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Country Specific Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

Monday, October 10th, 2016

shutterstock_264221285Some businessmen assume that the Middle East is politically unstable and refrain from doing business there. Only specific countries like Yemen and Libya are politically unstable. United Arab Emirates or UAE is politically stable; numerous UK-based companies have invested their money here especially in Dubai.

Since Middle East has its own customs and cultures that differ from the West and other places, it only seems wise to know beforehand certain things before doing business there. Here are some country specific tips for performing business in the Middle East:

Honour and trust business culture

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According to researchers from the Kellogg School of Management, the Western business culture relies on dignity culture, which is set apart from social interactions. Westerners tend to take a business negotiation or dealing as an issue to be resolved and adopt an open, trusting and information sharing approach.

Middle Eastern business culture relies on honour and trust culture, which is inclusive of social interactions. Middle Easterners take a business dealing more personally, considering it as competition against other businessmen. Also, they only extend their trust and share more information after building a relationship with their respective business partners, which comes about after many business meetings. For example, Emiratis may ask you similar questions many times to gauge the consistency of your replies for determining whether you’re telling the truth.

While Westerners adopt a more neutral approach, Middle Easterners may resort to emotional tactics like sympathy and frustration to gain the upper hand in the negotiation. For a business meeting venue with Middle Easterners, consider selecting a crowded souk where there are many social interactions.

Business etiquette

Everyday values and life revolve around Middle East’s main religion, Islam. So don’t arrange a meeting with a Middle Easterner on a Friday, during any of the daily five prayer times or Ramadan month. Also, Middle Easterners are particular about respect especially when it comes to elderly people. Middle Eastern men normally shake hands with other men during an introduction. They may even hold hands while walking – the tip is not to pull your hand away, showing disrespect.

Business dealings

shutterstock_215168539If you’re looking for a base, Dubai, which is the Middle East’s commercial capital, is the answer. But remember if you’re a non-GCC national, your ownership of whatever company you open in UAE would be limited to 49 percent – 51 percent must be owned by a GCC national. Opening a bank account in the Middle East can be time-consuming and costly due to expenses pertaining to the bank’s anti-laundering regulations. Wire transfer, PayPal and Western Union are some great ways to bypass the bank and get money for the goods that you export from or import into Middle East.

For more information about exporting to the Middle East, or how we can help your business, please call us on +97143206673 or email us: info@gdtme.com

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How to Effectively Sell Your Products Overseas.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

How to Effectively Sell Your Products Overseas.

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Considering the booming m-commerce and e-commerce industries, establishing your company’s website for selling your products overseas is wise. Two highly potential markets where there are huge investment opportunities are GCC and Middle East, which has over 360 million people. By 2020, around 40 percent of e-commerce growth is expected in GCC, according to Frost & Sullivan’s Sarwant Singh. Some of the possible setbacks when it comes to trading overseas are currency fluctuations, packaging differences and transportation or logistics issues.

Ways to effectively sell your products overseas.

To overcome the issue of currency fluctuations, discuss with your foreign exchange bureau or bank and set the rate for exchanging the currency when the times comes – it’s akin to a forward contract. Also, set acceptable payment terms, timeline for delivery, packaging and manufacturing processes and quote’s validity clause – doing these things ensures that you don’t mess up your pricing and lose your nett profit.

shutterstock_323328491You may have to pay import duties, export duties and local taxes when you export your products overseas. If you decide to export your products to a non-English speaking country, consider translating the language of the product instructions, labelling and packaging from English into the local language. It’s a great way to promote your products and gain the potential of more local sales.

Another key aspect to consider is product packaging colours. For example, in the Middle East, blue and green are favoured colours while red is considered evil. So choose the colours wisely to win over more customers for your business.

Another key aspect about exporting overseas is logistics. If you decide to use international shipping services like DHL and UPS for your m-commerce or e-commerce business, remember to fill in the appropriate customs declaration form. If the delivery route to your customer’s place is very difficult, you may end up paying a lot for transportation or logistics, which may mean no nett profit or even loss. So think twice before committing to any customer order.
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If your company is located in the UK, consider adding the tag or label, “Made in the UK” – many people in various parts of the world think high quality is synonymous with UK. When you set the price for your product’s overseas sale, you need consider aspects like duties, extra packaging expenses and other aforementioned items.
Resources and assistance for your export activities

For resources pertaining to effectively selling your products overseas, refer to Department for International Trade (previously called UK Trade & Investment) if your company is based in the UK. Those in the US can refer to U.S. Department of Commerce. To make life a lot easier, you can get help from a company like us here at Gdt which have over 30 years of expertise in importing and exporting activities especially in the Middle East and GCC. Gdt handles the core marketing and sales functions that a company’s export department normally does.


For more information about exporting or doing business in the Middle East or how we can help please call us +97143206673 or email: info@gdtme.com

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10 Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

Monday, September 26th, 2016

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 – Contact us at: info@gdtme.com or visit our website, Gdtme. 

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From Local to Global How to Take Your Business to The Next Level.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

From Local to Global How to Take Your Business to The Next Level.

Expanding your business overseas entails certain risks, but it can also reap great rewards. With global online retail sales alone up 17% annually, the potential for growth is huge. And it’s not just about the bottom line. Exploring new markets can keep your company fresh, help you to innovate, cushion you against downturns in the market at home and improve efficiency and productivity. Here are some helpful tips for turning your company into a global brand.

Research potential markets.

If you want to sell products and services abroad, it’s important to do your homework on potential foreign territories. When deciding which countries to target, you need to know whether there’s a demand for your product, and if you’ll have any competitors. How does the country’s internal market operate? Are there trends than you can turn to your advantage? Digging deeper, it also pays to become conversant with the local culture, customs and values. As well as helping to prevent any social faux pas, this can also provide valuable insights into how to frame your products for local consumers.

Get networking.

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Once you’ve settled on a potential foreign market, spend some time there visiting trade fairs and business events where you’ll have a chance to meet potential customers, distributors and agents. Be methodical about it: scan guest lists for people who might be of importance to you and make a point of introducing yourself. Don’t underestimate the value of networking. Friends on the ground can give you an insider’s point of view of new markets and help you to refine your sales strategy.

Sort out your finances.

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To successfully expand your business abroad, you must also ensure that you have adequate capital for your venture. If you need to raise funds from investors or banks, then you will want to show them a sound business plan explaining how you intend to scale up your business and build a lasting customer base. When doing your sums, remember to include all the additional costs you are likely to incur due to factors such as transport, storage, manpower and government red tape.

Start small.

It can be a mistake to rush in, blanketing several counties at once with a “one size fits all” marketing strategy. The wiser option is to begin with one or two markets, then expand slowly but surely. Trade fairs are a good starting point; it can also be helpful to create a presence on social media and existing e-market platforms, and thus ease your way into the consciousness of overseas buyers.

Insure against non-payment.

One of the hazards of trading overseas is the danger of non-payment. Dealing with this issue can be unpleasant enough at the best of times, and long distances can aggravate the situation. That is why it is important to evaluate the creditworthiness of potential customers before committing yourself. You can also guard yourself against non-payment with various safeguards such as credit insurance cover and Letters of Credit.


If you need anymore information, you can contact us on: info@gdtme.com or visit the website GDTME.com we are happy to help.

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