Common Mistakes and Important Lessons

Foreign companies face similar challenges and make comparable mistakes when trying to do business in the UAE.

Common mistakes that foreign companies make include:

  • Underestimating time: establishing a business in the UAE takes more time than in most Western countries
    • Patience is key, from the time of corporate formation to the expense burn period before turning profits
  • Miscalculating the expense needed to launch properly
    • Plan a longer launch period
  • Hiring “experts” based in the US
    • It is recommended to hire UAE business development consulting firms
    • Courts are undergoing significant changes, laws can sometime appear opaque and ambiguous. Local support can be invaluable
  • Assuming that free zones are by default the best option
    • Depending on the company’s ambitions, a joint partnership might be a better option
  • Launching with too big an overhead, instead of in phases
  • Mispricing products/services

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