Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the pillar of United Arab Emirates economy, comprising 95% of all establishments in the Emirates. SME businesses account for 42% of the workforce and contribute around 40% to the total value add generated in UAE’S economy.
Like all businesses there are highs and lows. Dubai SME’s can feel the strain more in such a competitive business environment. There is no one fix formula to get your business through the hard economic or slow business periods, however we have identified some strategies for SME survival…
Know your finances and numbers inside out. Distribute invoices quickly and chase up debtors, do not purchase more stock than is needed. Negotiate and agree extended credit terms with suppliers, state shorter terms for consumers (impose late payment charges on any consumer that fails to pay on time, to hopefully encourage quicker payment), fill up gaps in your forward order book and maintain a great relationship with your bank representative.
Cut costs in every aspect of your business, this will give you more savings. Make your business more environmentally friendly, this will not only help the planet, but will save you money. Do you and your staff switch off all equipment and lights at the end of the working day? Do you fully utilize your resources? Is every business journey necessary? Do you conduct meetings at your Dubai office or travel to other locations? Small day to day changes lead to greater savings overall.
Attempt to negotiate new terms and conditions with your suppliers. If you are a regular customer, suppliers will possibly be willing to provide you with longer payment terms or a reduction in price to keep you as a repeat customer.
Dubai Mainland companies that require a local sponsor are often overpaying on their sponsorship. Companies that have arranged their sponsorship more than 18 months ago should examine if savings can be made and whether it is feasible to switch to a safe and more secure corporate nominee arrangement. Creation Business Consultants can complete a free sponsorship review on your company to identify any possible savings.
It is vital that you protect the future of your Dubai business. One way is to conduct rigorous credit checks on new customers and agree clear transparent credit terms up front. All it could take is just one major customer to go out of business and this may put your business at risk. Using credit reference agencies can provide extra protection against bad debtors, this must be balanced against the cost of using their services.
When the market is uncertain, consumers usually reduce their spending. In order to get repeat customers, provide loyalty schemes and small discounts. Regular communications can let your clients know how much you value them.
Corporate social responsibility has become an increasingly important issue for many consumers and could provide a new way of attracting and retaining new customers. For example, supporting local initiatives and becoming more environmentally friendly may help to differentiate you from your competitors.
Differentiate yourself from your competitors, by providing excellent customer service. Consumers appreciate businesses that give them more value for their money, especially during tough times. Efficient service, fast delivery and flexible payment terms will encourage people to choose you rather than competitors.
It is essential to tell people why they should use you or come to your business. You don’t necessarily have to have a big marketing budget but be sure to make a lot of noise about your business using effective and efficient tactics. Select which method is suitable to your business, such as digital marketing, online advertising, email marketing, print/promotional material radio and TV ads. Monitor any marketing form that you undertake, measure its performance and determine whether it is adding value or not.
Push towards selling more profitable products. Avoid putting so much effort into trying to sell new or untested products and services. You may be tempted to reduce prices, but this is a big no, no. If demand for your offer is not price sensitive, you will be giving your profits away.
Employees are one of your best assets and contribute to retaining customers and keeping your business afloat. Training is critical to their personal development and the productivity of your business, so avoid trying to save costs in this area. It is now common for Dubai SME’s to cross train staff on roles in other departments as this helps the business operation overall, it provides a close motivated team and reduces costs of having to hire additional staff.
Is your Dubai office in a pricey location? Would an office located in a business center reduce your costs greatly? Contemplate moving to smaller premises. Sell off excess equipment and look at your employees, are your staff concentrated in the right areas? Would flexible working be more cost-efficient? If you are considering making staff redundant be sure you consider, the impact this can have on the remaining staff, amount of time and costs involved in recruiting replacements when the business gets busy again.
Plan and resource online selling properly, including providing payment security, attracting new visitors and meeting orders quickly. An online sales or marketing channel will expose your business to a larger marketplace for minimal cost. Updating and adapting small changes to your existing website such as including a blog or optimizing website traffic and increasing your consumer base will help to grow your Dubai business.
It is vital that an SME stays ahead of its competitors and continuously looks for ways to survive during uncertain financial and economic periods. There are many opportunities to identify strategies to reduce risk, lower costs, maximize control and boost profitability for your business. Contact us today either by email [email protected] or call +971 4 871 4142 for a complimentary consultation to see where we can identify savings with your Dubai company setup.