Dubai is a city that has seen an enormous amount of growth in the past few decades. It’s been dubbed one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and has attracted many businesses to its shores. With so much new construction, it can be difficult for those from abroad to navigate through the process of start a business in Dubai. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of do’s and don’ts when conducting business here.
1. Do get a business license
You will be required to obtain a business license. However, this process is fairly simple and straightforward. You can apply here. Do make sure to read the conditions of obtaining a business license. There are certain rules and regulations in place that you must abide by. So, be sure to do your research on what is expected from you before starting up a company here.
2. Don’t just rely on social media or email
It may have been enough when you were just beginning your career. However, there are times when you have to make face-to-face meetings if you want to conduct business smoothly here.
3. Do become familiar with the culture
The Dubai government is very accommodating and friendly towards foreign investors. Once you get past the requirements of obtaining a business license, it’s not difficult for people from other countries to start up a business here. However, don’t forget that Dubai is an Arab city. Some people have difficulty adapting to the culture of this region. This can be easily remedied if you learn about the culture and respect it.
4. Do use your local agent
If you’re only planning on doing business in Dubai, then you don’t need to establish a company here. Instead, hire a local agent to do it for you. Your agent should be able to help you navigate through the process of opening up a business here, including registering your corporation and facilitating payments on your behalf.
5. Don’t engage in any bribery or corruption
Bribe giving is quite common in Dubai businesses. However, when it comes to doing business here, you should be prepared to handle things yourself. If you’re successful enough to do this, the profits will far outweigh any gains from bribery or other illegal practices.
6. Do get involved in community events
Dubai is a hub for many international businesses because of its friendly business environment. You can make use of community events to network with other business people and expand your clientele. It’s a great way to develop strong relationships and is vital for conducting business in this region.
7. Don’t work alone
Never try to do everything yourself, especially when you’re doing business in Dubai. You need someone trustworthy who can represent you when necessary. This is especially important if you’re a foreigner and have dealings with locals or government officials
8. Do become familiar with Islamic business practices
If you’re not an Arabic speaker, it can be difficult to conduct business in Dubai without hiring a local speaker for translation purposes. However, even though most of the population here is Arabic speaking, most businesses are run in English. So, you should be able to handle business just fine with a little language help from your agent and local employees.
Also read: Everything To Know About Offshore Company Formation in UAE
9. Don’t forget about the rule of law
Sometimes Eastern practices can feel strange or unfair to Westerners. However, remember that Dubai is under Islamic law and thus your rights are not protected by a pre-existing state or national government. So, you must accept the laws for what they are and not expect any special treatment from your local agent.
10. Do learn about both United Arab Emirates law and Dubai law
The rules of conducting business in Dubai can be very different from those in the UAE as a whole. So, make sure to differentiate between the two so you know which practices are prohibited.
11. Don’t forget about the importance of networking
When it comes to business in Dubai, it’s always better to have a strong network of connections than a lot of money in your bank account. While you will need a certain amount of capital when starting up a business here, you will need even more connections to get the job done. It’s far more advantageous to invest your time in networking rather than starting up companies that are not likely to succeed in this competitive market.
12. Do attend conferences and exhibitions
It can be very helpful when you’re getting started with the business if you make use of events and trade shows. These are great places to learn more about what’s happening in the market and to gather information on your competition, which is always a good idea if you want to get ahead of the game.
13. Don’t forget that Dubai is an Islamic country
What this means for you is that there may be certain restrictions or limitations on the business practices that you’re not used to. For example, if you plan on opening up a bar or restaurant here, make sure that it’s willing to adhere to local Islamic rules and regulations. It may also help you establish good relations with the locals if you decide to offer daycare services in addition to other dining options.
Also read: LLC company formation in Dubai and the UAE (2021 guide)
14. Do watch out for environmentally friendly business practices
Dubai has taken a lot of steps to make this city as green and eco-friendly as possible. However, it’s still important that you consider the environmental impacts of your business so you don’t take advantage of the community. If you want to build or invest in a new property here, be sure to check out the building codes for green construction.
15. Don’t forget about safety
It’s also important to factor in personal safety when you’re working on the business in Dubai. It’s recommended that women steer clear of walking alone after dark or wearing skimpy clothing if they want to avoid unwanted attention from men. In addition, scams and petty theft are prevalent in this city. So, be sure to keep your personal information safe if you don’t want identity theft or other legal problems on your hands.