Following a recent trip to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, we thought we would share with you our experiences of doing business in the UAE.
Firstly to the basics, yes Dubai and Abu Dhabi have many very impressive large buildings and the level of investment is staggering. There is lots of money to be made when doing business in the UAE but it is important to examine some of the avoidable pitfalls in doing business in this fast paced multicultural country.
Do dress correctly, smile and remember your manners. The country is very westernised in some regards but it does have very strong Islamic foundations. With these points in mind ensure you dress smart, modest and stylish. A suit and tie is almost compulsory for business meetings.
When dealing with the Emerati people it is customary to treat introductions with the upmost respect. Be aware of the etiquette as well, for example never extend a handshake to the opposite gender until they offer theirs.
Steer clear of the traditional European corporate bluntness and make time to have small talk, this is a process for the Emerati, not only is it courteous but they view it as an opportunity to understand you on a personal note to establish whether you will be a suitable business partner.
Do not expect meetings to go to plan. Meetings may be seen as more unorganised and a little chaotic compared to European business, being patient is very important here. You will find people will join, leave and return unannounced and you may find yourself repeating yourself to ensure the key points you are trying to deliver get to all of the audience. Go with the flow, be patient and think before you speak, you must remember as UAE is home to many different nationalities there may be different dynamics in decision making.
Make sure you do your research, then some more research and then some more research! Before doing business in the Region, you should make sure you have a sound knowledge of doing business there. There are many different business conditions that need to be understood for different industries.
The UAE and Dubai in particular has a flourishing business environment, which is helped by incentives from the government to set up new enterprises. As long as you respect the culture you will find that UAE offers incredible hospitality and progressive forward thinking allowing businesses with ambition to be well rewarded.