Owning a company in the Middle East can be extremely challenging. Policies, governmental restrictions, unstable environments and other factors can make a business owner lose it.
Regardless of the above-mentioned aspects, which are out of our control, business owners can focus on other components and practices in order to grow and sustain their businesses.
From identity to company operations, here are some tips that get you to the top.
1- Identify your “Why”.
Many organizations find themselves facing an identity crisis in the early stages when defining their purpose and positioning.
Nail down your mission, stay focused and create your own role in the market against the leaders.
The Business Model Canvas is the best tool for entrepreneurs and business owners to lay out the elements describing their company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.
The model basically describes your business in a nutshell and lets you ask yourself crucial questions:
- Who are your key players?
- What is your revenue stream?
- What is your value proposition?
- What are your key resources?
- What channels do you use?
- What are your costs?
- What channels do you use?
The results of your research might not always support your initial plan; this is where you embrace change. Don’t be afraid, some of the biggest companies went through drastic changes upon realizing they were going down the wrong path. For example, Twitter began as a podcast network, but as iTunes grew in popularity, the founders – with fear of going out of business- gave employees a couple of weeks to come up with new ideas to revive the company. And voila! The birth of a microblogging platform!
2- Be productive. Not just plain busy.
It’s one of those busy days, people unexpectedly walking in for a cup of coffee or maybe some “chay” ( an Arabic word for tea) and nonsense chit chat, employees wandering in and out of your office, you have a mile long to-do list, you are multitasking, and swamped with work!
Well, is your “busy-ness” actually moving your company forward? Or do you always seem to be running around in circles? Being busy all the time does not mean you are investing your time and energy in the right places. Productivity, in fact, is accomplishing tasks that bring you closer to your goals; all other things are pure clutter.
Now, let’s look at the difference between productive people and busy ones.
Productive people have short to-do lists.
Avoid jumping from task to task without any clear direction by narrowing down the list to the three most important things you need to achieve daily. For example, if you have a small fashion shop and need to work on your new window display your list should simply include: 1-pick your theme, 2- pick your outfits and 3 arrange and add accessories.
Productive people single-task.
I have to admit multi-tasking is tempting and often sounds like you are being super efficient. We usually brag about how good we multitask. But single-tasking is the real deal: it allows you to be fully focused on the task at hand and accomplish each job beautifully. Single-tasking needs a lot of practice you need to cut down the distraction and learn to focus on one single thing. Just notice how many tabs you have open now. Or ask yourself how many times you wrote an email while checking your social media news feeds while talking on the phone while having coffee with your friend or colleagues. And you wonder why you ended up sending the email to the wrong person.
Productive people say no.
not every event, request or opportunity is profitable and fits into your overall plan and objective. When something lands on your plate, think it over, if it doesn’t fit in your priorities then let it go. Let’s say you got invited to an exhibition happening in the coming week. You really want to participate and get exposure, but you are currently rebranding and renewing your website. Would you rather waste time on an exhibition and all the preparations that come along with it? Or focus on finishing your new brand identity and market it later on?
3- Measure and adapt.
Knowing how to allocate your money and time wisely is extremely important, especially in the early stages of developing your business. You might not like to deal with numbers, but yes numbers do matter!
Create key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the different aspects of your business.KPIs are measurable values that reveal how effectively a company is achieving its business objectives. In other words, KPIs help you measure how well you are doing. They vary between different organizations, depending on the priorities and performance criteria. The numbers will eventually guide you to better decisions in where and when to invest in your business and avoid overspending.
For instance, if you have just launched a new website here are some KPIs to look at:
- Number of Visitors
- Time spent on each page
- Time of visit
- Is the client visiting from mobile or desktop
- How often does the client visit the website
The future of workplace is here! More “work” and less “place” is what growing businesses need to get work done!
Outsourcing allows business owners to cut their overhead expenses spent on getting and training full-time employees who may only be needed for a specific period.
Whether you are a restaurant owner in Beirut in need of a fresh website, or a new fashion shop owner in Dubai looking for an outstanding logo design, outsourcing gives you access to talented professionals who can cater to your needs while cutting the cost of hiring overly expensive agencies or getting new employees.
Even successful organizations like Al Wadi El Akhdar, Pinterest, Apple, Coca-cola, and Skype outsource. Maybe it’s time you consider it…
5- Network, network, network!
It goes without saying that most entrepreneurs and small business owners in the region depend mainly on close connections such as family and friends for advice.However, it is crucial that you broaden your connections beyond your comfort zone.Networking isn’t just fun; it also brings you a handful of benefits: raising your profile and increasing your confidence, more exposure to new opportunities, knowledge exchange, and so forth.In fact, anyone could be a potential partner or investor, customer or simply a source of inspiration.
By attending business events and exhibitions related to your field, you can reach out to and learn from other professionals and entrepreneurs. Some may be going through the same challenges and others might bring a lot of business opportunities.
In the case of networking, too much is never enough.
Need help to find the right event? Don’t worry I got your back. Here is a list of events you can attend in the Middle East:
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