A milestone for Dubai

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					                                              Issue 6   Feb. 2012 - Mar. 2012        Price: AED 10                   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

Behavioural fingerprint
How personality affects work performance

                                    A milestone for Dubai
                                          The top 100 SMEs announced
                            The No.1 Platform of Business Leaders
                                                        Strategic alliance partner

 Corporate partners
                                  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.
                                                                       Supported by
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
to entrepreneurs.

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
decisive person.

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
                                                                                                     & Publisher
                                                                                                     Shantanu A.P

                          EDITOR’S NOTE                                                              Account Director
                                                                                                     Vijay G.

                                                                                                     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
                                                                                                     Expert Contributors
aspects, the SME 100 list gives many benefits to all companies that                                  Kristina Nyzell
have attained this recognition.                                                                      Alexandar Williams
                                                                                                     Anesh Jagtiani
On a similar note, an SME roundtable, which was recently held in Dubai,                              Farrukh Naeem
                                                                                                     Zed Ayesh
further zoomed in on the sector, to see what is required by SMEs in
                                                                                                     Dr.Sameer Kumar
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
                                                                                                     Taner Kilicarslan
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
                                                                                                     Hoze M
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:
such as banks, equity lenders and financial institutions to take a closer
                                                                                                     Advertising Enquiries
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!

                                                                                                     Response Executive
Sandhya Divakaran                                                                                    Melanie Castro

                                                                                                     SPI Publishing
                                                                                                     Post Box: 89735, Dubai, UAE
                                                                                                     Tel: 04-2659704, 04-2650312
                                                                                                     Fax: 04-2690566, 04-2651708
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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
                                                                                      business in
                                                                                      Dubai. This
                                                                                      ranking has
                                                                                      motivated us
                                                                                      further, by giving
                                                                                      us the inspiration
                                                                                      to strive for even
                                                                                      more growth
                                                                                      next year.
                                                                                        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
           Growth story

           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
                                                                                                    Growth story

                                                                                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
                                                                                 the presence.
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
           Growth story

                                                                                              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
           Health care

           Medical diagnostics gains
           breakthrough technology
           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
                                                                                                     aldehydes, help
           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
                                                                                                   ultimately improve
           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
           F&B industry

           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
                                                                                            F&B industry

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
help too.
      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.
                                                                                                            Special focus

                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
                                                 again, supported
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
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          hhp://           follow us @Buzzvillage
                                                                                                           Special focus

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
           Special focus

           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,”
                                                                                              he remarks.
                                                                                                    Add to that the cost of getting
                                                                                              a licence, operating fees, an office
                                                                                              space, rents, and many other

32   The Intelligent SME
                                                                                                        Special focus

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
           Special focus

           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
                                                                                                Among numerous
           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
                                                 OUR SERVICES
                                                    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
                                                    Staff Transport
                                                    Goods & Luggage Delivery

                                       AL WEGDANIYAH
                                                 TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
                      Office # 801, Business Avenue, P.O.Box: 93934, Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 2947 000, Fax: +971 4 2947 111, E-mail:,
           Special focus

           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
                                                                                                         Special focus

         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
                                                                                       companies, manufacturing,
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
           Special focus

           ‘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
                                                                                           UAE economy.

                                                                                           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
                                                                                                        Special focus

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.
                                                                                      Southern France.
recent informal study we conducted            My outlook for the SME

                                                                                                           The Intelligent SME   39
           Special focus

           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
                                                                     133.2              138.6
           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
                                                                                                                       Special focus

      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
           Special focus

           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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Special focus

Key business challenges in Dubai                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        demand for products and services,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and competition,
The survey also addressed key challenges faced by SMEs, as perceived at the end of Q4.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Investment outlook
                                             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
                                                        10.0%              9.3%
  10%                                                                                          7.7%                   7.5%                        6.6%                    6.4%                        5.4%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        per the Q3 survey).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5.0%                           3.5%
   5%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2.5%                    1.9%          From a sectoral perspective,
   0%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   trading SMEs are the most
                       Demand for products / services

                                                                                                                      Payment/Receivables delay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Availability of Bank Finance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Currency Fluctuations
                                                         Government Fees

                                                                                                                                                                          Cost of Rental & Leasing
                                                                                               Business Regulations

                                                                                                                                                                                                     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
           Business law

           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
           Nita Maru.

                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
           went wrong.
                                                            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
                                                                                                         Business law

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
           International accreditation

           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
                                                                          Customer-driven Organisation
           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
           International accreditation

                                                                                              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
                                                                                              it happens.
                                                                                                   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
               through certification
                                                           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

           Women entrepreneurs

           ‘Divine’ inspiration
           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
                                                                                           Women entrepreneurs

                                                                                 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
           Women entrepreneurs

           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
                                                                                             Women entrepreneurs

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
                                                                                                     and people-oriented.
                                                                                                     Steadiness – People with high
                                                                                                     ‘S’ traits are generally more
                                                                                                     reserved and thoughtful.
                                                                                                     Conscientious – People with
                                                                                                     high ‘C’ traits are generally
                                                                                                     reserved and methodical.

                                                                                                     Communicating better
                                                                                                     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
                                                                                                     waste theirs!
                                                                                                         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.

                                                             communicate with
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.
                            EFFICIENT     SUPPORT

                                                                      Using this knowledge


                                                                       The key to success


                                                                         in the workplace or


                                                                           outside is to know

                                                                             how to deal with


                                                                               this knowledge.

                                                                                                     Corrina Cross runs powerful

                                                                                 When dealing

                                                                                                     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 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,
           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
                                                                            or www.
for inspiring others.                     they know where they're going.
     There are two reasons for                 Finally, being decisive gives

                                                                                                            The Intelligent SME   61
           Social media

           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

           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
                                                                                              to share.
                                                    Useful Links:
                                                                                                   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?
                                                                                              commercial content.
           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’.
                                                              Mark Zuckerberg
                                                              announced it officially at
                                                              Facebook’s F8 conference

62   The Intelligent SME
                                                                                                         Social media

     Entrepreneurs like Muhammad          Useful Links:                             content is written in research style,
Siddique are using the cover as                     with citations and references being
a business card, which saves the                    valued most, in the
trouble of a potential prospect to dig                      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 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 – to get one, visit this
commercial.                               venture capital, start-up challenges,     page and submit your details:

                                                                                    Useful Links:

     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 It is like a
cover image of Brian Gardner – the        combination of Wikipedia, LinkedIn,
founder of 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
                                                                                      ( 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
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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:
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.
           Events calendar

           Networking opportunities
           Important business events across the globe
           OFFSHORE ARABIA CONFERENCE               Website:                  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, 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:               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:           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
           Barsha.                                                                           departments.
                                                    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:               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:                                                    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:
                                                    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:               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
                                                                                                   Events calendar

Networking opportunities
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:         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:               strategies related to the business
From metros and mainlines to
high speed rail – follow the rapid
                                        GULF INCENTIVE, BUSINESS TRAVEL          Website:
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:
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:                   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:                   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:
                                        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
                                        INVESTMENT MARKET
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:                                                    senior real estate professionals.
                                        Convention and Exhibition Centre,
                                        Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date: March 19-21, 2012                 The event covers all travel and
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai.         tourism investments aspects in

                                                                                                         The Intelligent SME   73

                                                                                                      Summing up
           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

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