business
law, especially in the case of office, survive your absence?
showroom, manufacturing or Planning the future of your
warehouse facilities that are owned business and ensuring seamless
or co-owned by an individual but continuity and success may be a
used by the business. Unlike other complex process, but professional
jurisdictions, the UAE does not lawyers not only offer advice, but
practice ‘right of survivorship’ (where also, provide physical assistance in
Nita Maru is a British qualified
property passes on automatically to setting up bespoke solutions like solicitor and founder of The
a surviving joint owner upon death of trusts, and off-shore structures. Wills Specialists (www.willsuae.
the other), and the local courts will A good business succession com). With over 14 years of
have a final say in the matter. plan will address the death, disability experience in senior legal
All successful businesses or retirement of a business owner, positions, including five in the
- whether sole proprietor firms, as well as the sale of a business UAE, Nita has authored several
partnerships, joint ventures, limited owner’s interest. Further, a great articles and essays on asset and
liability companies or free zone plan will ensure that all the business wealth protection. Her focus
corporations - should plan for the is on safeguarding families,
owner’s objectives are accomplished
transfer, succession, and/or sale heirs and businesses, under
- that the most effective business
succession and inheritance laws
of the business in unexpected transfer is realised, and that funds in Shari’ah jurisdictions.
circumstances shrouding the owner will be available to provide maximum
or a partner. financial flexibility. Professional The Wills Specialists is a law
Planning your business lawyers will also weave in clauses firm based in Dubai, dedicated
succession is a process - not an that minimise the possibility of to the business of wills, asset
event - and it is intuitive, interactive, conflict among co-owners, partners, protection, business succession
and reflective of circumstances. and heirs, thereby lowering the odds planning, offshore structures and
The process will also vary based on of litigation and the costs and time trusts. The firm is accredited by
the number and diversity of issues the Government of Dubai Legal
involved in probate.
involved. Consequently, there is Affairs Department, and by the
Without adequate planning,
Dubai Ruler’s Court. Their office
no single fit solution that will work your business may be negatively location is Office Suite 1305,
for everyone; each case has to be impacted or forced to close in Saba 1 Tower , Jumeirah Lakes
studied and evaluated independently. a relatively short period of time. Towers. Dubai. Tel: +971 4 448
And it will not be because you did 4284, Email: info@willsuae.
Key questions something wrong. It will simply be com.
It is best to begin by addressing because you did nothing at all.
The Intelligent SME 45
Quality compliance with ISO 9001:2008
Quality at a competitive cost can be achieved
only through an effective process-based quality
management system, writes Dr. Sameer Kumar.
hen something goes from leaders of an organisation, law requirement of ISO 9001:2008
wrong, managers or makers and regulators. implementation in any organisation.
society in general, It enables an organisation to cater
choose someone to Process-based QMS to the needs of internal and external
blame, rather than analysing and A process-based QMS is that stakeholders. This well-planned
correcting the flaws in the systems part of an organisation’s overall system facilitates planning and
that are in place. management system that focuses allocation of scarce resources, and
Famous American statistician on the achievement of results in strengthens the overall effectiveness
Dr. Edward Deming, in the course of relation to quality objectives to of an organisation. It also enables
his research, developed the System satisfy the needs and expectations international recognition through
of Profound Knowledge, which is of the customer. The needs and certification. A well-thought out
used by companies worldwide. He expectations can be stated or QMS gives a better sense of
advocated that employees should implied. ownership, and in turn, empowers
work within a system, while the All processes are mapped, the workforce.
leadership in an organisation should documented and followed with a
continuously work on the system, philosophy of consistency, of being Process mapping main tasks
making changes when required. This right the first time and every time. While understanding the benefits
approach would help one understand In short, this approach enables an of a QMS, it would be pertinent
a system of procedures better, giving organisation to lead and operate to know how to begin planning a
a magnified view of what processes its departments successfully in a system. Business process mapping
result in failure or success. systematic and visible manner. encompasses a set of tasks that aid
The primary purpose of any in developing a system
organisation’s system is to result in QMS and ISO 9001:2008 of procedures.
outcomes namely, the satisfaction A process-based quality The first step involves identifying
of the customer. To do this, the management system is the foremost key processes that go into delivering
organisation must first understand
the needs of the customer base it
seeks to serve. These needs are
reflected in the system requirements
of an organisation. By fulfilling these
requirements, an organisation’s
processes are able to churn out
results that reflect its primary
goal. However, customer needs
change with time, and so, continual Leadership Processes Products Customer
improvements have to be made to
any management system.
Successful organisations extend
the processes in their systems to
include prompt receipt of cash, so it Planning
can be reinvested. It is also important
to drive a process-based quality
management system (QMS) with
requirements from customers, inputs
46 The Intelligent SME
removing elements that cause
things to go wrong and thereby
eliminate wastage of resources. A
great system gives an employee the
opportunity of foreseeing what might
go wrong and fix the problem before
Processes can sometimes go
terribly wrong or long with too many
unnecessary procedures involved. A
well-documented system eliminates
these unnecessary steps so that an
organisation can deliver value faster.
There are many important
results. Once identified, the next validated. It is a good gesture on the questions a business owner needs
step entails analysing and defining part of a leadership to involve the to ask oneself. Right now, do
each process after which these process team while commencing colleagues know what their system
processes have to be designed and on this step. Next, these processes has done for them lately? Do they
are thoroughly evaluated to identify appreciate their system? Or do they
improvements to ensure separate themselves from their
Process-based QMS & ISO
efficient systems. system by referring to it as company
procedures? Do they see their
Process-based QMS is the system beyond the few procedures
Need for process-based QMS
foremost requirement of ISO essential for their job? Make it clear
An organisation’s competitiveness
9001:2008 implementation in who is in charge of your system and
and future depends upon the
any organisation and benefits in who is in charge of its development
performance of its system and how
following way: project. It could be the same person.
efficiently that system converts
Assists organisation in enhancing customers’ needs into opportunities
satisfaction of the stakeholders with a focus on customer
(internal and external customers) satisfaction.
Facilitates organisation in planning An organisation must never stop
and allocation of scarce resources designing and planning its system,
as this translates evolving customer
Provide basis for evaluation
needs into product and process.
of overall effectiveness of an
A well-charted system also enables
employees to quickly understand
Enables an organisation to identify
requirements of their processes,
its strengths and weaknesses giving them the know-how of how
Provision for evaluation of its better to serve their internal and
performance external customers. Of course,
Provides a platform for continual it is understood that selecting a
improvement candidate with required attributes
Dr. Sameer Kumar, CEO,
comes first, and the system also Universal Consulting FZE, is
Enables external recognition
provides information on this aspect. a quality professional with
Process-based systems further an experience of working in
Stronger sense of ownership enable employees to see how more than seven countries.
More empowered workforce their processes satisfy customers. He has provided consultation
Improved quality of work life It is paramount to reinforce the and training to more than 400
importance of focusing on the clients in the UAE, UK, Thailand,
and enjoyment of work (more
customer instead of process over Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
He has completed his MBA, PhD
departmental loyalty. Employees
Less wastage of resources and is a Six Sigma champion by
should see how their system can
More recognition qualification and lead auditor of
deliver value faster and prevent ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS
Better use of expertise. losses, which is the key to job 18001. E-mail: ceo@ucfglobal.
security and career progression. com.
Once employees understand
their system, they can use it
to improve its performance by
48 The Intelligent SME
THOSE WHO MADE A MARK.
Kelly Lundberg (KL), styling consultant and owner of Divine,
speaks to The Intelligent SME (TIS) on her journey to success.
TIS: Please give us a picture of Dubai
when you first began operations?
What was the need, and what
inspired you to set up Divine?
KL: If anyone had told me, when I
arrived on a flight from Heathrow
Airport to embark on my new life as
an air stewardess, that by the age of
30 I will have accomplished owning
a successful business in Dubai, won
a Lloyds TSB Small Business Award,
been finalist for Female Entrepreneur
of the Year twice, been voted higher
than Gordon Ramsay restaurant for
things to do in Dubai, publish a book
available worldwide on Amazon and
have my own APP on iTunes, I would
have said: “I think you are talking
about someone else.”
The idea came to me whilst
I chatted away to my passengers
in first and business class. I would
share style tips on where to shop
in the city. It occurred to me then
that it would be quite nice to do it
for a living. I then thought, why not?
Everyone in Dubai around this time
was setting up a business of some
sort, whether it was real estate, PR
or events, and I figured if they were
doing it, so could I!
In those days Mall of the
Emirates had been open a matter of
days and the sheer size of the mall
intimidated many clients and visitors
to Dubai. Utilising the services of a
personal stylist was a major benefit.
Now six years later, Mall of the
Emirates is just one of the numerous
destinations where I take my clients.
TIS: What was the initial response to
Divine? How have things changed?
KL: The media were amazing and
immediately picked up on the press Kelly Lundberg
release that was sent out. Within
50 The Intelligent SME
and asked me to buy him a puppy! A
personal favourite is taking a client to
purchase their first pair of designer
shoes, such a thrill not only for them
but me too!
More recently, a VIP client flew
me to New York and we shopped
solidly for four days just before
Christmas; it was like a living dream!
TIS: What are your future plans? Do
a month, Divine had been featured closer I would get to find an answer you plan to expand Divine further?
in OK! Magazine, Emirates Women to becoming legal. Dubai Media Alternatively, will you be starting any
and 7Days, although it took a while City was full at the time and I did related businesses?
for the service to take off. It took not know any local sponsors. It was
six weeks for a client to call in. I when I was on a flight back from KL: There are many projects in the
was slightly naïve at the beginning Bangkok and was animatedly telling pipeline that include a revised edition
(although some people do say this the captain about my budding plans of Success in the City.
helps) - I was under the impression and my current obstacle that he told Divine, for the first time, will be
that everyone would know what a me about his friend who had set up offering a unique styling course for
personal shopper or stylist was, as a business in Ras Al Khaimah; the those who want to get an insight
it was growing rapidly in the UK, emirate was more affordable and into personal styling and shopping
Europe and the US, but here it took a relatively straightforward and it got called “Make me a Stylist.” Catering
little longer to catch on. me excited! I called the relevant to our international database we are
This meant I needed to think department and, by the afternoon, in the process of launching an online
of new ideas and opportunities to had paid a deposit on credit card so I boutique as well as styling by Skype.
supplement my income. Nearly could proceed to the next level.
a year after leaving full time I was slightly unconventional TIS: What lessons would you give to
employment and several phone calls with funding my business. In those your fellow women entrepreneurs?
from a wedding planner, asking days business loans weren’t really
where to buy wedding gifts, it offered to expats; so, I decided KL: I always say the only person
transpired that there was no online that I would tell the bank I wanted stopping you from achieving what
registrar for guests to buy gifts for a personal loan to buy a car. At the you want is you, as you just have
bridal couples. I thought this would meeting, the bank manager asked to go out there and get it. Working
be the perfect complement to a me what kind of car I was going to for oneself is hugely rewarding and
shopping service. I spent the last buy with such a large loan, and I was there are so many opportunities in
of my loan and got Divine’s site slightly thrown by that question. I the Middle East.
developed. Using the same principles had never owned an expensive car,
as before, with press releases, and and I told him the only one I knew – a TIS: Do you put every free minute
now equipped with Google Ads I Porsche. Those were the heady days into your work, or do you set aside
launched the service to coincide in Dubai! He smiled, told me I had time for yourself? What are your
with the Bride Show 2006. I had six good taste and the funds were in my hobbies and special preferences?
couples in the first few months and account in less than two days!
since then I assisted over 40 couples KL: Yes, I would say a large part of
with their wedding lists. TIS: Are there any poignant my time I do spend in working, but
memories in the course of your it really doesn’t feel like working
TIS: What were the challenges business that you can share? because I love what I do! When I
you faced in the course of your can, I work from our beach club,
operations? KL: I have had random to the just for a change of scenery and
ridiculous of shopping requests; one inspiration. During the weekends, I
KL: My two major challenges that client, who had booked a Rolls Royce do like to have one ‘mall-free’ day,
I faced in the beginning were, for the day for shopping experience, and if possible, combine this with a
becoming legal, and funding. requested we visit Karama to haggle ‘phoneless Friday’ and use this time
As I didn’t come from a business for watches and bags just for fun! to relax on the beach and have lunch
background (I was still a cabin crew You can only imagine the looks with friends. As I spend a great deal
at the time) I spoke to everyone we got as the chauffer opened the of time travelling, I add a couple of
and told them about my idea. I kept door, I am sure they were expecting extra days on; it makes me feel like I
hoping the more people I told the royalty! Another client called me up have had several mini-holidays!
The Intelligent SME 51
Good things come in small packages
Next time someone tells you that you charge too much and ask you for a
large discount on your fees, remember that as a consultant you need to
survive too, writes Kristina Nyzell.
ost companies non-profit organisation or a charity, process of calculating your income
forget that an and if the individual I am working and expenses and doing some
independent with is earning less than AED20,000 research into what competitors
consultant is per year. I don’t mind working for are charging for similar services.
a consultancy too,” says Mark, a free, if I feel I am learning a new skill, It is sometimes difficult for clients
freelancer working for a financial gaining valuable new experiences to understand that you need to pass
institution in Dubai International or contributing to world peace. I on your business costs to them.
Financial Centre. “We need to charge also don’t mind helping a friend. On Sometimes, it makes sense to pass
fees which are in line with market the other hand, if the person I am on business development costs
rates, but my client compares my working with is a senior executive to clients. For instance, if after six
fees to the salaries of that of his or director in a large multinational business meetings in Abu Dhabi with
employees. He says that I am too firm and he or she earns more than a potential customer you find out that
expensive in comparison. AED300,000 per year, my own daily he or she is offering you less than
“What he is forgetting is that my charge out rate needs to be high too. AED5000 as fees for a project, you
fees should not only provide me with A systematic approach to need to think carefully whether to
a basic income that covers my costs, establishing the value of your small engage with this client or not, even if
personal expenses and medical business starts with yourself and the promise of larger contracts after
insurance, but it should also allow determining the value of your own this initial almost free engagement
me to save towards retirement. He personal brand. Know your value! is on the cards. Not all business
is also forgetting that on top of his This is a particularly important lesson meetings result in paid work.
employees’ salaries he also has to learned, and particularly true for all It should be noted that the dollar
pay benefits, which is an additional you fellow female entrepreneurs out amount of a project is not directly
50 per cent on top of their salaries,” there who tend to over deliver and be related to the amount of time needed
he adds. underpaid. It is a well known fact that to complete a proposal. Small project
What to charge for your services female consultancy fees come in 20 bids may require just as much effort
depends on whether you are doing to 30 per cent lower than that of their and time to complete as a large bid
something in order to make a living male counterparts and for the would. As an SME or independent
or simply as a favour. same service. consultant you will probably find
I don’t mind working for less if I Determining the value of your yourself submitting collaborative
know I am working for a brand starts with the painstaking bids with others to win an important
52 The Intelligent SME
bid. When it comes to working on legal fees etc. In many countries has with you should not be about
collaborative bids it is important to around the world the company fees, but about your experiences and
make it clear from the start how the registration fee is a one-time fee, what you have to offer.
returns and the workload will be while in the UAE it is a yearly “How much do you charge per
divided among various parties. occurrence. day or per hour? Can you give me a
Remember, you need to protect Without an office you are not special price?”
your fees as well as your IP. For allowed to operate a business in Well, we have all heard that
those of you who are interested, it many free zones. If you had your haven’t we? Take that comment as a
is worthwhile looking for tools like eyes set on running a virtual business sign of a kamikaze client and simply
creative commons and creative and keeping all your fees and not walk away, or, if you have the energy,
barcode, as well as password paying tax, dream on. try to educate them. If they, after a
protecting your documents. If we take AED80,000 as the discussion like that, will still revert
average office rent for a free zone back to a fee discussion, simply
Utopia – 100pc billable time based firm and deduct that from the walk away.
As a small business owner you need yearly income of AED169,400 that A client, who starts off his or
to take into consideration that you leaves us with roughly AED89,400 her conversation by asking about
may be taking care of marketing to spare after the basic business costs and fees instead of trying to
and administration yourself which expenses have been paid. build a relationship with the SME and
often make up 50 per cent of your As a consultant you also need to freelancer to see where they could
time spent running your business. set aside five per cent of your yearly add value to their business, will only
It is important that these costs income after the basic expenses see the consultant and the freelancer
are calculated into your pricing. have been paid towards continuous as a cost and an outside service
In a year it is unlikely that you will learning and education. If we take provider and not a value generator
be charged out at the full 44 weeks five per cent of AED89,400, we are and trusted partner. Another thing
per year (1784 hours), after taking left with AED84,930. I would recommend is to build
holiday, sick leave and national long-term relationships with clients
holidays into consideration. With Personal expenses and negotiate a retainer. This will
50 per cent of your time spent in As a small business owner it would, allow you to have a secure income
marketing and administration, you of course, have been nice to have of several months at a reduced rate,
would have 892 hours left. been able to keep that sum of money build a relationship with the client,
With a modest hourly rate of and put it towards your savings. and lock competition out.
AED200, your yearly income would However, as we all know, one needs You have unique skills that are
be AED178,400. Five per cent of to eat and live somewhere too. highly sought after. Don’t sell
your clients will, most likely, not pay In addition to eating and yourself too cheaply and know your
your invoices, reducing the number sleeping somewhere, you also need worth.
of hours to 847 and, therefore, the to insure yourself against potential
income to AED169,400. And we loss of income due to ill health. A
must remember, income is not the private health insurance will take a
same as profit. healthy chunk of your income, but
Once the money starts rolling it is an insurance against a future
in as a small business, then do the life in misery and poverty. A modest
invoices. Apart from the obvious pension, corresponding to the
direct costs like office rent, licence gratuity that UAE companies have to
and registration costs, there are also pay by law, means you will need to
the health insurance and pension add 1/12 of your charge out rate to
costs to consider. cover this cost.
One of the biggest killers of small For many clients, working
businesses is the periodisation of with a small consultancy has its
costs and invoices. Having all costs advantages. A small consultancy Kristina Nyzell is the
lumped together in one quarter takes on the financial risk, delivery owner and M.D. of
together with your own personal bills risk and also the risk of failure. For Disruptive Play FZ LLC,
for the year, will most likely kill your this reason, many clients will a Dubai-based Human
Resource Consultancy. She
business. engage with consultants for risky
is an experienced strategy
projects to defuse risk and failure
consultant specialising in
Expenses from themselves. open source, lead user/
Included in the yearly expenses and collaborative innovation and
costs would be things like office rent, From fees to value generation community development.
insurance, phone, travel, meetings, The first conversation that the client
The Intelligent SME 53
How personality affects performance
Corrina Cross, a personality profiling consultant, shows you how
understanding your own personality style and that of your colleagues,
clients and suppliers can increase your success in the workplace.
Dominance – People with high
‘D’ traits are generally fast
paced and driven by results.
Influence – People with high ‘I’
traits are generally fast paced
Steadiness – People with high
‘S’ traits are generally more
reserved and thoughtful.
Conscientious – People with
high ‘C’ traits are generally
reserved and methodical.
High ‘D’ personality type
High ‘D’ types are ‘big-picture’
people who like a challenge.
When given a task, they come
up with a solution to get from
A to B following the shortest
route. They don’t like wasting
time – so you better not
When speaking or writing
e-mails, they get to the point
and would prefer that you do
the same (You won’t catch
them talking about your
grandma’s health or the change of
hy do you act the way combination of these four types weather). Some find this abrupt but
you do? (pretty much like your fingerprint), they simply have a task to do and are
Have you noticed by studying the four main types and on a mission to achieve it.
that there are some what motivates them, you can get a Even out of work, these people
tasks on your ‘to do’ list that you better understanding of the people are motivated and driven and they
sail through easily, while other tasks around you. Doing so will help you relate well to other high achievers.
keep moving down the list and to see how life would look standing They will often be super fit, well
never seem to get started? There’s in somebody else’s shoes. This is a dressed and driving a top-of-the-
a reason for that and, strange as great way to improve relationships as range car.
it may seem, it is linked with your you start to appreciate people more,
personality type. and communicate with them in a High ‘I’ personality types
American psychologist way that suits their style by ‘speaking High ‘I’ types are fun-loving and enjoy
Dr. William Marston believed their language’. having lots of people around them.
that individuals fall into four main They are good communicators and
personality types. Based on this Identifying personality style great at motivating others. They are
philosophy, he developed the DISC The DISC behavioural model often found in creative or
Behavioural Model back in 1928. recognises these four main marketing roles.
Whilst your personality is a unique personality styles:- When communicating, they
54 The Intelligent SME
often use informal, friendly language and keep communication direct and
(maybe a few smiley faces too). They to the point.
also tend to have lots of tasks on the
go at once – so be sure to remind This is a great High ‘I’ types
them before setting off for a meeting way to improve Keep it interesting. If you are late,
as they may have double-booked! don’t worry too much, as they may
Away from the workplace, they are also be late (However, it is still polite
great to have in your social scene as you start to call ahead). Remember not to
and will be sure to ‘get the party to appreciate bore them with word-heavy lengthy
started!’ people more, and presentations.
High ‘S’ Personality Types High ‘S’ types
High ‘S’ types are easy to get along them in a way that Don’t be too aggressive. They like to
with and considerate of others. suits their style get to know a person before doing
They are good at team-building by ‘speaking their business with them; so, soften your
and getting a consensus. They are edges and slow down your pace if
interested in people and will take
language’. you are the fast-paced driven type.
time to ask how you are doing. Even
if you are not interested, it would be High ‘C’ types
nice – and beneficial – if you took a Often referred to as perfectionists,
little interest in them and not jump actually enjoy paying attention to they are interested in effectiveness
straight into business-talk. detail! They work well with systems, and efficiency. Be on time and
Those who fall into this procedures and structure. You will be well prepared with back-up
personality type do not like find many accountants and auditors information and case studies.
conflict. Therefore, when they have fall into this category. Remember – NO personality
something tough to communicate, When communicating, they type is better than the others.
they may dance around the subject back up their findings with facts and You are a unique mix of all four
to avoid hurting anybody’s feelings. figures. If you want to do business styles and everyone has their
Tell them you would appreciate a with them, you would be wise to strengths. Understanding others
direct answer to avoid wasting time. do the same. Never guess when can significantly improve your
Away from work, these people answering a question asked by a relationships. Knowing your own
are very kind and helpful. (Everybody High ‘C’. Be prepared and know your style and working on your strengths
needs a high ‘S’ as a friend.) If you stuff or you will lose credibility. will help steer you on your personal
are a high ‘S’, though, you need In their free time, you may find path of success.
to take care not to continually put them sitting at their computers,
others before yourself. analysing data or researching the
most practical, value-for-money car/
High ‘C’ personality types TV/stereo before heading out to buy
High ‘C’ types like to do quality work it. They prefer to be alone or in small
and to do it right the first time. They groups, rather than socialising
in large crowds.
Using this knowledge
The key to success
in the workplace or
outside is to know
how to deal with
Corrina Cross runs powerful
interactive workshops for both
corporates and individuals that
deliver results with improved
High ‘D’ types motivation and increased
Step up to their productivity. Check out the
level. If you want website www.the-people-
to do business with people.com or email her on
this group, you better Corrina@the-people-people.
prepare well for your com to find out more.
THOUGHTFUL R E S E R V E D
meeting, look successful,
The Intelligent SME 55
Happiness leads to success
Prof. Christopher Abraham explores the science of happiness, and how it
relates to professional and personal success.
sychological studies have Seligman’s idea quickly caught The set point for happiness is
primarily concentrated on, with the Gallup organisation similar to the set point for weight.
on human failing and founding the Gallup Positive Some people are blessed with skinny
pathology. In fact, the Psychology Institute to fund research dispositions: even when they’re
idea of psychotherapy, a concept on the subject. This provided the not trying, they easily maintain their
realised by Sigmund Freud, is based foundation of the Gallup Positive weight. By contrast, others have to
on the fact that human beings are Psychology Summit, which was work hard to keep their weight at
distressed and need to be calm. The globally recognised within two years optimum levels, and the moment
practitioners that followed Freud of it being held. they relax their dietary and exercise
developed a model that seemed to So what really makes us happy? regime, they gain back all the weight.
portray humans as mechanical and How can we become happier? And is So those of us with low
passive, being shaped by situations happiness sustainable? happiness set points will have to
surrounding them. Current cutting edge research on work harder to achieve and maintain
However, this view was soon studying happiness indicates that our happiness, while those of us with
altered when eminent psychologist individual level of happiness springs high set points will find it easier to be
Martin Seligman, in 1998, urged from three primary sources: happy under similar conditions.
psychology professionals to set
about the healing process with Our genetic set point Our life circumstances
understanding and building strong Fifty per cent of our happiness “Life circumstances” determine a
qualities. Seligman is credited with derives from a genetically scant 10 per cent of our happiness,
sowing the seeds of happiness determined set point, contend Prof. Lyubomirsky continues: “Only
studies and positive psychology. He leading researchers such as about 10 per cent of the variance in
went on to be the world’s leading Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky from our happiness levels is explained by
scholar on optimism. the University of California. differences in life circumstances or
56 The Intelligent SME
situations--that is, whether we are
A set of evidence-based happiness-increasing strategies whose
rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy,
practice is supported by scientific research include:
beautiful or plain, married or
divorced, etc. If, with a magic wand, 1. Expressing gratitude
we could put a group of people into 2. Cultivating optimism
the same set of circumstances (same 3. Avoiding over-thinking and social comparison
house, same spouse, same place of
4. Practising acts of kindness
birth, same face, and same aches
and pains), the differences in their 5. Nurturing social relationships
happiness levels would be reduced 6. Developing strategies for coping
by a measly 10 per cent.”
7. Learning to forgive
Prof. Lyubomirsky notes in her
book The How of Happiness that 8. Increasing flow experiences
this finding runs contrary to many 9. Savouring life’s joys
of our efforts to obtain happiness: 10. Committing to your goals
“One of the great ironies of our
11. Practising religion and spirituality
quest to become happier is that
so many of us focus on changing 12. Taking care of your body
the circumstances of our lives in 13. Meditation
the misguided hope that those 14. Physical activity
changes will deliver happiness... An
15. Acting like a happy person.
impressive body of research now
shows that trying to be happy by
changing our life situations ultimately Happiness strategies broad “so that every individual could
will not work. Although we may The remaining 40 per cent of our find a set right for him or her.”
achieve temporary boosts in happiness is determined by our The science of happiness is
well-being by moving to new parts behaviour—intentional activities here to stay with the single focus of
of the country or the world, securing referred to as “happiness strategies.” making the world a better place.
raises, or changing our appearances, This is the core of the research
such boosts are unlikely to be of leading professionals in this
long-lasting.” field which advocates increasing
Most experts agree that human and sustaining happiness through
beings immediately adapt to positive intentional activities.
circumstantial changes in the hope Genuinely happy people make
of bringing about happiness in their things happen, and don’t just sit
lives. Although the circumstances around being content. They learn
change, it may not be a source of more, achieve more and control
long-term happiness, as they will their thoughts and feelings. If an
eventually be taken for granted. unhappy person wants to experience
interest, enthusiasm, contentment,
peace and joy, he or she can make Prof. Christopher Abraham
it happen by learning the habits of a holds three post graduate
happy person. qualifications in business
Genuinely happy Scientific research supports the administration (marketing),
human resources management
people make use of strategies such as expressing
and labour and administrative
gratitude, acts of kindness, nurturing
things happen, law, and has 24 years of
relationships, committing to goals, professional experience in
and don’t just among others. Researchers describe management consulting and
sit around being precisely what these somewhat management education in India,
content. They learn generic terms mean in this context Canada, Singapore, and the UAE.
and provide a rationale for why they Currently he is the senior vice
more, achieve president and head of the Dubai
work and explore what they might
more and control look like in practice. They do not say campus at SP Jain School of
their thoughts and that these are the only meaningful Global Management. His areas
of competence are corporate
feelings. happiness strategies, but separately
strategy, innovation, trends,
they meet standards for being
positive organisational behaviour
“evidenced-based,” and together and the science of happiness.
they constitute a list sufficiently
The Intelligent SME 57
Your employees need caring
Michael Tolan explains why there is a need for adopting wellness
policies in companies to increase productivity.
ecently I was daydreaming working in a healthy environment Some have started to understand
in the back of a taxi, as I that would support them as human the importance of looking after the
was being whisked from beings with an assortment of needs. welfare of their troops.
one speaking engagement This reminded me of a recent If you think about it, this is smart
to the next, and had the opportunity epidemic within companies, medicine for any company; after all,
to observe in the heavy traffic, especially in Europe and the US, that if most people spend more time at
hundreds of drivers during my has been referred to as “Burn work than they do with their families
journey of 30 minutes. Out syndrome.” or private life, it does make sense to
I watched, as they all seemed In short, Burn Out syndrome ask the bigger question: “If my team
to be mindful of their mission of the has affected tens of thousands of members feel empowered, healthier
day, the deals that were cooking, executives and workers, leaving and more vital as people, is there a
the tasks that had to be done, the them virtually empty of purpose chance they might add more value to
e-mails they needed to write. or passion. This is often a direct the company?”
Most of them were in typical road to depression and furthermore In some leading organisations,
fashion, on the phone, and few of disease caused by the effects of the answer is a resounding yes.
them, it seemed, displayed any sign disempowerment. Wellness or well being practices
that they were happy. There seems to be no single is more than a buzz word these
I wondered after witnessing so industry, today, that is immune to days. It has become a multi-billion
many people, from various walks this career quicksand, and many dollar industry worldwide. It has
of life and rank, if any of them were leaders are waking up to this fact. also improved the lifestyles of many
58 The Intelligent SME
who had previously ignored their staff. Wellness policies have been
own health, both physically and adopted by some top companies
emotionally, due to a misguided idea overseas, but have yet to trickle
that there was not enough time in down to small and medium size
the day to take care of oneself. companies in the MENA region.
This is why leaders that embrace My advice is to stop following and
the concept of peak performance start leading. Create a company
encourage and develop wellness membership for your team in the
benefits within their own gym. Bring in a dietician for free to
organisations. have one to one consultation with
All wellness programmes do your team. Offer a free morning of
not require expensive investments meditation or yoga even if it is only
in order to communicate and make once a week.
available supportive culture that And, now, imagine seeing one
sends a message to its employees of your people looking haggard and
that the company cares. unhappy at work, and walking up to
Often good communication to them and saying: “Sorry, you have to
the staff, for example advising leave the office now. You are going
them to hydrate during the off to the spa for the next three
day, or things like the HR hours for pampering session.”
department bringing in a It might be possible that your
dietician for free consultations people might just love you and your
with staff members and company more because they never
offering daily meditation training met anyone who cared as much.
will go far to communicate that Wellness delivery is all about caring.
a company encourages its team The result - less absentees, more
members to look and feel healthier, creativity, more productivity, and
more relaxed and good about more rumours in the market that your
themselves. company is a great place to work.
One company worth mentioning “When the mind is at
in this connection is Google. Google Get Well-Ness Soon.
peace and relaxed,
actually engages a director of fun,
installs playrooms in their offices we experience ease,
with facilities, such as ping pong and but when there is no
gyms to support wellness of mind to peaceful mindfulness,
reap more creativity for its staff, and
as a result, more loyalty.
and we are scattered
According to mind-body and stressed, this will
medicine pioneer Dr. Deepak lead often to disease
Chopra, whose centre I have visited
if not balanced and
on two occasions, wellness starts
with a presence of mind, and that harmony is restored.”
the mind and body are intrinsically
connected. “When the mind is at
peace and relaxed, we experience not giving our mind and body what
ease, but when there is no peaceful our very own cell phones require
mindfulness, and we are scattered almost daily - a recharge.
and stressed, this will lead often to Is there a feeling of tranquility Michael J Tolan is senior
disease if not balanced and harmony one can envision and experience consultant for Potential.com,
is restored.” by seeing and inhaling the healing an organization that develops
Today, the ancient wisdom of scents and floating candles in a pool excellence practices, provides
the Chinese and the Vedic principles of water, or does sipping a freshly coaching and training to
of India are being re-visited and made herbal tea call to the spirit a SMEs in the Middle East and
North Africa region. He is also
adopted by wellness centres around sigh of relaxation almost instantly
the head of the Leadership
the world. while listening to waterfalls?
Academy for Excellence within
Why has this emerged now? Our Smart leaders might arm their the Potential Group.
new shiny, fast talking, fast paced, HR departments and managers with
fast food, fast everything lifestyle is new tools that could empower their
60 The Intelligent SME
How to inspire your peers
Anesh Jagtiani writes on the key to becoming a
positive and decisive person.
this. The first is that most of the you a specific place to focus your
motivation comes from convincing energy and makes it easier for you
that something is possible. So if to take action and to produce results
you're living by your convictions that will inspire others.
and getting results in your life, that So, what's the key to becoming
alone will motivate others to do the a decisive person and an inspiration
same. to your peers?
The second reason for this It starts with sitting down and
is that people cannot argue with brainstorming for each of the key
actions and solid results as they areas of your life and deciding once
magine what people would be can with words. If your attempts to and for all what you're determined to
saying about you, both today inspire and influence involve only have: your career, your financial life,
and after you were gone. What words, people will usually question your health, your relationships.
is the secret to becoming a force your words, even if they make Don't worry about how you're
of positive inspiration to the people perfect sense. going to accomplish what you want,
around you? But when someone sees your until you know for sure what you're
Let's look at the most important beliefs represented in your actions going to accomplish. Then, write
factors to inspiring others, and and realises that those beliefs are down a plan of action and get to
then we'll look at a plan of action producing solid results, they'll have work immediately on it, whether
for making them work in your life. no choice but to be convinced. Now, you're ready or not.
let's look at the most important
The foundation step towards laying the personal
Before you make an attempt to lead foundation of inspiration.
or inspire anyone else, you must
properly manage your own life. This Defining purpose
means you become the very person The most powerful and pronounced
who you want to inspire other people character trait of a great leader is
to become. decisiveness, and this comes as
For example, if you want to the result of knowing exactly where
inspire others to get into good you're going in life.
health, the best thing to do is give Napoleon Hill said that the world
them an example which will inspire has a way of making room for people
them to do so. who demonstrate by their words
This will convince them more and actions that they know where Anesh Jagtiani is the CEO of
than all of the slick talking and they are going. But people do a bit Empowering Leaders Group
more than make room for a person (M. E). He is a professional
persuasion you can practice. In
who knows where they're going. speaker and trainer. His
fact, inspiring others by setting
leadership program helps
an example with your own life The world will be much more
managers motivate and retain
will eliminate the need to try and ready to be inspired by and to follow
their top people, improve their
convince them with your words. someone who knows where they effectiveness in communication
A perfect example of this is are going. People are also quicker and maximise the bottom line
the Mahatma Gandhi of India who to forgive someone when they fail if of companies. He is also a TV
said: "We must become the change that person is certain about the anchor of a show called TOP
that we seek to make in the world." direction of their life. GUNS on ZEE TV where he
His legacy as a leader and the On top of this, almost everyone has interviewed the 12 most
is slower to get in the way of successful Indian entrepreneurs
principles he lived by prove that the
someone who can demonstrate that of UAE. He can be reached at
above statement is the foundation
email@example.com or www.
for inspiring others. they know where they're going.
There are two reasons for Finally, being decisive gives
The Intelligent SME 61
Let’s Get Social
Have a question about social media and promoting your business online?
UAE-based social media consultant and award-winning marketing
strategist Farrukh Naeem answers your queries on using Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, AdWords, SEO and any other online services. Send
your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I have been seeing a lot Also, a Google user gets an last year and it is being rolled out
of Google +1 buttons on my option to share your content while as a mandatory upgrade across the
competitors’ websites? Do I need giving you a +1 on their Google+ world currently.
one? How do I get it for my profile – the big benefit being the
own website? increased share-ability of your
content on this new platform with 90
A. As the New Year rolled in, Google million users on last count.
announced the integration of the
privacy policies of all its services
into one, a possible indication of
how its different services will work
together to enhance your browsing
Google+ profiles and the +1 Once you have the new timeline,
button will play an important role in which blends your profile and your
this phase of the evolution of ‘social To get the +1 buttons on your
wall, your entire life and its events
search’. So, yes, you should have website, you need to install a few
will be mapped on one long scroll-
a +1 button on your website and lines of code to your webpages by
down page. Of course, you can
content – it’s free and it’s valuable. following the instructions on this
choose to hide, reveal or showcase
various milestones in your life
depending on what you wish
From the point of view of an
entrepreneur, one of the biggest
opportunities offered by the timeline
is the extra-large ‘cover’ photo
The +1 button works on multiple you can set up on the top of your
levels in favour of your website and Q. I have seen a very different profile page. Businesses are using
online content. When someone ‘plus- design of some Facebook profiles
this real estate in many creative
ones’ your web page, their friends recently. What is going on? Does this
ways as Facebook cautions against
are shown this fact when they are have any significance for
using this area for banner ads or
searching for results. Strong and my business?
instant social proof! Facebook marketing celebrity
A. Facebook introduced Mari Smith uses her cover photo to
one of its most debated
highlight her books or events.
and discussed layout
changes for personal
profiles in September 2011
– it’s called the ‘Timeline’.
announced it officially at
Facebook’s F8 conference
62 The Intelligent SME
Entrepreneurs like Muhammad Useful Links: content is written in research style,
Siddique are using the cover as http://on.fb.me/x9oxGA with citations and references being
a business card, which saves the http://on.fb.me/yiHr03 valued most, in Quora.com the
trouble of a potential prospect to dig http://bit.ly/y4WnHL information is in the question and
through the ‘Info’ tab for your contact answer format with a focus on the
information. user’s own expertise and experience.
If you have a question on
venture capital for example, you
have the opportunity to ask a venture
capitalist on Quora.com. If you are
struggling with co-founders, there
is a wealth of experience shared by
some of the top players in business.
The best part is, Quora is free
to use and has already built up a
very large resource of questions
and answers where the answers are
voted up by users, thus helping the
Michael Stelzner, CEO and Q. Can you tell me a good site keep the best content on top and
Founder of Social Media Examiner, website for seeking small business bury what does not add value.
has used his cover establishing his advice? I am looking for simple You would need an invite to join
expert status, without being too and straightforward information on Quora.com – to get one, visit this
commercial. venture capital, start-up challenges, page and submit your details:
The most ideal situation for a stories of other SMEs, etc.
business would be when its users
choose to feature the brand on their A. One of the most interesting and
Facebook cover – like the position interactive sources of information
Apple and Starbucks enjoy in the for startups is Quora.com. It is like a
cover image of Brian Gardner – the combination of Wikipedia, LinkedIn,
founder of Copyblogger.com. But Yahoo Answers and Facebook – all
this should come as a result of a rolled in one.
great brand experience, nothing less. Unlike Wikipedia where the
Farrukh Naeem is a digital
strategist and social media
consultant based in Abu Dhabi,
UAE. His marketing blog
(copywriterjournalist.com) has a
readership across 140 countries
and his tweets (@farrukhnaeem)
are followed by more than 11000
people worldwide. Farrukh
helps SMEs and individuals build
and grow their influence online
using social media and online
The Intelligent SME 63
P R E S E N T S
THE NEXT GENERATION FASHION CONGREGATION
GET IN TOUCH WITH US IF YOU WANT TO
FEATURE OUR COLLECTIONS
CALL US ON: 055 902 3185
CORPORATE PARTNERS ALLIANCE PARTNER HOSPITALITY PARTNER MEDIA PARTNER STYLING PARTNER
Preferred service providers
TRAVEL & TOURISM ADVERTISING ADVOCATES & LEGAL FINANCIAL CONSULTANTS ISO CERTIFICATION WEB DEVELOPMENT & CONSULTING
HOSPITALITY COMPUTERS FREIGHT FORWARDING & SHIPPING HR CONSULTANTS IMAGE CONSULTANCY SECURITY PROVIDERS
SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANTS SOFTWARE INSURANCE PROVIDERS REAL ESTATE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR DESIGN RENT-A-CAR
Preferred service providers
Auditing & Advisory Services
Audit and Assurance Mergers and Acquisitions
Statutory Audit and Assurance Joint Ventures
Internal Audit and Internal Control Project A
Compliance Audit and Procedure Syn
Forensic Audit and Investigations trategic P
Information Systems Audit SME Support Solutions
IFRS Implementation and Convergence Wealth Management
Specialized Consulting Services
Advisory Services mpany
Enterprise Risk Management and Business ompa
Continuity Planning P
Business Process Outsourcing and
Business Process Reengineering Knowledge Process Outsourcing
Revenue Augmentation Human Resourc
Business Valuation tellectual Propert
308, Block "A", Plaza, Oud Metha, Dubai, UAE.
Tel: +971 4 3547557
Mob: +971 55 4145900
Fax: +91 4 3547535
PO Box 115144,
E-mail: email@example.com, www.quantumauditing.com
Preferred service providers
Online & Social Media Marketing
Travel & Tourism
This offer is exclusively for The
Intelligent SME readers. Please
submit this voucher at the time of
Dhow Cruise Dhs.175/- US $48/-
Afridi Travels & Tourism L.L.C
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Preferred service providers
Intelligent SME-Business phone-Expat 260x190 E.indd 1 2/12/12 5:31 PM
SEMINAR ON DECEMBER 21, 2011
Shantanu Phansalkar, CEO, SPI Publishing, speaks with attendees of the “Quality is Kannan Nayar, Procurement Manager, New Concept, and Hassan Mosafer,
Commercial Directr, Dubai World Trade Centre, at the seminar on ISO
Paramount” seminar held at Media Rotana, Tecom.
accreditation held at Media Rotana, Tecom.
Dr. Sameer Kumar, CEO, Universal Consulting FZC, being introduced at the ‘Quality is Paramount’ ISO
accreditation seminar, held recently at Media Rotana.
If you would like to give your business the unfair advantage
by participating in the Knowledge Series, just SMS your name to
Dr. Sameer Kumar, CEO, Universal Consulting FZC, 055 9023185 / e-mail: email@example.com
speaks the ‘Quality is Paramount’ ISO accreditation
seminar, held recently at Media Rotana.
SEMINAR ON JANUARY 25, 2012
Networking session prior to the ‘Emotional Intelligence - Hiring and Firing at John Lincoln, Vice President, Marketing (Enterprise segment) Du, speaks at the
Will’ Seminar held at Business Village. seminar.
Participants gathered at the seminar on ‘Emotional Intelligence - Hiring and Firing at Will’ at Business Village, Deira.
Khalifa A. Al Jaziri, co-founder of e-Home Automation International, Huny S. Garg, head of product and segment solutions, Standard Chartered bank atted the
seminar on Emotional Intelligence. Right: John Lincoln, Vikram Chadha, senior director - marketing (SME segment), Du and Shantanu Phansalkar look on.
Important business events across the globe
OFFSHORE ARABIA CONFERENCE Website: www.cabsat.com Mainly intended for owners, pilots,
& EXHIBITION enthusiasts and professionals in the
Date: February 27-29, 2012 IBWG SMALL BUSINESS INCUBATOR general aviation field, who come
Venue: Dubai International SEMINAR from all over the Middle East, this
Convention and Exhibition Centre, Date: March 3, 2012 event showcases a complete range
Halls 5 & 6. Venue: Emirates Golf Club. of aviation.
An international marine and Sue-Sharyn Ward & Claire Malcolm
environment conference and will facilitate a discussion on 'Free
COMMERCIAL VEHICLES MIDDLE EAST
exhibition held with the theme, Trade Zones Panel (RAK - JLT -
Date: March 6-8, 2012
“Offshore Oil Spill Prevention and DAFZA)' which will deal on setting up
Venue: Dubai International
Response through New Technology in a free zone and the advantages.
Convention and Exhibition Centre.
and International Cooperation.” Registration at 7 pm, Cost: AED70
The exhibition which is to be per person, bookings via e-mail to Commercial Vehicles Middle East
held simultaneously will provide firstname.lastname@example.org, last bookings at is the region's only event dedicated
the opportunity to showcase the noon on February 28. to commercial vehicles, parts and
“state of the art know-how and Website: www.ibwgdubai.com services. The event provides a
technology and will also reflect every platform for knowledge exchange,
organisation’s commitment to marine HEDGE FUNDS WORLD MIDDLE EAST commercial partnerships, market
and environment.” Date: March 5-8, 2012 and trend analysis, product
Website: www.offshorearabia.ae Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, comparison and technology updates
Dubai. for transport, fleet and logistics
HOW TO BE A SOCIALLY GOOD SME managers from regional commercial
With over US$3 trillion worth
Date: February 27, 2012 enterprises and procurement officials
of capital represented, Hedge
Venue: Media Rotana, Tecom, Al from the region's transportation
Funds World Middle East is
the local meeting place for the
Connect, learn, share and be Middle East’s biggest institutional
inspired! Join an amazing group of investors. Find out where star hedge
EMERGING HEDGE FUNDS MIDDLE EAST
like-minded female entrepreneurs fund managers will be investing
Date: March 8, 2012
for networking and 'How to be a in 2012 and learn which styles
Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel,
Socially Good SME' with Tricia Evans and strategies are predicted to
of Gulf for Good and a panel of UAE outperform the market.
based charities and NPOs, along with Website: www.terrapinn.com Emerging Hedge Funds World
Susan Castle of Out with The Dots. Middle East is an invitation-only
Pre-payment fee: Members AED120, MIDDLE EAST INVESTMENT SUMMIT event for investors who are actively
non-members AED150, On the Date: March 5-7, 2012 looking to allocate into small funds.
Door Fee: AED170, non-members Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai If you are a small fund manager,
AED200. this is an exclusive opportunity
The Middle East Investment
Website: www.heelsanddeals.org to demonstrate your fund to 30
Summit brings together regional
sovereign wealth funds, family
and global institutional investors and
CABSAT 2012 offices and institutional investors.
asset managers to explore the latest
Date: February 28 – March 1, 2012 Website: www.terrapinn.com
portfolio management strategies.
Venue: Dubai International
The conference showcases top
Convention and Exhibition Centre. MIDDLE EAST COATINGS SHOW 2012
asset classes, untapped regional
Date: March 12-14, 2012
CABSAT is the established and opportunities and global funds,
Venue: Dubai International
respected trade platform for the enabling investors and asset
Convention and Exhibition Centre.
digital media and satellite sectors managers to produce maximum
across the Middle East, Africa, and returns in 2012. The Middle East Coatings Show is
Southern Asian regions. Conferences Website: www.terrapinn.com the largest coatings event in the
include GVF Satellite MENA Summit Middle East and Gulf Region for raw
and several other workshops, ABU DHABI AIR EXPO materials suppliers and equipment
including the Twofour54 tadreeb Date: March 6-8, 2012 manufacturers for the coatings
workshops delivered in conjunction Venue: Al Bateen Executive Airport, industry.
with the BBC Academy. Abu Dhabi. See the very latest innovations,
72 The Intelligent SME
Important business events across the globe
solutions, products and services This Middle East aviation conference, Saudi Arabia through a combined
from the world leaders in the the only CEO aviation conference conference and exhibition aiming
coatings industry at the Middle East in the region will address the to present and promote the
Coatings Show 2012. challenges unearthed in this investment opportunities and
Website: www.coatings-group.com operating environment and strive tourism services and products. The
to find innovative solutions that will conference highlights the investment
ASIA PACIFIC RAIL 2012 drive growth and expansion with opportunities and the available
Date: March 13-15, 2012 optimised route scheduling and potential in the Saudi travel and
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Kowloon, the latest distribution and revenue tourism investments market, and
Hong Kong. management strategies. covers the tourism development
Website: www.terrapinn.com strategies related to the business
From metros and mainlines to
high speed rail – follow the rapid
GULF INCENTIVE, BUSINESS TRAVEL Website: www.sttm.com.sa
developments in Asia’s rail scene
AND MEETINGS EXHIBITION
and take part in its success at the
Date: March 26-28, 2012 THE MOBILE SHOW
14th annual Asia Pacific Rail.
Venue: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. Date: April 17-18, 2012
Venue: Madinat Arena, Dubai.
As the leading event for the rapidly
WETEX 2012 developing Middle East Meetings, Meet the world’s leaders, disrupters
Date: March 13-15, 2012 Events, Incentives and Business and challengers of the mobile
Venue: Dubai International Travel industry, GIBTM brings ecosystem and discover new
Convention and Exhibition Centre. together a combination of regional business models and partnerships to
and international industry buyers and develop your business.
WETEX 2012 is an important regional
suppliers, for three days of business Website: www.terrapinn.com
resourcing platform for national and
opportunities, networking and
international companies to access
professional education. ARABIAN BUILD AND CONSTRUCTION
wide range of latest technology and
Website: www.gibtm.com EXPO
management solutions. This event
Date: April 22-25, 2012
also provides avenue for industry
WORLD PORTS AND TRADE SUMMIT Venue: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi.
leaders to keep abreast of the latest
Date: April 2-4, 2012
developments in the Gulf region An international construction
Venue: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi.
in the field of Water, Energy and event dedicated to sustainability
Environment. The World Ports & Trade Summit and innovation. The Arabian
Website: www.wetex.ae is being launched to deliver an Construction week incorporates
unprecedented exchange of three dedicated trade exhibitions:
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY NATIONAL information on the future of ports Green Building, Future Build
AND RESILIENCE 2012 and shipping and will present some and Civil Engineering and four
Date: March 19-21, 2012 of the most ambitious projects ever international summits.
Venue: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. attempted. As governments in the Website: www.worldecoconstruct.com
region earmark US$46.5 billion for
ISNR Abu Dhabi is the only event
the build and development of ports CITYSCAPE ABU DHABI 2012
bringing together the entire spectrum
facilities, the summit will bring Date: April 22-25, 2012
of homeland security issues under
thousands of industry professionals Venue: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi.
one roof. It is a unique event
together to study what this
addressing the growing need for Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012 will serve
investment means for the industry.
sophisticated equipment to counter as a platform to bring further positive
international terrorism, to protect development as well as transparency
national borders and to respond to this burgeoning market and
SAUDI TRAVEL AND TOURISM
resiliently to disasters, whether introduce the local, regional and
natural or the result of terrorist international projects to a global
Date: April 2-5, 2012.
action. audience, made up of investors, and
Venue: Riyadh International
Website: www.isnrabudhabi.com senior real estate professionals.
Convention and Exhibition Centre,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
AVIATION OUTLOOK MENA
Date: March 19-21, 2012 The event covers all travel and
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai. tourism investments aspects in
The Intelligent SME 73
Solving the cash flow riddle
Utpal Bhattacharya on why a good accountant is
so dear for an SME that aspires to succeed.
ecently, I was sitting with would have cautioned him to act
a friend, an entrepreneur before it was too late. A highly skilled
and a smart businessman accountant would have been able
at that. I had done some to advise him a way out of trouble,
business with him, and he owed me as his problem area was not more
some consultancy money. But his than three months: that kind of time
problem was that he could not pay is not too difficult to purchase from
me on time, as he was not receiving nervous creditors. accounts receivable policy.
his money on time: the blame goes However, my friend had saved “Getting the money from
to Dubai’s credit cycle, which can money on his accountant, and that customers sooner, paying bills at the
become annoying at times. This was the beginning of his problems. last possible moment, concentrating
friend showed me his books, and I Among some of his basic flaws, money to a single bank account,
could see that most of his money which I could make out, were that managing accounts payable,
was due in the next two months, he had not prioritised his payments, accounts receivable and inventory
while he had to pay significantly large pre-paid certain accounts and did not more effectively, and squeezing
amounts to creditors immediately. give much thought to reducing his every penny out of your daily
There was a clear mismatch, and interest payout to individual lenders. business," Masonson suggested.
banks had already refused to fund My friend is no exception to bad When I told my friend about
him on his cash flow, just because practices in cash flow management. Masonson, he said: “All that is fine
he was a small business. In fact, more than 60 per cent of for the future. But, what should I do
Both of us knew that he was new businesses do not survive now?”
in trouble, as his cheques would over six years, and one of the I advised him: “Try cutting a deal
start bouncing; and not long after primary reasons for failures is bad with all creditors. It will not only buy
that creditors would be queuing up management of cash flow. you some time, but your creditors
outside his door, while some initiate According to Les Masonson, will also feel that you are not closing
police and court action. What was author of Cash, Cash, Cash: The down and trying to escape.”
the way out from here? Three Principles of Business Survival It is very important for small
On the retrospective and Success, the best way to keep businesses to give a feeling of
assessment, he should have been a business going is by improving confidence to creditors, and if need
more careful. He should have collection, not delaying in depositing be sit across the table and cut a deal,
appointed an adroit accountant who cheques and keeping a strict promising to pay in installments,
while offering to do more business.
I told my friend to start the
practice with me. So, he paid me my
dues, albeit 50 per cent. A quarter
was to be paid the next month and
the rest settled the following month.
I came away happier and promised
to keep servicing him. He has since
been quite successful in negotiating
with his creditors, paying everybody
a part of their dues, while keeping
them engaged. He has also, and very
correctly to his credit, hired a skilled
accountant: although that might
mean that my dues will not be
pre-paid, but on time, as promised.
74 The Intelligent SME
76 The Intelligent SME