10 Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

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10 Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

Thinking of doing business in the Middle East? Here at Gdtme have put together 10 tips for doing so. Unlike the fast-paced, heavy handed business norms of the west and Europe, doing business in the Middle East requires adapting to cultural, religious and traditional ways of doing business.

shutterstock_1066904541. Time isn’t always money
In the west and Europe time is always money. In the Middle East, business is focused on status. Large business owners may feel that the privilege of working with them should be compensated by you! Be prepared to be flexible.

2. Meet face to face
Meet potential business partners in person. This should be the gold standard. Try to avoid meetings with staff on the lower rungs of the business ladder. Don’t rely on email or telephonic contact.

3. Don’t focus on turnaround times
In the Middle East scheduling is flexible. Lunchtime meetings can be changed to dinners out so be willing to adjust to scheduling changes.

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4.Ideas? Be ready to change them
Be ready to change your original ideas. The Arab world is creative and readily embraces concepts and outcomes that are alien to other regions of the globe. Keep an open mind even if they’re suggesting a snow resort in the desert!

5. Do ‘business’ later

Often a formal proposal is worked out long after the initial verbal agreement. Be willing to adjust to their unique time frame. Be prepared to be patient.

6. Avoid stereotyping your potential partners

Despite our best efforts, we often hold ideas about people in the Middle East. Be aware that your potential partners are as smart as you are.

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7. VIP’s don’t do details
Once a deal is made, be prepared to deal with underlings. Don’t expect the VIP to meet with you to discuss the contract.

8. Take charge of follow ups

Sometimes deals with Middle Eastern partners may be made and are then followed by non-action. This doesn’t mean they’ve reneged on the deal, just that it’s probably far less important to them than it is to you.

9. Take note of holy days!

In Islamic countries Friday is the holy day. This means that in these regions the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Eid al-Fitr (preceded by a month of fasting) and Eid al-Adha are two important religious celebrations that can last for 3 days or longer. The Ramadan fast is a time of shortened working hours so avoid doing business at this time.

10. Etiquette in the Middle East

Learning a few greetings in Arabic is a great way to make a good first impression and creates the sense that you are interested in getting to know a different culture. It also creates a sense of respect for their traditions. You may also choose to learn the traditional Islamic handshake.


If you require anymore information on this topic, we are happy to help РContact us at: info@gdtme.com or visit our website, Gdtme. 

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