Many companies that wish to enter the MENA region concern themselves with issues that are secondary to their success.
- Where should I setup my office? Onshore or in a freezone.
- What should the legal structure be? A limited liability company (LLC), a branch of a foreign company or a joint venture?
- Should I have a virtual office or a full-fledged office?
- How many people should I hire and much should I pay them?
- Which part of town should I setup my office in?
- Should I hire locally or bring staff from the head office?
All these are valid points but they won’t affect your business if deals aren’t closed fast enough.
Business transactions in the MENA region are heavily influenced by relationships. Trust is a major factor and locals rarely do business with people they have just met.
They need to trust the person first before they give that person their business and herein lies the major issue. Trust takes time to build and time is expensive
The sooner you meet your potential customer; the lesser expenses you will incur and the more money you will make.
Without a network of contacts, you will struggle to sell. And if you don’t sell fast enough, you will fail.
Many foreign companies do fail after a couple of years of unsuccessful operation in the MENA because they don’t have the right connections.