secure mobile devices
safeguard food supply
know your trade market
ISSUE 1 FEBRUARY 2012 www.privatesectorqatar.com/en
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA PRODUCTION ZONE, DUBAI TECHNOLOGY AND MEDIA FREE ZONE AUTHORITY
The ABC of entrepreneurship - The makings of an entrepreneur - How to develop a business idea
make an impression
pitch to clients
CONTENTS Issue 1 February 2012
Legal 28 RULES OF THE GAME Emma Higham, Senior Associate, Clyde & Co, gives us an overview of the rules and regulations that foreign investors should be familiar with as they prepare to do business in Qatar.
Trade 32 ENSURING FOOD SECURITY
Spring of Hope News
We bring you a snapshot of the latest events and happenings in Qatar that will have an impact on SMEs and large enterprises.
We take a look at new products and software launched to make your work life easier. It’s not like you need an excuse!
Dr. Ashraf Mahate, international trade and business expert, talks to us about how to deal with food supply shortage, which is becoming a serious concern in the Gulf region.
34 KNOW YOUR DESTINATION Before you get ready to export to a particular market, Tasdeer advises on how to ensure if there is a right fit between your product and the market it is meant for.
14 ECONOMIC INSIGHT
24 I THINK, THEREFORE I AM
36 RECRUIT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
We take a look at some of the monetary indicators in Qatar based on reports provided by QNB.
Are entrepreneurs born or bred? Ian White, Director, Qatar Skills Academy discusses what really makes an entrepreneur.
We talk to Rabea Ataya, CEO, Bayt. com, to know about the Internet-based recruitment company’s best practices.
36 Expert Opinon
16 SPRING OF HOPE
26 WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND
Hedi Larbi, Director, International Development Institution gives us his viewpoint on what will be the economic impact of the Arab Spring on the region in 2012.
Every successful business or product starts with an idea. Bedaya Center talks about the importance of developing a sound idea and how to go about it.
40 THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY In this competitive world, organisations are busy trying to secure deals. But in doing so, some are committing cardinal sales sins, says Jennifer Baxavanis, Managing Partner, BAX Consulting.
Management 44 THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FLEXIBLE Stephan Melchior, Managing Partner, Wilson Learning Middle East, shares some pointers on the ability to see different perspectives and adapt.
Marketing 48 PLAYING TWO STEPS AHEAD With the advent of digital media, the rules for advertising have completely changed. Therefore, businesses must adapt so that they can continue to provide value and remain relevant, says Abbas Alidina, Founder and Director of Logicks.com.
Technology 52 PROTECTING YOUR MOBILE DEVICES
Andy Cordial, Managing Director, Origin Storage, explains why mobile computing users need to raise their security game if they are to avoid a series of SmartPhone and tablet computer-driven data breaches hitting the headlines.
Corporate Lifestyle 54 SEAL THE DEAL You have just a few seconds to make that first impression and you get only one shot at it. This month, Guillaume Mariole from Ignite Fitness & Wellness shows that, with a little thought and preparation, you can make some smart choices.
Publisher Dominic De Sousa Group COO Nadeem Hood
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Drum roll please! As a New Year ushers in, it brings with it hope, optimism and an eagerness for new things to come. From the lone young man in Tunisia to the occupy Wall Street movement, 2011 was a year of turmoil and change. But now with a new year, we look forward to a new beginning and positive tidings of good things to come. The Middle East has been through a tumultuous time, and therefore it becomes all the more important to focus on the positives. As the region continues to simmer with some signs of change, it is countries like Qatar, with their robust economic growth and long-term strategy of making the country a safe place to work, live and flourish that become our beacon of hope. From winning the Summer Olympics 2020 to 2022 FIFA World Cup, combined with its aggressive investment to make the country the largest producer of gas in the world, the Al Thani family has made sure a strong foundation has been set to achieve their vision. Qatar today stands as the main player in the region, able to influence the GCC and beyond. With foreign investment on the rise, the presence of multinationals in all sectors of the economy and a growing student population, we could not find a better time to bring in Private Sector Qatar in English, to ensure that all these developments and success stories do not go unnoticed. With this first issue, we find ourselves in unchartered territory. A platform to educate, inform and make aware not only the existing private sector enterprise but also the flood of investors looking for their next big break. With so much going on, Qatar is definitely the place for entrepreneurs and businesses that are up for exploring opportunities. And we want to be there, when you make that journey. We want the magazine to be an inclusive forum and for you to talk to us, share your ideas, guide us. We are in the midst of lining up professionals who will contribute regularly on various issues â€“ right from setting up a company to upcoming trends, entrepreneurs who will share their experiences and international experts, who will give their take with a global perspective. And we want the world to know what is happening in Qatar. The first issue of the magazine provides insight into an interesting mix of topics, ranging from the impact of the Arab Spring on the region, to how to build a concrete business idea, defining an entrepreneur and an overview of doing business in Qatar. You can find all this and a lot more on our Website and Facebook page. And to interact with us, follow us on our various social media channels. As we begin this journey in 2012 to make Private Sector Qatar a must-read platform for every business and to provide support to SMEs, we are motivated to make a difference. We hope you will be a part of this journey and guide and encourage us along the way.
Aparna Shivpuri Arya, Editor (English), Private Sector Qatar 1013 Centre Road, New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
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advisory Board Dr. Hessa Al Jaber
Ms. Amal Al-Mannai
Dr. Jaber is the Secretary General of ictQATAR. Prior to this, she was a member of the Strategic ICT Committee, responsible for shaping Qatar's national ICT strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) from Kuwait University and Master's Degree and PhD in Computer Science from George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Ms. Al-Mannai is the Executive Director of the Social Development Center (SDC). She is also the Vice Chairperson of AFIF Fund for Small and Medium enterprises and a member of the National Human Rights Committee. Ms. AlMannai holds an MBA degree from the College of Business Administration at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She also holds a BSc in Economics from The University of Qatar and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from London University.
Mr. Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa
Dr. Eulian Roberts
Mr. Al-Khalifa is the Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Control at Qatar Development Bank (QDB). He has over ten years of experience in the banking, oil and gas and the private services sectors working for the QDB, Shell and Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation respectively. Mr. Abdulaziz holds an MBA degree from Qatar University and a bachelor degree in Engineering from California University, USA.
Dr. Roberts is the Managing Director of Qatar Science & Technology Park. His sector experience includes biotechnology, environmental technology, energy, healthcare, software and telecommunications. Eulian graduated from Imperial College with a BSc and PhD in 1986, and obtained an MBA three years later.
Mr. Al-Emadi is Deputy CEO, Silatech. Prior to joining Silatech, he has worked for the Barwa Real Estate Group and Qatar Foundation. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from McNeese State University.
Mr. Salman is Executive Assistant, Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He has graduated from Faculty of Arts â€“ English literature in 1998. He also studied Business Administration at the American University in Cairo, 1999.
For more information, please visit www.privatesectorqatar.com/en 8
Space camp programme by Boeing A senior aviation security inspector from Qatar attended Boeing Educators to Space Camp programme held in Huntsville, Alabama in the United States. Captain Mohammed Al Khater was part of a group of more than 90 delegates and students from 11 countries taking part in a weeklong training adventure. “The programme was very beneficial, and proved to be creative and innovative in teaching us techniques that we were able to implement with our teams upon returning home. This is an excellent initiative from Boeing, and I am very excited to have been part of it,” said Captain Mohammed. This year’s group of participants represented 11 countries, 16 American States, and the District of Columbia. Since 1992, more than 800 teachers have participated in Boeing’s annual programme, designed to help them motivate their students in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which is estimated to have reached more than 400,000 students around the world. The Boeing Educators to Space Camp programme uses information on current space
Promoting education Qatar National Bank (QNB) announced the launch of its Education Plan campaign as part of its corporate social responsibility policy.
exploration initiatives to enhance teaching skills in presenting STEM lessons in a way that will inspire students and help ensure a skilled workforce for a globally competitive technology market. The group participated in activities such as simulated space missions, astronaut training, and lectures by rocketry and space exploration experts.
A good education and a degree from a respected university are the key to unlocking many doors of opportunity for children. This investment plan is designed to help people save the cost of higher education by guaranteeing the growth of their contributions over the years.
“Boeing is an active advocate of educational advancement and has a long-term commitment to community development in the Middle East.” said Jeffrey Johnson, President of Boeing Middle East. “By offering students and educators a chance to take part in the Space Camp programme, we are focusing on elevating the quality of education in the region, so that students can excel in a competitive global market.”
This product offers customers who have children with a savings and protection plan that helps for the future education of their children. It will give customers a sense of security and achievement knowing that their children’s education will go as planned even if everything else doesn’t.
After graduating from Space Camp, each delegate returns home with a lessonplan workbook and materials to use in the classroom or work environment. The graduates also have access to online training as well as resources to help them continue to network and communicate with their fellow camp attendees.
With a flexible savings structure, it will ensure the family’s financial independence in the event of unexpected permanent total disability or death of the policy owner. The minimum accumulation phase is five years and the maximum is 21 years. Customers can also continue to pay into the account from any country they move to. In order to enrol in the programme customers should contact the QNB customer care centre to schedule an appointment, following which a customer care officer will visit them to create a package that suits their needs. QNB has always been keen on providing its community with best products and solutions to their financial needs and this programme is one of the most attractive products of its kind in the country.
Space camp team
Deal signed between Qatargas and Laffan Refinery Qatargas signed Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Samsung Engineering Ltd., for a Diesel Hydrotreater (DHT) Unit that will treat 54,000 barrels per stream day (BPSD) of diesel, from highsulphur into ultra low-sulphur diesel fuel, at the Laffan Refinery. The Laffan Refinery, which started production in September 2009 and is operated by Qatargas, is one of the largest condensate refineries in the world and the first of its kind in Qatar. The contract was formally signed by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of the Qatargas and Laffan Refinery Boards
Fly away The unique Fifth Fly-in Open Day at Al Khor was completely reshaped for January 2012 into an annual, crowd-pulling attraction featuring an airshow and aircraft from all over the region. Al Khor Fly-in Day is part of Qatar’s history and is being relaunched as an event set to draw big crowds with displays of aircraft and aerobatic shows thrilling the whole family. Jointly organised by aircraft
of Directors, and Mr. Park Ki-Seok, President and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Engineering Ltd. Also present on the occasion were Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer of Qatargas and Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Laffan Refinery Company, Qatar Petroleum Board members, senior officials of Qatargas, top management from Samsung Engineering Ltd., and representatives of the Laffan Refinery shareholders. Commenting on this major project, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada said, “This project forms part of Qatar’s National Vision, as laid down by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa
Al-Thani, for securing efficient energy supplies for the country meeting the most stringent environmental specifications, and contributing towards clean global energy security. The surplus production will be exported, making it the latest addition to the State of Qatar’s existing export portfolio in the energy sector. The planned startup of this project is the first quarter of 2014 at a cost of around QR 350 million.” Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani said, “This is a very significant milestone for our Laffan Refinery, which is already undergoing an ambitious expansion drive to double its capacity of 146,000 BPSD. I’m particularly pleased about this collaboration
with Samsung Engineering for the development of this Diesel Hydrotreater Unit as it represents one of the many ways through which we continue to demonstrate our highest standard of environmental management.” The Laffan Refinery, with its processing capacity of 146,000 BPSD, represents a significant achievement by the State of Qatar in the field of optimising condensate production. Engineering work is currently being undertaken for a second condensate Laffan Refinery (LR2), which will have the same capacity and will be constructed on an adjacent plot. The DHT Unit is designed to process the LGO straight run from both refineries.
owners, Qatar Civil Aviation and Al Khor Airport, the 2012 Fifth Fly-in Open Day took place at Al Khor airport over two days, January 13th and 14th. The first day of the event witnessed the main attraction for the public. Aircraft owners from Qatar and overseas flew into Al Khor to show off their machines and raise awareness about aviation among Qataris, in what was an exciting and educational event. It was a great opportunity for those with a love of aviation to immerse themselves in a
fantastic and original experience by taking a closer look at a diverse range of aircraft from jets, to propeller aircraft, to microcopters and many others.
Qatar Aeronautical College was representeded at the event for those willing to learn more about scholarships and a career in aviation.
Business solutions for managing data Qtel Business Solutions (QBS) launched an innovative new network solution that that will allow customers with high bandwidth requirements to aggregate applications on one dedicated, highly secure optical network. The new WaveLink service is aimed at Qatarâ€™s fastgrowing large corporate and Government entities looking to manage higher volumes of data and information. The solution offers failureresistant architecture and the ability to carry traffic,
regardless of protocol or bandwidth requirements. With companies in Qatar continuing to set new records for growth and development, business customers are increasingly looking for innovative solutions to help them stay on top of their daily data needs.
The new service also provides a powerful established backbone with the flexibility of client-specific tailored protocols and set protection levels to suit individual companies. This is all done in a cost-effective way by using leased capacity that demands no capital investment.
WaveLinkâ€™s supporting applications range from basic voice and data services to virtualisation and storage area network applications, allowing customers to manage traffic over one network.
WaveLink is based on Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology and are used primarily for high bandwidth requirements such as data warehousing, Storage Area
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Networking (SAN) and applications. It uniquely supports multiple deliveries of different interfaces as the service is transparent to what technology each wavelength provides. It can be used to supply Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH), Ethernet, or other protocols such as Fibre Connection (FICON) or Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON). WaveLink based access can meet resilience requirements between sites such as data centres and head offices.
Everything Mobile Forum
Sharq Village and Spa
Qatar Projects (Construction)
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Power-Gen Middle East 2012 (Energy and Power)
Qatar National Convention Center
3rd Annual Middle East PPP
Doha Food Festival
Doha Exhibition Center
Doha 9th Jewellery and Watch Exhibition
Doha Exhibition Center
3rd Annual Concepts Middle East (Business)
Fire Safety and Rescue-Qatar
Qatar International Conference on Stem Cell Science and Policy
Qatar National Convention Centre
Let’s talk money! In the first of a multi-part series, we take a look at some of the monetary issues in Qatar, based on economic reports provided by the Qatar National Bank (QNB).
Currency The Qatari riyal (QR) has been pegged to the US dollar at a rate of QR3.64:USD1 since 1981. This limits the monetary policy tools at the disposal of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB). The other GCC currencies, aside from the Kuwaiti dinar, also have long-standing pegs to the dollar. It is unlikely that the currency will be de-pegged or re-valued in the near future. The peg minimises the volatility of hydrocarbons export revenue, as oil and gas are priced in dollars. For foreign investors, the long-term stability of the peg removes some of the capital value risks that are usually associated with investment in countries with floating exchange rates.
The dollar itself has been volatile in recent years, but even this has not prompted any moves towards changing the peg in Qatar or other GCC countries.
later be changed to a basket of currencies that better reflect the trade relationships of the GCC, along the lines of Kuwait’s existing currency regime.
The peg could be adjusted in preparation for the launch of a GCC Monetary Union. There are plans for a single currency including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar (the UAE and Oman have withdrawn). A joint GCC Monetary Council was established in Riyadh in 2010 as the first step towards monetary union.
A less likely scenario would be an adjustment to level of the riyal’s peg to help stave off imported inflation. In 2008, Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation spiked to 15%. Some analysts argued that an upward revaluation would help to slow inflation by lowering import costs. However, it would probably require a prolonged depreciation of the US dollar and significant imported inflation, for Qatar to seriously consider adjusting its exchange rate and undermining the stability the long-term peg has created. Such a scenario is highly
It is likely that a GCC currency would initially be pegged to the US dollar, with the Qatari riyal being converted to the new currency at this fixed rate. The peg might
unlikely in the short to medium term as the US dollar remains essential to the global financial system. Given that the Federal Reserve rates are effectively on hold until 2013, QNB Capital does not expect any increase in Qatari interest rates until then. Further rate cuts may be made if credit growth remains sluggish. Qatar is unlikely to raise rates until 2013, taking its lead from the US Federal Reserve. The US dollar peg requires Qatar’s interest rates to broadly track US rates to deter major speculative capital flows seeking to arbitrage any interest-rate differential. Interbank lending rates are closely related to official base rates.
Monetary policy tools The QCB mainly uses bank reserve requirements and lending limits as monetary policy tools. • Commercial banks are required to hold 4.75% of total deposits, including foreign deposits, as cash reserves • The loan-to-deposit ratio of commercial banks is 90% Foreign currency deposits have declined significantly. There has also been a longterm trend for an increase in the proportion of deposits held in Qatari riyal. Foreign currencies, which were 34% of the total in January 2007, declined to 22% as at June 2011. This has most probably been a consequence of the financial crisis and global recession, which has encouraged Qataris to withdraw their savings from foreign currencies that may have been perceived as at risk. The proportion of demand deposits has also fallen from 28% in January 2007 to 23% in June 2011, indicating that there is an increased propensity for Qataris to save.
Prices and wages Historically, inflation in Qatar has been extremely low. The Consumer Price Index grew at 3.0% during 1995-2004. It picked up considerably to 12% in the 2005-08 oil boom, although there was a contraction in prices during the global slowdown in 2009-10 of 3.7% a year
Consumer price index (CPI) 2000-2012
10 2.4 2.8 0 2002
Source:Capital QSA, *QNB Capital forecasts in 2011-2012 Source: QSA, *QNB forecasts in 2011-12 Figure 1 An expansive economy, public spending and housing have driven inflation. Inflation has been driven higher by the economic boom, high oil prices and strong government spending, all of which have increased domestic demand. Qatar is also heavily dependent on imports of food and other goods and is therefore affected by imported inflation as international commodity prices rise. Rent prices have driven the increase and subsequent contraction in the CPI. Rent, fuel and energy have the strongest weighting in Qatar’s CPI basket, accounting for 32% of the index. This component also grew faster than all of the other categories in 2005-08, at a rate of 25%. During Qatar’s economic boom, rental prices rose rapidly.
for a four bed villa in the first half of 2006 to USD 6,600 in the first half of 2008. These factors were largely responsible for the CPI inflation of 14% in 2005-08. Rent was also the key driver for the contraction in the CPI in 2009-10, falling at a rate of 12% a year. According to the DTZ research, prime office rental rates fell by 13% from the first half of 2008 to USD 71 in the second half of 2010 and compound villas fell 38% to USD 4,100 over the same period.
According to a survey by DTZ, a UK-based real estate research company, prime office rental rates in the diplomatic quarter of Doha increased by 67% from USD 49 per square metre per month in the first half of 2006 to a peak of USD 82 in the first half of 2008. Residential compound villa rents also increased, rising by 35% from USD 4,900 per month
Producer Price Index (Q1 2010-Q1 2011)
The second most highly weighted category in the CPI is transport and communications, representing 21% of the overall index. Prices changes in this category have been more moderate, only rising at a rate of 4.3% in 2005-08 and contracting at a rate of 1% in 2009-10.
Percent change, index weighting in brackets
The PPI is closely related to oil prices. The highest weight in the PPI basket is given to mining, which accounts for 77% of the index (Figure 2). Within this, crude oil prices account for 50%, natural gas for 32% and condensates 18%. Inflation in this category has been 29% from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011. As natural gas and condensate prices are often linked to oil prices, this category will be closely correlated with QNB Capitalâ€™s oil price forecast, rising by around 35% in 2011 and falling by around 4.8% in 2012.
Manufacturing Manufacturing is the next most heavily weighted category, representing 21% of the index. Inflation has risen by 14% in this category from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, which has mainly been driven by an 18% increase in the price of refined petroleum products and a 11% increase in the price of basic chemicals, used in the petrochemical industry. As the inputs for petroleum products and petrochemicals are oil and gas based, this category is also closely correlated with oil prices.
The food, beverages and tobacco component of CPI was also an important factor driving inflation. QNB Capital expects rising prices in the food, beverages and tobacco and transport and communications categories to more than counteract the falling prices in the rent, fuel and energy category. During the first six months of 2011, prices in the food, beverages and tobacco category rose again, at an annual average rate of 4.8% in line with fresh increases in international food prices because of poor harvests.
Producer Price Index (PPI)
0 Overall index
Electricity and water
Source: QSA and QNB Capital analysis Figure 2 The remaining 2% of the index is made up of electricity and water. Prices in this category are fixed by the government, and are therefore likely to remain relatively stable. They fell marginally by 0.1% from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011.
Wages Based on labour surveys conducted by the Qatar Statistics Authority QSA, average wages have increased from USD 17,200 per year in 2006 to USD 25,700 in 2009. This equates to an annual increase of around 14% and is broadly in line with CPI. In September 2011 the government announced a 60% increase in salaries of military officers and a 50% rise in the salaries of military personnel of other ranks.
Top paid sectors in Qatar Sector
Average Annual Salary (USD)
Mining and Quarrying
Electricity, gas and water supply
Source: QSA and QNB Capital analysis
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spring of hope What does the New Year hold for the Arab World? More political changes and economic challenges, but also optimism and faith, says Hedi Larbi, Director, Middle East Department, International Development Institution.
n 2011 the Arab world witnessed a tsunami change. Let us look back at the last 12 months and try to preview what 2012 holds for our region.
Political situation It is too early to draw some lessons as the political transformation is still unfolding both within and across countries. Political transition has just started in few countries (Tunisia, Egypt and to a less extent Libya). At the same time, revolution is still ongoing in other countries (Yemen, Syria). Arab people, where ever they are, have rapidly developed a deep sense of citizenship
and strong determination to defend their rights and freedom. Because of its potential to shape up the new political system in the region, it is worth exploring the prospect of religion in the region and try to assess the challenges it may face going forward. Along with economic issues, and counter revolution attempts, the turmoil raises serious questions and legitimate concerns by the people of the region and many partners of the Arab world. Objective analysis of the prevalent economic and social situation in these countries, and extensive discussions with constituencies and popular base of the political parties can help shed some light. For
the majority of the people, the future of any political ideology will depend on how much those who are elected will deliver on both the political and economic demands of the people.
Economic situation 2011 was a tough economic year for revolutionary and evolutionary countries. Growth was flat or negative in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria. It was sluggish in Morocco and Jordan. Unemployment, the central reason of the Arab Spring, soared especially in Tunisia and Egypt. Tourism income took a plunge with little sign of recovery (-35% in Egypt, -45% in Tunisia and even worse in Syria). Foreign Direct investment (FDI) has more than halved.
Objective analysis of the prevalent economic and social situation in these countries, and extensive discussions with constituencies and popular base of the political parties can help shed some light. For the majority of the people, the future of any political ideology will depend on how much those who are elected will deliver on both the political and economic demands of the people.
Domestic investors were willing to engage but were restrained by political uncertainty, social unrest and volatile security. Trade, though resilient in the first half of the year, declined thereafter. External accounts deteriorated. Foreign reserves declined, though for policy purpose, they still seem to be at reasonable levels but not for a long time. And most of all, available fiscal space at the beginning of the revolution was depleted, and fiscal deficits start soaring again (around 5% in Tunisia and Morocco, 8 to 10% in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen).
private sector, will further compound an already challenging economic situation of countries in the middle of difficult political transition. Therefore economic recovery in most countries, especially Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan will be delayed. Once again, exports, tourism income, remittances,
and investment could be hard hit. The fiscal space will further shrink in a context of rising borrowing costs. This will seriously limit the capacity of the countries to deploy appropriate fiscal measures to stimulate growth and preempt economic recession at this very sensitive juncture. â€œI am afraid, the unbearable high levels of unemployment is posed to further aggravate. On another front, it seems to be clear that there is an issue of credible leadership with enough policy experience to assure private sector and who is able to stand up to popular demands and mobilise public and private sector capabilities to immediately start the implementation of a well designed development programme,â€? says Hedi.
We can debate the impact of the 2011 Arab Spring forever and under or overestimate the depth of its political transformation, but what happened in 2011 will have profound consequences for the future of the region, and beyond.
The prospects in 2012 remain very challenging if not worse than 2011. In addition to the huge pile of inherited political and economic problems, and those developed in 2011, the region will not be able to avoid the severe impact of the persistent global crisis, especially in Europe. Indeed, even under the best of assumptions, Europe is likely to see a shallow recession which will take many years to resolve and growth to recover. This will definitely affect the economies of the region for few years to come, especially North African countries, through the usual channels of trade, investments, tourism and remittances. In the absence of external financial support (which doesnâ€™t seem to be forthcoming in spite of the repeated promises of the G8), the combination of the euro crisis and the persistent social unrest and risk factors perceived by the
democracies, they will exert a tremendous influence on the internal politics of the region, by demonstrating successful alternative models to the autocracies and theocracies that have previously been the only choices on offer. Also, there are lessons to be learned from a country like Qatar that has maintained peace amongst all this turmoil by offering transparent leadership and promoting socio-economic issues, such as employment, education and health.
What lies ahead Two brief conclusions can be inferred from the above. Democracy will likely be an important moderating factor over time. But Arab people will also discover that they need to find a viable alternative that can address their economic and political woes. Therefore, these first free elections in the region are not the end of the transformation process, but only the beginning. If so, we should expect future elections to bring stability back to its real weight. After all, there should be a learning period during which, each country will develop its own culture, model and practice of democracy. It is too early to judge the ongoing political transformation process or to predict its final outcome. However, the observations made above and what has been achieved so far lead to think that the journey will be very difficult but it seems to have well begun. Indeed, some positive signs are worth noting. Post-revolution countries are well engaged in their democratic transition. New and solid political awareness is developing and has been reflected in free and fair elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.
There is the foundation of numerous political parties. Tunisia, where all this started, is offering a home-made blue print for managing a democratic transition process, which could inspire other Arab countries. People in Egypt, in spite of tremendous difficulties posed by the military and other counter revolutionary forces, continue to defend their attachment to freedom and democratic values.
We can debate the impact of the 2011 Arab Spring forever and under or overestimate the depth of its political transformation, but what happened in 2011 will have profound consequences for the future of the region, and beyond. The Middle East and North Africa will never be the same. The forces that have been unleashed are likely to continue driving regional politics for decades to come. The ongoing changes will also fundamentally alter the geopolitical map of the Middle East.
Tunisia, where all this started, is offering a home-made blue print for managing a democratic transition process, which could inspire other Arab countries.
Ultimately, Egypt will complete this first stage of transition and could offer another model. Libya, due to the lack of political and state institutions, will go through ups and downs, but will find its way with or without the help of its neighbor. Morocco offers a reasonable example of evolutionary reform which could inspire other monarchies of the region. If these countries eventually emerge as stable
About Hedi Larbi works for an international inter-governmental organisation. He is an expert on international economic and political issues. Hedi received his Baccalaureat in Mathematics from Bizerte College in Tunisia; a Masterâ€™s Degree in Civil Engineering and Management from Ecole des Mines de Paris, France; and an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School, USA.
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Economies of scale When workspace is at a premium and budgets are tight, small and midsized businesses can turn to Xerox Corporation’s new ultra compact printers and multifunction device for high quality, affordable, documents. Standing at just over 208 mm tall, nearly the size of a standard sheet of
paper, the Xerox Phaser 3010/3040 offers print speeds of 20 to 24 pages per minute (ppm). The WorkCentre 3045 multifunction printer (MFP) copies, scans, faxes, e-mails, and prints documents all in one and produces output at 24 ppm. The products are among the smallest devices in the market and are powered by Hi-Q LED print engines. The Hi-Q LED print engine makes the products quieter and more energy efficient than comparable products using laser technology. Adding extra productivity to the office, the WorkCentre 6015 color MFP is Xerox’s first Wi-Fi enabled device. The desktop MFP combines print, copy, scan, fax and digital workflow capabilities. With its compact size and wireless feature, it can be placed anywhere in the office, maximising space and convenience.
Getting smart The BlackBerry 7.1 OS incorporates a new feature called BlackBerry Tag that can change the way BlackBerry users share information and content. By simply tapping their NFC-enabled BlackBerry SmartPhone against another NFC-enabled BlackBerry SmartPhone, users can make sharing easier than ever. With BlackBerry 7.1, users can be productive from virtually anywhere. They can now turn their BlackBerry SmartPhone into a mobile hotspot that can be shared by up to 5 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptops and tablets. The 7.1 update also supports carrier implemented Wi-Fi calling services (UMA/GAN where available), allowing users to make Wi-Fi calls from their BlackBerry SmartPhone that don’t eat into their airtime minutes.
On the go! Cisco announced the launch of Cisco Connect Express, a mobile app that brings Cisco Connect software features to mobile devices. Cisco Connect Express is compatible with Linksys E-Series routers and X-Series modem routers and helps consumers control the basic functionalities of their wireless network. With the app, consumers can use their phone or tablet now to add devices to the wireless network, manage guest access, and change their Wi-Fi settings. The Cisco Connect
Express mobile app has been designed for iOS or Android devices and can be downloaded at no cost from the iTunes App Store and Android Market. Cisco will continue to include the Cisco Connect desktop software for Windows and Mac computers with Linksys products. The desktop version of Cisco Connect helps consumers set up their home wireless network in a few easy steps and can also be
used to customise wireless settings to match their preferences. Additionally, consumers can now use Cisco Connect Express for quick access to these settings and controlling their wireless settings anywhere in the home from mobile devices.
New generation graphics card
Stay connected The Acer Allegro is inspired by how people communicate and live in the most modern settings. With its unique user interface powered by Windows Phone, complete with Live Tiles, the Allegro makes it easier to connect and share with friends, family and colleagues. With the most recent version of Windows Phone, code-named Mango, Live Tiles are more interactive, enabling users to get real-time information without having to open them, by pinning them to the start screen. Handling documents, while being on the move is easy with the Allegro because integrated Office Mobile enables smart viewing, editing, sharing and syncing. The Allegro also excels at organisation with a calendar that syncs information from the phone, e-mail and Facebook, and notes important business and social events across all business and personal calendars.
Instant access to Marketplace is handy for trying, buying and searching for apps and games on the move. Marketplace features the hottest Xbox Live titles and add-ons for games, providing an avenue for socialising with your gaming friends, anytime, anywhere, all from your Allegro device. An Xbox Live avatar and profile are integrated into Windows Phoneâ€™s Games Hub to help keep track of scores and achievements as well as personalise the device to mirror your personality.
The ASUS HD 7970 uses a 28nm GPU for faster performance and lower energy consumption, together with 3GB GDDR5. ASUS improves it further via the exclusive GPU Tweak, featuring 2D/3D mode locking, voltage sync, auto driver/ BIOS updates, widget monitoring, and GPU-Z integration. GPU Tweakâ€™s multi-mode design offers users an intuitive over-clocking environment, where everyone from new users to seasoned enthusiasts can effortlessly tap better performance. The card uses PCI Express 3.0 with double the bandwidth of PCI Express 2.0, perfect for smooth multi-screen Eyefinity displays and advanced DirectX 11 implementation.
Keeping it simple NETGEAR announced the Middle East launch of two new products that have been designed to give Ethernet- enabled gaming and home entertainment devices quick and easy online connectivity to users home network. The Powerline 500 Nano and the N900 Video and Gaming WiFi Adapter offers ultra fast network performance for home theatre units and gaming consoles, allowing users a whole new experience in online gaming and entertainment. The new Powerline Nano 500 (XAVB5101) has been specifically developed for users who want a simple plug-and-play networking for a single device like TVâ€™s or
gaming console units. The unit instantly converts a standard electrical wall outlet into a high-speed network connection that easily accommodates the most demanding multimedia tasks.
high resolution entertainment from multimedia streaming sites like Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and Hulu to virtually any Ethernetenabled entertainment device in the home.
The N900 Video and Gaming 4-port WiFi Adapter enables consumers to connect up to four Ethernet-enabled devices at the fastest WiFi speeds available today. The adapter makes use of multiple wireless streams and dual-band technology to support multiple, simultaneous HD video streams in 1080p resolution and fast, lowlatency multiplayer gaming. Utilising the unit will allow users to wirelessly stream
I think, therefore I am
“Entrepreneurs are born and not bred” goes the saying. While there is some truth in this statement, after many years of working alongside business creators and sharing their individual journeys, Ian White, Director, Qatar Skills Academy, discusses that this is not the whole story and shares with us what really makes an entrepreneur.
ver time, I have noticed that enterprising people come in all shapes and sizes and from no particular place. They can burst suddenly onto the scene from relative obscurity, dominating the media and the stock traders’ tittle-tattle or they amass vast empires by working away diligently- carefully avoiding the limelight, more concerned with substance than style, value rather than their vanity. This raises the question of whether someone becomes an entrepreneur through choice and deliberate action, or are they simply fulfilling a destiny for which they have been fully equipped? Whatever the answer to that question might be the fact remains that our current global society likes entrepreneurs, wants more of them and is prepared to reward them. From post-communist Russia to reforming China; from Silicon Valley in California USA to Silicon Fen in Cambridge UK; and now in Qatar, entrepreneurs are encouraged and celebrated. The issue is, therefore, what should be done to create favourable conditions and by whom, to achieve the right outcome. There is some logic in the argument that the people who are destined to become successful entrepreneurs need no assistance. The fact that these people have conquered, where others have failed proves their capability. However, this quasi-Darwinian attitude of survival of the fittest might be too harsh for economies which are struggling for growth. Ignoring the talents of all but a few may be a waste of potential.
One aspect of entrepreneurship which has become accepted over the last decade is that entrepreneurs are not restricted to the commercial private sector. In what can be seen as a reaction against global business trends, “localisation” is creating thousands of social enterprises developed and run by individuals with social capital rather than a shareholder profit, as the driving motive. Entrepreneurs are exceptionally valuable in NGOs and employed “intrepreneurs” are recognised as key players working for a knowledge-based organisation. Is it therefore more pertinent to consider who an entrepreneur is, rather than what they do? In fact, until their occupation (or, more typically, multiple occupations) has been determined, referring to these individuals as enterprising people, gives one the freedom to focus on generic competences which define the person. It also helps us to avoid stereotypical portrayals or believe that all entrepreneurs are clones or aspirants of famous biographers. It is this examination of the “who” rather than the “what” which is the subject of Qatar Skills Academy’s “Understanding Enterprise”, a development programme running from the Bedaya Centre with the support of Qatar Development Bank and Silatech.
Identifying peronality traits An enterprising person demonstrates many different qualities, some even conflicting, which go on to determine a career path. One of the most important and guiding capabilities, is to possess a sufficient level of self-awareness to be able to control the use of one’s abilities and develop them according to the situation. This self-awareness is the line between confidence and determination or arrogance and delusion.
One aspect of entrepreneurship which has become accepted over the last decade is that entrepreneurs are not restricted to the commercial private sector. In what can be seen as a reaction against global business trends, “localisation” is creating thousands of social enterprises developed and run by individuals with social capital rather than a shareholder profit, as the driving motive.
I refer to risk here. Attitude to risk is often identified as one of the defining characteristics of an enterprising person. Entrepreneurs are frequently depicted as high-risk individuals. In reality, as Richard Branson said, they often never risk more than they can afford. Therefore, risk-aware is a more accurate definition.
An enterprising person’s perspective on a situation, either existing or potential, is hard-wired to his or her self image. Decision making is framed by this central locus of control, which is why progress is swift, non-followers are dropped and clarity of the end result is maintained. Articulation and description of the end result is a particular
In addition to the cerebral activity, enterprising people adore action. Achieving the first stage of action is often through the use of a closely knit group of trusted followers or supporters. The ability to discuss and present ideas is another essential skill of the enterprising person. Communication in all
Developing a strong sense of personal identity is critical to an enterprising person’s make-up. Identity can be formed through any combination of factors, such as family influence, national culture, religion, childhood upbringing and experience of education.
Developing a strong sense of personal identity is critical to an enterprising person’s make-up. Identity can be formed through any combination of factors, such as family influence, national culture, religion, childhood upbringing, and experience of education. If any of these inputs are overtly negative to the concept of enterprising behaviour, they are likely to leave a lasting impression. On the other hand, charismatic role models and a valuedriven lifestyle is likely to prove central to the inner compass of an individual and define their outlook to life situations. The ability to use and control one’s talents (and disguise or hide one’s limitations) is a skill acquired through observation and practice. Exposure to real situations, where control of one’s self is at issue, either as an observer or an active participant is essential in the learning process of an enterprising person. Enjoyment and satisfaction in the conscious ability to control one’s self-knowledge is the power that fuels the engine driving the enterprising person. It is partly this love of fluid situations and constantly developing scenarios which characterises the enterprising person as a lifelong learner.
as opportunities and rewards. The strength of the vision is what will ultimately determine the quality of the outcome.
forms, in all situations and in all contexts is usually something which an enterprising person relishes and handles personally. In cases where this task is delegated (because the self-awareness check recognises that this is a deficiency) the attention to detail and micro management of the messenger is often so over-powering that the flavour is lost. So even when convention may dictate that a person should not be a public face, the credibility they possess as the custodian of the idea should overrule everything. We must therefore approach the successful breeding of entrepreneurs as a combination of nature and nurture. After all, if everything was a certainty, life would be very boring. Ian White
About quality of most enterprising people. The dream which they possess becomes less of a figment of imagination, less of a conceptual idea and more of a reality each time it is verbalised, modelled, prototyped and presented. This ability to form a highly detailed vision of the intended outcome is another of the central qualities of the enterprising person. They will have delved deep into their subconscious to root the vision in a matrix of principles and values, as well
Ian White is a British entrepreneur and specialist in vocational education. His first business after university in the UK was in television production, a venture which earned him the ACE UK Entrepreneur of the Year award. During the mid ‘90s, Ian developed businesses in the vocational education and SME development sector whilst also working for the UK Government and the European Commission. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2002 for his work on enterprise education. Ian arrived in Doha in 2010 and created Qatar Skills Academy to meet the need for organisations to improve quality and productivity through investment in people.
Whatâ€™s on your mind?
Setting up and managing a business successfully is not as easy as it might seem. A few key steps need to be considered before we take off. In the first of a multi-part series, Bedaya Centre tells us how to develop an idea, which forms the foundation for a successful business. Basic elements of a business idea A good business idea is market driven and it comes from the needs and demands of the end users who could be individual consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B). Secondly, the market should be of sufficient size to satisfy the vision of the new startup. The question to as is - While there may be a niche in the market but is there a business in the niche? Entrepreneurs also need to know if they can develop the business idea alone or need to bring a team together.
Importance of personality traits The perennial question is whether entrepreneurs are born or nurtured. Increasingly there is a viewpoint that many people want to be entrepreneurs and that talent can be nurtured. Some recent examples include, the Entrepreneurship Postgraduate Certificate at Carnegie Mellon University in Education City in Qatar and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme run by Qatar Science & Technology Park. These are very practical programmes that take the participant through the complete business planning stage from securing the equity funding to launching the business. Lots of buzzwords are mentioned on the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. A sample include, hard working, risk-taker, able to multi task, customer focused, attention to detail, team builder, able to plan, takes the long term view and so forth.
Most entrepreneurs only have some of the characteristics often mentioned but fill in the gaps with the team they put together.
The perennial question is whether entrepreneurs are born or nurtured. Increasingly there is a viewpoint that many people want to be entrepreneurs and that talent can be nurtured.
Passion vs. profitability Passion is a great motivator, provided it is founded on logic. If the idea is feasible, entrepreneurs should follow their passion; it will carry them through the tough times. However, if the market is telling you that the idea is bad and no profit can be made, it may be time to listen and change tack.
• The marketing campaign is developed in-house by the manufacturer and lacks objectivity. • The product is untested by consumers and only the company can assert its benefits. • The Website is the primary place to order,
Passion is a great motivator, provided it is founded on logic. If the idea is feasible, entrepreneurs should follow their passion; it will carry them through the tough times. However, if the market is telling you that the idea is bad and no profit can be made, it may be time to listen and change tack. Risk assessment The market is an unforgiving arbitrator. The business idea must satisfy the needs of a customer. Many products fail to satisfy the market. Some reasons for failures include: • No market research on the product or the market has been done. • Most of the budget was used to create the product; little is left for launching, marketing, and selling it. • The product is interesting but lacks a precise market. • The product’s key differentiators and advantages are not easily articulated. The product defines a new category, so consumers or customers will need considerable education before it can be sold. • The sales force doesn’t believe in the product and isn’t committed to selling it. • Because the target audience is unclear, the marketing campaign is unfocused. • Distribution takes longer than expected and lags behind the launch. • Sales channels are not educated about the product and thus are slow to put it on shelves. • The product lacks formal independent testing to support claims.
but the product description is unclear and the site isn’t fully functional.
• Build your dream team with friends; you need people with specific talents to complement the team.
How to capitalise on 2022 No matter what your business is, there are opportunities for both SMEs and large enterprises because of the World Cup. Business owners should actively engage in research and brainstorm on the potential opportunities. Construction projects, related to the World Cup facilities, will present the major opportunities in terms of new stadia, infrastructure, and new hotels among others. However, there will be many service requirements in design, IT, hospitality and tourism, sport and other education services, to name just a few.
However, entrepreneurs should not be afraid of failure. If you study the biographies of many of the today’s most successful business heroes, you will find a personal story of failure and recovery. It is not important that you failed but what matters is how you pick yourself up and learn from the experience.
Startups may wish to diversify their service or product offerings after researching about the market opportunities leading up to 2022. Additionally smaller companies, with limited resources, might wish to partner with overseas vendors who might have specific expertise and greater financial muscle.
Dos and don’ts Dos
The population in Qatar is expected to rise from 1.7 million in 2012 to 2.1 million in 2022, which in itself presents additional opportunities. So what are we waiting for? let’s begin!
• • • • •
Put the customer first all the time. Listen to your customers. Conduct quality market research. Test the market before you fully launch. Involve potential customers at the early design phase. • Provide the maximum value consistent with the sales price.
Don’ts • Believe your own marketing PR. • Underestimate your customers. • Assume “ because I can make a better mouse trap, the market will agree”.
About The Bedaya Center is a partnership between Silatech and Qatar Development Bank. With the tag line “for entrepreneurship and career development” it has a prime focus to encourage young Arabs to set up their own businesses and look to the many opportunities presented by the World Cup 2022.
RULES OF THE GAME
In keeping with the goals enunciated in its National Vision 2030, Qatar has worked to shift its economic and developmental focus away from a reliance on oil and gas by promoting a policy of economic diversification. Emma Higham, Senior Associate, Corporate and Commercial, Clyde & Co, gives us an overview of the rules and regulations that a foreign investor should be familiar with when doing business in Qatar, which differ from the rules for GCC investors.
ecognising that the participation of foreign investors is an integral part of the successful realisation of this policy, Qatar continues to implement new legislation aimed at liberalising the business environment for such investors, and introducing incentives and exemptions that supplement the countryâ€™s already considerable investment appeal.
2. Which business medium?
The principal piece of legislation governing foreign investment into Qatar is the Foreign Investment Law. Other material legislation includes the Commercial Companies Law, the Ministerial Decision regarding the Organisation of Commercial Representative Offices, the Commercial Agencies Law, the Proxy Law and the Tax Law.
A foreign investor can chose between various business mediums, including Company, Branch, Commercial Agency, and Commercial Representative Office.
Company A foreign investor will usually apply to register a company with the Ministry of Business & Trade (MBT). The forms of corporate vehicle that are most likely to be of interest
Legal Sales Legal
to foreign investors are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Article 68 Companies, Single Shareholder or Person Companies.
An LLC To set up an LLC, a foreign investor has to fulfil the following conditions: A. must have minimum capital of QAR 200,000; B. must have at least 51% Qatari ownership unless an exemption is obtained; C. must have profit shares that do not necessarily have to reflect individual shareholdings; D. 10% of each financial year’s net profits must be kept within an LLC until the cumulative reserve stands at 50% of the share capital; E. may not raise capital by public
subscription or issue freely transferable shares or bonds; F. shares may only be transferred after they have first been offered to the other shareholders by way of pre-emption unless such rights are waived; and G. may not carry out banking or insurance business or provide investment services to third parties.
The Foreign Investment Law provides that a foreigner may own 100% of an Single Shareholder or Person Company (SPC) in one of a number of market sectors, being agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism, the development of natural resources, energy or mining, consultancy and technical services, information technology, culture, sport and recreation/ entertainment services and distribution services, subject to approval by the Minister of Business & Trade (Minister); such permission is not granted frequently.
Article 68 Company The characteristics include: A. formed between an investor, which may be foreign, and the Government or a company in which the Government holds shares in the share capital of a company; B. the non-Qatari investor’s share of the company can be greater than 51% subject to Council of Ministers’ approval; C. corporate structure is of a “Qatari Shareholding Company with Government Participation”; and D. falls outside the Foreign Investment Law and, to a certain extent, the Commercial Companies Law. Single Shareholder or Person Company (SPC) The Foreign Investment Law provides that a foreigner may own 100% of an Single Shareholder or Person Company (SPC) in one of a number of market sectors, being agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism, the development of natural resources, energy or mining, consultancy and technical services, information technology, culture, sport and recreation/ entertainment services and distribution services, subject to approval by the Minister of Business & Trade (Minister); such permission is not granted frequently. Characteristics include: A. a minimum capital of QR 200,000; the Ministry has indicated that it will prioritise SPC applications if the
share capital of the company is in excess of the minimum and where the company’s activities will add value to the Qatar market; and B. subject to the laws relating to LLCs.
Branch A Branch or a contracting division of a foreign company may be registered in Qatar at the discretion of the Minister. Branches are contract specific and registration will only be given for the duration of the contract. A special regime applies to the branches of foreign engineering consultancy firms.
Commercial Agency Instead of establishing a presence in Qatar, a foreigner can appoint a 100% Qatari entity or individual agent to market and sell goods within Qatar; any provision of services by that Qatari agent should be ancillary to such marketing and selling. Exclusive agencies must be registered and are governed by Qatari agency law. Under a registered agency, commission (up to 5%) is payable on all sales of the products within the territory even if the sales are not a result of the activities of the agent. It is difficult to terminate a registered agency. Compensation is payable upon the termination of the agency, including upon the expiry of a fixed term agency. Similar rules apply to arrangements which do not call themselves agencies, but which have the same effect.
Exclusive agencies must be registered and are governed by Qatari agency law. Under a registered agency, commission (up to 5%) is payable on all sales of the products within the territory even if the sales are not a result of the activities of the agent. It is difficult to terminate a registered agency.
5. Free zones Despite the enactment of a law in 2005 providing for the establishment of general Free Zones in Qatar there are currently no such zones. The Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) does have a special free zone status. The QSTP is a centre of research and commercial excellence for scientific development and regionally
Commercial Representative Office (CRO) CROs are “shop windows” which can ONLY be used to promote and introduce foreign businesses in and to Qatar. When a CRO is successful in attracting business, that business must be carried out either outside Qatar, or by a Company or Branch registered with the MBT to do business in Qatar.
3. Registration and other formalities Government Liaison Officer: All Qatari registered entities, as a matter of good practice, should appoint a government liaison officer or a facilitator to carry out the necessary registration formalities associated with establishment (a facilitator can also assist investors in obtaining business permits and licences after registration is complete). The steps set out below are a brief overview of what is required. Company Formation – The requirements to register a company and obtain a Commercial Registration (CR) are as follows: A. Articles of Association in Arabic which must be approved by Ministry and subsequently executed in front of a notary public at the Ministry; B. notarised, legalised and authenticated copies of the foreign investor’s constitutional documents; C. notarised, legalised and authenticated power of attorney from the foreign investor to its incorporation representative in Qatar (individual investors must be present in Qatar at execution and have a valid passport); D. letter from a bank indicating the deposit of share capital (in full) at that bank; and E. Qatar Chamber of Commerce Registration.
Once the company has been incorporated and the CR has been issued, the share capital can be released to the company’s general manager (or Directors) for the purposes of running the company. The following licences must then also be obtained: F. Trade Licence and Signage Licence issued by the appropriate Qatar Municipality (a lease contract for the office of the company will be required amongst other things); and G. Employer’s Immigration Department Identity Card issued by the Immigration Department.
produced intellectual property for both Qatari and foreign partners.
6. Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) The QFC Law established the QFC as an international business centre for financial services. The entities registered within the QFC may operate and trade without a local sponsor or service agent and are governed by the QFC rules and regulations.
7. Intellectual property Traditionally, intellectual property rights were not as well protected in Qatar as in more developed jurisdictions. However, Trademark and Copyright laws were
Branch Registration: The requirements to register a Branch and obtain a CR are similar to that of a Company, however a copy of the contract on which the Branch registration will be based and authorisation from the Minister to register a Branch will also be required.
4. Corporate income tax The Tax Law provides that any income attributable to foreign investors (unless a specific exemption has been granted or an entity has been registered in the Qatar Science & Technology Park) are taxed at a flat rate of 10%; this will include corporate dividends paid to foreign investors and all the contract income received by a Branch. Where services are provided in Qatar by a foreign individual or entity which cannot demonstrate that it has a permanent place of establishment in Qatar, a Qatari registered entity or Qatari national must withhold 5% or 7% (the percentage will depend on the services provided) of any payments made for those services.
enacted in 2002, followed by the Design Law in 2005 and a Patent Law in 2006.
Note: All Qatari Laws (save for those issued by, for example, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to regulate its own business) are issued in Arabic and there are no official translations, therefore for the purposes of drafting this article we have used our own translations and interpreted the same in the context of Qatari regulation and current market practice.
About Emma Higham is a corporate and commercial lawyer with over nine years experience. Having been based in Qatar for nearly seven years, Emma incorporates her extensive knowledge of the local law when advising both local and international clients. She advises on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including local establishment by way of joint venture, banking and finance and providing regulatory advice in relation to the establishment of businesses in the Qatar Financial Centre. Emma joined Clyde & Co in October 2007, having previously worked for another international law firm for six years, both in London and Qatar. Prior to that Emma worked for Price Waterhouse for eight years in both audit and corporate recovery.
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Ensuring food security With rising population and changing consumer habits, food security is one of the most important issues facing the Gulf countries. Dr. Ashraf Mahate, international trade and business expert, talks to us about how the region can deal with this situation.
ulf countries currently import approximately 65% of their food requirement, amounting to USD 25.8 billion (2010 data) or 3% of the total regional GDP. It is predicted that this trend will continue and food imports will rise to USD 36.3 billion in 2015 and USD 53.1 billion by 2020. The fear that Gulf countries may not be able to feed their population has resulted in them pursuing a number of different strategies, most notably the purchase of land banks in various friendly countries in Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, building strategic stock piles and enhancing domestic production, where possible through subsidies or investment in new farming techniques. More formally food security implies â€œaccess to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active lifeâ€? (Definition adopted by the 1996 World Food Summit). Such a broad definition embodies three key factors, namely the availability, access, and utilisation of food. In the case of food availability, the definition assumes that sufficient quantities need to be available on a consistent basis either through reserve stockpiles, trade or even aid. Second, access to food assumes that people should be able to acquire it in sufficient
quantities either through purchase, domestic production, barter or even aid. Third, the utilisation of food assumes that it needs to have a beneficial nutritional value and as such it needs to have appropriate cooking, hygiene, storage and sanitation facilities. So far the governments in each of the Gulf countries have pursued the various food security strategies without any real involvement from the private sector. This is despite the fact that the private sector is many times larger than the public sector and has the ability to contribute to the achievement of national goals. Of course, unlike the public sector, which seeks to enhance social welfare private businesses are motivated by potential profits of a project or venture. In this regard, the private sector can play a pivotal role in enhancing government efforts in the area of food security. Private businesses have the potential to carry out sustained long term investments in agriculture, as well as food production and storage. The private sector also owns and manages a vast amount of knowledge and intellectual property, some of which can be used in the area of food security. More importantly, global food security poses challenges which are complex and interconnected, therefore, the private sector with its established resources and experience is more able to innovate than the public sector.
In order to effectively deal with the challenges posed by the food security problem there needs to be strong partnerships between public institutions and the private sector. There is a growing global realisation that governmental institutions need to work with the private sector. This realisation also comes about due to the need for governments to become more efficient and effective through the removal of duplicative activities. At the same time the public-private partnerships seek to scale up the activities of the private sector. In doing so these partnerships seek to work on one or at best a few large projects or initiatives, whereby all the partners can utilise their strengths, instead of the government using its cheque book to solve a problem that may not be sustainable. These partnerships need to allow for the sharing of resources, risks, and of course benefits. In this manner the partnerships become more than an avenue for raising low cost finance. More structured partnerships tend to include those involved in knowledge centres such as, universities and research institutions, farmers or even owners of land along with businesses in food production and storage as well as firms in the logistics and retailing sector. In this manner the public-private partnerships seeks to incorporate all the participants in the value chain or at least as many as is possible, for the initiative to achieve its desired outcome. The coming together of these different groups is underpinned by the common benefits that arise from the synergies of the partnership. Typical examples of the common benefits are a reduction in costs and risks entailed in research as well as the provision of direction towards market driven relevancy of research; the bringing together of complementary abilities, skills, and resources and hence improved competencies and the ability to
Private businesses have the potential to carry out sustained long-term investments in agriculture, as well as food production and storage. is generally considered to be the rate that satisfies all the parties. A totally equitable ratio would be where each party receives the same rate of increase on their investment (cost). Various examples have shown that public private partnerships have the ability to harness the experience and strength of small and medium size enterprises. However, for this partnership to take place and for the development of the SME sector to happen,
allow small scale firms (SMEs) to access knowledge and technologies which they would not otherwise have the ability to exploit.
governments need to create an enabling environment. The key aspect of the enabling environment is the incentives that are made available to SMEs to harness their experience and ability to advance the cause of food security.
In order to effectively deal with the challenges posed by the food security problem there need to be strong partnerships between public institutions and the private sector.
The coming together of public and private participants also allows for divergent interests of both sectors to converge. For instance, a new invention or technological breakthrough may improve yields for small scale producers (which are typically the case in the UAE) with minimal usage of water. This in turn will generate higher profits for the food storage and processing industry. At the same time it allows for the knowledge centre to immediately commercialise research and bring it to the marketplace. Therefore, public-private partnerships are formed and maintained as long as all the participants believe that benefits will be
accrued. This may be the case even though the participants may have different goals or objectives. The ideal situation for such a partnership is where the benefits are positive and proportional to the cost incurred by each party. Although, there is no golden rule as to what may be considered proportional, it
In the first instance, governments need to reform laws and policies that guide business activity as well as to incorporate SMEs into the public private partnership framework. Second, governments need to build investor confidence through investment in infrastructure and the support of research and development centres. The establishment of research and development centres will allow for the private sector, especially SMEs to innovate and market the inventions and ideas that are developed. Third, the private sector and in particular SMEs need to be encouraged to enter the agriculture, food storage and production industries so as to ensure the future security of the countryâ€™s food supplies and to capitalise on the huge reservoir of unused potential especially within the SME sector.
Dr. Ashraf Mahate
About Dr. Ashraf Mahate is an expert in international trade and business and an experienced consultant with over 20 years experiences both within the GCC and Europe. During this period Dr Mahate has assisted various small and medium sized companies to effectively penetrate foreign markets. Dr. Mahate has been a past director of a number of companies including a venture capital company and a private equity fund. Dr Mahate has also worked with governmental organisations in the region in developing a national export strategy, free trade agreements, export support and facilitation programmes and practical export training. Dr Mahate carries out his consultancy activities through Bayswater Consulting a company specializing in assisting the SME sector. Dr Mahate received his doctorate from Cass Business School in the UK, which was ranked 10th best in the world. Dr Mahate is a member of the Chartered Institute of Managers (UK) and a Member of the Institute of Commercial Management (UK). Dr Mahate is also a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). Dr. Mahate can be contacted via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Know your destination QDB launched Qatar Export Development Agency – TASDEER, to boost foreign trade and to globally promote Qatari-made goods and products. We provide access to finance, credit insurance and advisory services for exporters, and to support businesses to develop their export capabilities through development and promotion. By protecting national exporters against the non-payment risk from the foreign buyers that might occur due to either political or commercial events, TASDEER supports the growth of Qatar’s exports.
• Export/Import trends: The exporter should utilise publications and contact organisations to analyse the trends in international trade of a particular product. Research the demand; research the distributors; research a good purchase price and selling price - research to prevent any mistakes in your business. • Supply base: A steady supply base is essential. You need to ensure that the product can be supplied on time and in a certain quantity. • Manufacturing capacity: Inability of the exporter to deliver the product, due to limited production capacity, can spoil the exporting firm’s reputation and image. Therefore it is important to know the production capacity in the short and long term. • Product adaptability: To ensure the success of a product in domestic and foreign markets, it is necessary to adapt the product to meet export market needs. The exporting firm should determine if the product requires a change in colour, size, taste, packaging and so forth.
The agency also offers pre-shipment and post-shipment risk cover to protect the exporter against the loss of production costs.
The workshop was attended by 46 representatives from 43 export oriented companies across diverse product categories.
However, before shipping, exporters need to do due diligence to determine if the chosen product will fare well in the target market before they decide to ship the products across. Selection of the right export commodity is crucial for success in the export business and depends on number of factors. These factors are:
asdeer conducted a workshop on Export Market Analysis Tools, which focused on enabling participants on export related aspects, such as: assessment of country market or product portfolios , diversification opportunities, assessment of competition, and assessment of trade potential of target countries.
• Target markets: The product should not only have a stable but rising demand in the target market. It is necessary to determine this demand through continuous demographic and market research to understand what the future demand will be like and how will the exporter cater to it. • Servicing facility: If the exported product requires after-sales service, the exporter will have to either open a servicing centre abroad or find an agent who can provide this service. • Trade restrictions: Products selected for export should be exportable by the Qatari
To determine if a market is safe and compatible with the product you intend to export, a market factor assessment must be conducted. The goal of a market analysis is to determine the attractiveness of a market both now and in the future. export regulations. Qatar is member of the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) but it is not a party to the Paris Convention for Protection of Intellectual Property, protection of trademarks, copyright and patents are largely dependent on Qatar’s own national laws and regulations
Market Factor Assessment To determine if a market is safe and compatible with the product you intend to export, a market factor assessment must be conducted. The goal of a market analysis is to determine the attractiveness of a market, both now and in the future. Organisations evaluate the future attractiveness of a market by gaining an understanding of evolving opportunities and threats as they relate to that organisation’s own strengths and weaknesses. Organisations use the findings to guide the investment decisions they make to advance their success. The findings of a market analysis may motivate an organisation to change various aspects of its investment strategy.
consider the following factors: • Population size, growth, density • Age distribution • Urban and rural distribution • Climate and weather variations • Shipping distance • Physical distribution and communication network • Regional and local transportation facilities Second, the exporter needs to look at the political environment to ensure that there is a stable government in place and if they are signatories or members of international trade organisations. While analysing the political environment, the following factors should be looked at: • System of government • Government involvement in business • Attitudes toward foreign business trade • Political stability and continuity • Fair/free trade mind-set • National trade development priorities
The Market Factor Assessment provides a complete breakdown of the factors. The exporter should rate each prospective country based on the market condition scale of 1 (poor) – 5 (excellent). The exporter should then tally the results of the researched data collected in order to identify the target markets.
Third and one of the most important aspects is the economic environment, which includes: • Overall level of development • Economic growth • Import and export percentage of total economy • Balance of payments • Currency: inflation rate, availability, controls, stability • Per capita income and distribution • Disposable income and expenditure patterns
First, the exporter should look at the demographic and physical environment and
Once you have decided to focus on exporting, take time to consider social and
cultural factors in the foreign country. These factors can be : • Literacy rate, educational level • Existence of middle class • Similarities and differences in relation to home market • Language barriers It is important to find out how tradefriendly are the rules and laws of the importing country. This means looking at: • Adequate distribution network • Documentation and import regulations • Local standards, practices, and other nontariff barriers • Patent, trademark, copyright protection • Adequate dispute resolution mechanisms • Tax laws, rates Changes in the market are important because they often are the source of new opportunities and threats. Moreover, they have the potential to dramatically affect the market size.It helps to know the potential of the product based on : • Customer needs and desires • Local production, imports, consumption • Exposure to and acceptance of product • Attitudes toward products of foreign origin • Competition With the advent of globalisation, borders are fast disappearing and as goods and services move across countries, it is important to take a moment to think about all the factors mentioned above. As mentioned earlier, due diligence on these factors is imperative to ensure that you are exporting the right product to the right market.
recruit your way to success Bayt.com was established to provide a link between job seekers and employers in the Middle East by
leveraging the Internet to provide free access to employment opportunities. The motivation that powers Rabea and Bayt.com is an obsession to empower others to lead better lives, by creating technologies that will help people lead the lives that they want for themselves. Private Sector Qatar talks to Rabea Ataya, CEO, Bayt.com to know more about the Internet-based recruitment company’s best practices. What is your management philosophy and vision? Bayt.com›s management philosophy and vision revolve around leadership and empowerment. At Bayt.com, we believe that most effective leaders in the world history are those who: • Are admired and respected by their peers and juniors. • Lead from the front and are not hidden away in ivory towers far away from the action. • Form strong personal relations with their team that transcend just a working relationship. • Are supportive and respectful.
Every Bayt.com employee is actively required to be a leader as well as to empower others. We do this by ensuring that our corporate culture preaches respect, and allows the freedom to act independently within a framework. People, planning, perseverance and passion are the four basic Ps of a successful business. This is what we believe in. We are here not to make quick money, but to build a successful business that we are passionate about. Bayt.com has 227 employees in 12 different countries. 73% of the workforce is Arab, and 27% is non-Arab and we have 15 different nationalities.
What is innovative about your approach and what are your most notable achievements? At Bayt.com, we are constantly striving for innovations that anticipate and meet the needs of both job seekers and employers. Our teams work very hard to ensure relevancy, above all else, and that requires a lot of innovation. Our goal is to ensure that job seekers have relevant job recommendations, have access to relevant career development resources, and have the ability to create CVs and cover letters that are relevant to the jobs they seek.
One of Bayt.com’s key strengths as a sustainable business has been its flexibility and ability and willingness to recognise, anticipate and adapt to change readily and in an optimal fashion.
During the past 11 years, we have innovated a lot to achieve relevancy. Some of our innovations are technological; our proprietary industry-leading CV search tool, for example, has very intricate algorithms that were custom designed by highly specialised teams at Bayt.com. Other technical innovations include Bayt.com Salaries, Bayt. com Career Watch, Bayt.com People and Bayt.com Classifieds. Some innovations are related to services; Bayt.com’s Career Services team for instance, helps job seekers on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure they are maximising their professional branding and career planning. What challenges have you faced along the way and how did you deal with them? The story of Bayt.com’s success has been a story of hard work, commitment, persistence and an unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation and integrity. When Bayt.com was founded in 2000, the main two challenges were the very limited internet penetration in the Middle East at the time and also the task of very speedily educating our various stakeholders about unique features and huge unparalleled benefits of online recruitment we were introducing in the region. How has the company fared during the period of economic slowdown? Did you have to change your approach in the past two-three years? One of Bayt.com’s key strengths as a sustainable business has been its flexibility and ability and willingness to recognise, anticipate and adapt to change readily and in an optimal fashion. We recognised early on that the economic slowdown would actually only further consolidate our leadership position across the region as a heightened emphasis on sourcing only
the very best human capital, coupled with drastically shrunken HR budgets and an increased attention to maximising HR ROI in sophisticated corporations across the industry spectrum. We have used the period of slower economic growth to build stronger, more endearing and more creative relationships with our clients, to increase their loyalty, and to increase and diversify our product offering further to take advantage of new opportunities to deliver value.
(26%), computer science (22%) or business management (20%). Similarly, when it comes to experience, Qatar employers seek candidates with managerial skills (43%) and computer skills (26%). Meanwhile, the ability to communicate effectively in English and Arabic (60%) as well as team player abilities (49%), are traits that are highly desirable by employers in Qatar. The survey also revealed that Qatar is rated as the most attractive country in the region with 49% of professionals saying it is much more attractive than other countries in the region; UAE came second, while KSA came in third. As for the industries that are attracting or retaining top talent in Qatar, construction ranked first (52%), followed by oil, gas and petrochemicals (43%).
Speaking of industries, Bayt.com’s Top Industries Survey [December, 2011] showed that the oil, gas and petrochemicals industry is considered to be the most appealing industry in Qatar, for it offers the best pay (63%), best benefits (49%), best work-life balance (44%) and best opportunities for career growth (55%). What is your opinion about the job market in Qatar? Which sectors do you think are going to offer more job opportunities in the near future? Qatar is one of the main job markets that Bayt.com caters to. With over 2,600 vacancies in Qatar advertised on Bayt.com in 2011 and more than 3,500 registered Qatari professionals, we are successfully bringing together Qatari job seekers and employers in an efficient and userfriendly environment. In fact, a job posting in Qatar that is advertised on Bayt.com receives an average number of 622 applications. In terms of the employment conditions in Qatar, Bayt.com’s latest Job Index survey [October, 2011] revealed that 63% of Qatar companies are planning to hire in 2012. The same survey also provided insights into what employers look for in candidates in Qatar. In terms of education, the most demanded qualifications are engineering
Speaking of industries, Bayt.com’s Top Industries Survey [December, 2011] showed that the oil, gas and petrochemicals industry is considered to be the most appealing industry in Qatar, for it offers the best pay (63%), best benefits (49%), best work-life balance (44%) and best opportunities for career growth (55%). This industry also seems to be retaining the best talent in Qatar, is currently hiring the most, and is most popular for both local talent and expats. As for the industry that is most popular amongst women in Qatar, education and academia ranked first (17%), while government and civil service positions seemed more popular amongst fresh graduates (15%). The industry that is perceived to have downsized the most in Qatar is construction. As far as the public sector is concerned, 46% of professionals in Qatar favor the government as an employer.
What are the salient features of your HR policies and training for staff? A very important aspect of success is constant training, and Bayt.com is well aware of that. We have a STARS Training methodology that is applied company wide. In STARS, employees undergo periodic training related to: 1. Systems: The understanding of our internal and external software processes. 2. Techniques: The systematic procedure by which a task is accomplished. 3. Activities: Measurable amount of work performed in converting inputs to outputs. 4. Role-Plays: Acting out actions in a simulated situation. 5. Stories: A true account of a client interaction where a lesson learned was applied towards a successful outcome. Aside from the STARS system, all employees are encouraged to participate in external trainings and seminars, for which we cover the costs. We also have the Speaker Programme, where leading individuals come to our offices on a monthly basis to talk about topics that are interesting, like innovation through moviemaking and the psychology of change.
Branded career channels have allowed leading organisations across the MENA to tap into Bayt.com’s green platforms to eliminate inefficiencies associated with the traditional recruitment process.
Are your processes eco-friendly? Green processes are at the heart of all our activities at Bayt.com. Here are just a few of the ways green thinking is the very core of our business operations: • Online recruitment has meant paper CVs, paper files and physical letters and filing cabinets and storage space associated with the recruitment process are both unnecessary and inefficient. Video CVs have also meant less of a carbon footprint associated with the screening process and less inefficiencies and waste. • Branded career channels have allowed leading organisations across the MENA to tap into Bayt.com’s green platforms to eliminate inefficiencies associated with the traditional recruitment process. • Virtual job and education fairs have also greatly elevated the green ethos in the region by eliminating the need to create expensive venues. • We have eliminated our sales collateral in favour of online presentations and live tutorials which are more targeted, more engaging and more eco-friendly. Are there any CSR initiatives undertaken by your firm? We have had many CSR initiatives over the past 11 years, as they are a part of our identity as a company. These include – sponsoring orphans from all over the world on behalf of each and every employee with a long serving history with us, donating a fixed percentage of revenue to charities, offering free job postings, university outreach programmes and road shows. What are your plans for the next five years? We have huge plans for the next five years. Bayt.com will continue to deliver on its
longstanding commitment to the region to deliver the indisputable best recruitment technologies, tools, services, insights and local customer support available in the region today and also the greatest amount of recruitment choice for both talent and employers. We expect our leadership margins to be widened significantly further as several key initiatives we have only soft launched this year including Bayt.com Salaries, Bayt. com Communities,Bayt.com Career Watch and Bayt.com People become more formally entrenched in the regional recruitment landscape. At the same time we will continue to launch new products and iterations and grow our professional communities.
About Rabea founded and continues to serve as the CEO of Bayt.com. The company was launched in June 2000 to address the massive unemployment issue in the Middle East by leveraging the Internet to give job seekers free access to employment opportunities in a region that has historically had limitations on the flow of both information and people. Today Bayt.com, serves over 6.5 million registered professionals and over 30,000 employers in the region and helps both parties match opportunity and talent quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. In his role as the CEO, Rabea has recruited the executive team, has raised several rounds of venture capital and private funding and has led strategy, direction and implementation. Rabea is also the recipient of the Middle Eastern E-Entrepreneur Award given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for his outstanding contributions to the region’s knowledge economy. In 2010, Rabea co-founded GoNabit.com, the first group buying site in the Middle East. He successfully built the organisation and sold it to LivingSocial, a leading global player in the field, within one year of founding.
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good bad ugly At a time when a handful of accounts can mean the difference between make or break, many sales companies are pushing the boundaries to seal the deal. But in doing so some are committing cardinal sales sins, says Jennifer Baxavanis, Managing Partner, BAX Consulting.
am going to share a story about Karim, Vice President of sales at a well known occupational health and safety company, and of the good, the bad and the ugly, which transpired from his sales tactics.
The story Karim was anxious to meet up with me to share some of his latest sales successes. He told me, “Jennifer, you are not going to believe this, but we have taken 54% of the market from our competitors in two months. You have to share these lessons with others.”
Karim has many qualities of an effective sales person; confident, switched on, empathetic, carries himself well, and adaptable to any environment and any person. “Shoot,” I said. “I had to do something! My sales team has spent the last few months just sitting around, so I decided to create a multiple day field trip to show them how it is done. I piled the three of them in the car with me, and told them our objective- ‘we are taking the market away from x and y.’ I informed them that they are to breathe sales. For these days, they are either in a sales meeting, or in the car, on the phone
Karim could have applied a “positive tension” by promising an added service if the contract was closed on the same day. Also, cornering a prospective buyer to sign a contract will not bring repeat business.
fixing up the next meeting. Once, we even stormed into the customer’s office, introduced me as the VP of sales, talked to them, stuck the contract in their faces and made them sign.” I interrupted, “Interesting. What was the dialogue between you and the prospective buyer? Did you ask questions or talk about the company?” Karim carried on, “No, I tell my sales persons not to ask too many questions. I have taught them to tell the customers what they need to know and to ask if the buyers have any questions. If the buyers reply that they have no questions, then we pass them the contract and say ‘Great, sign here.’ Of course, we had to find out who their contract was with, how much they were paying and when the contract expired. Then, I told them that they were overpaying and they could sign now for the ‘real’ price and take what they were paying down by about 20%.” “Did they sign?” I asked. “Jennifer, we stayed in their office until they signed, and a lot of them did. They could not get rid of us,” Karim added. “Is your company offering something different or better? How did you convert them,” I asked. “Well, they liked the fact that I came, because it shows energy and persistence. Jen, they were not used to their supplier coming to their office, and they liked the lower price. We have nothing more to offer them, as our service is the same as our competitors. There is not that much room for customisation,” Karim continued. “Some of them felt loyalty towards their supplier and some of them were angry at their supplier, so we made sure we pushed the angry ones to convert, using a lower price.”
“Wow, so it worked for all of them?” I asked excitedly. “With some of them it did, and with others it didn’t. Our competitors figured out what we were doing and sent out renewal forms with even lower prices to the customers we had already seen and also to the customers we had not seen yet. They thought they were going to outsmart us. So, do you know what we did? When we came back the second time to their customer, we took off another 20% just to make sure the customer saw that their current supplier was still deceiving them.” “Wow Karim, that is quite aggressive. How did the customer react?” I was so intrigued by these methodologies.
The good Take control: Karim abandoned the reliance of “relationship based” selling and took the bull by the horns. He did well in going to see the prospective buyer, provoking a pattern change.
Form an objective per sales call: Karim and his sales force formed an objective as per sales call. The objective did not include their service presentation or get to know the customer. “I told them our objective – we are taking the market away from others.”
Train your team: Karim took it upon himself to go into the field with his team to show them how his sales process works. On-the-job training is the most effective way to increase learning retention.
Use authority: The prospects felt flattered that the company’s VP of sales took the time to see them. Karim used his authority to influence the buyer’s perspective of his sales effort.
Cutting prices devalues your product. It is more effective to show how your price equals the value you are promising. Karim should have asked the buyer what he was looking for in health and safety services and then matched that with his service offering and price.
“Some of them liked it and some of them felt suspicious, but we stayed until we obtained an answer. We even followed one guy to his car to sign, and he asked us to leave him alone,” Karim added. I couldn’t believe it, so I asked, “Do you think that customers will stay with you for a long time? Do you think these are the best methodologies?”
Determine the budget and timeline: Karim made it a point to find out the time and budget parameters to qualify the prospect.
Be persistent: Karim attempted to close a contract at the first contact meeting. His urgency pushed the customer into a buying decision.
The good, the bad and the ugly Karim did apply many effective selling approaches, but he and his team made some lethal mistakes. He committed the good, the bad and the ugly of sales.
The bad and the ugly Don’t be pushy: In the same way that 1 we applaud Karim for being persistent, there are instances where Karim pushed too hard and the customer resisted by becoming uneasy. Karim could have applied a “positive tension” by promising an added service if the contract were to be closed on the same day. Also, cornering a prospective buyer to sign a contract will not bring repeat business. Don’t cut your price: Karim cut prices because he could not show the value his service offers compared to his competitors. Cutting prices devalues your product. It is more effective to show how your price equals the value you are promising. Karim should have asked the buyer what he was looking for and then matched that with his service offering and price. The prospects, in this way, feels like they are buying what they want or need and the sales team can achieve its objective.
Don’t forget that the customer is the expert: Karim neglected to find out what the customer really wanted or needed. “I tell my sales persons to not ask too many questions.” He was not successful in some of his sales because the buying decision became based on a price war. He assumed that he knew what the client wanted and chose to attract and convert them based on price. Easy come, easy go. Some of the prospects went back to their current suppliers and played the same game back.
selling and seeing customers face-to-face. • Learn how to resolve the price vs. value objectiona. Before the meeting, make sure your pricing is competitive. Ask yourself: Is my service or pricing similar to my competitors? If the answer is “no”, ask yourself if you are offering a bespoke service that makes it more expensive or a simpler service that makes it less expensive. b. In your sales meetings, ask the prospect what they are looking for in your service and compare it to the fees you are charging. • Always remember that the customer is the expert – The more you find out about your customers’ drivers, needs, and objectives, the more you can match those with your service offering and use the information as product development research. Deals are closed when your service offering matches your prospects’ needs, budgets and timing.
Don’t cut prices more than once: If cutting prices the first time is “the bad”, then cutting the price a second time is definitely “the ugly”. In reducing your fees, you are no longer only devaluating your service but you are also devaluating your industry across the market. Karim should have matched the quality of his services or brand with the prices and stuck by them.
Always remember that the customer is the expert: The more you find out about your customers’ drivers, needs, and objectives, the more you can match those with your service offering and use the information as product development research.
What does this mean for your business? In looking at Karim’s experiences in sales, we can learn some lessons for SMEs that are managing a sales team of 1-20 sales persons. Here are some tips: • Don’t hire or fire your sales team – Empower and capacitate them with sales process training, in the classroom or on-the-job. • Offer incentive schemes – Keep them
About Jennifer Baxavanis is the Managing Partner of BAX Consulting LLC, which is a sales and training consultancy that helps clients increase their top line. The services are mainly based around sales approach and sales process. BAX Consulting is registered in the USA and in the UAE, with international clients. It is currently specialising in security, occupational health and safety, media, healthcare, and oil/gas sectors. For more information about BAX Consulting visit www.baxllc.com .
Partnership opportunities Private Sector (Al Kitaa Al Khass) is an Arabic and English magazine, presented and supported by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and published by CPI. It is aimed at business owners and senior executives in the private sector in Qatar. Armed with practical advice, it highlights key issues for the business community. The driving force for regional economies is the private sector – a catalyst for growth, development and job creation. With the world’s spotlight on Qatar’s development activities and the buzz being created around 2022, this sector is going to grow by leaps and bounds. That’s great news if you’re targeting the private sector, which spans across almost all industry verticals, but the problem you face is identifying the most dynamic and competitive companies amongst a sea of competitors. A key answer for the past half decade has been CPI’s UAE-based magazine SME Advisor Middle East, which has delivered valuable business information to leading SMEs across the region, helping them develop their businesses, putting them in touch with valued partners and fuelling growth even in a stalled global economy.
Now, with the support of QDB as our presenting partner, we have launched the same business values, tailor-made for Qatar in the form of the brand Private Sector. This will encompass magazine, events, online and several other initiatives to drive Qatari entrepreneurship and the private sector. This is your chance! This is a market you cannot afford to miss. This is a market that you can reach in an intelligent, focused way, working with the expert team that brought you SME Advisor Middle East and has now launched Private Sector magazine in Qatar.
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The importance of being flexible Every business, no matter how global or local, relies on
communication to get things done. Yet only a small percentage of companies actually invest in teaching their employees how to communicate. Leaders are particularly vulnerable to being criticised for misunderstanding communication subtleties and for inadequate presentation of their ideas. Stephan Melchior, Managing Partner, Wilson Learning Middle East, shares some pointers on the ability to see and understand different perspectives.
hen leaders learn the dynamics of communication and acquire the skill of versatility to get their messages across to different personalities, the effectiveness and productivity of everybody in the team rises.
organisations, high levels of versatility create higher revenues, greater market share, and better client relationships.
What is versatility?
Recent research shows that versatility is one of the most important skills for creating a high-performance organisation. It influences all the interactions that occur within organisations, and between an organisation and its customers
In any business relationship there are two primary sources of tension-task tension and relationship tension. Task tension is useful; it motivates work. It is the need to solve a problem or reach a decision. Relationship tension is not useful as it is the result of lack of information or miscommunication and causes discomfort in a relationship, leading to business inefficiencies.
Leaders with high versatility have employees who exhibit greater work satisfaction and higher performance. Versatility improves global relationships. A study of over 150,000 people from 20 different countries showed that organisations with higher levels of versatility had more effective relationships with global partners. In sales
When time and energy are directed toward relationship tension, less energy is available to address the task tension. That is, the more effort people have to put into the relationship because of different communication styles, preferences, or expectations, the less effort goes toward accomplishing the business objective.
In any business relationship there are two primary sources of tension – task tension and relationship tension. Task tension is useful; it motivates work. It is the need to solve a problem or reach a decision. Relationship tension is not useful as it is the result of lack of information or miscommunication and causes discomfort in a relationship, leading to business inefficiencies.
How to be more versatile? A person’s style tends to be very stable over time. In contrast, versatility is a skill that you can learn and improve. Versatility is the ability to temporarily adapt one’s behaviour in order to reduce relationship tension and to make interactions with others more productive. In a recent study, Wilson Learning interviewed leaders and their employees about effective leadership. The results show that leaders need to pay attention to a number of factors to increase their versatility. So what defines a good leader? You may think you know what makes a good leader, but you are looking from the perspective
of your own style. Different styles focus on different characteristics to define a good leader. While all styles agree that good leaders give clear objectives and the autonomy to carry them out, there are important differences.
• Drivers value a leader with a direct approach; be prepared with desired outcomes and timelines. • Expressives want a leader who is open and trusting, and shows empathy for
the employee loses the ability to use his or her personal discretion. • Expressives do not like leaders who are closed-minded, who see only one way to approach an issue and are closed to discussing other options. • For Amiables, not expressing personal concern and interest in employees is one of the most common weaknesses in a leader. • Analyticals dislike leaders who provide too much or too little information. Analyticals don’t what to be told irrelevant things, but also dislike information gaps.
To be an effective leader, you need to be aware of the styles of your employees and how they perceive effective leadership. For example, an analytical leader, who does not express empathy and openly share feelings, may not be seen as a good leader by everyone.
others’ feelings; be prepared with a big-picture vision of what you want accomplished. • Amiables want a leader who shows confidence in them; be prepared with how you will trust them. • Analyticals value a leader who is knowledgeable about the business and shares information freely; be prepared with specific goals and resources for getting the job done. To be an effective leader, you need to be aware of the styles of your employees and how they perceive effective leadership. For example, an Analytical leader, who does not express empathy and openly shares feelings, may not be seen as a good leader by everyone. What are leaders’ greatest weaknesses? While all employees expressed that micro-managing is a common weakness, each style described specific characteristics that they also consider weaknesses in a leader. • Drivers dislike leaders who give too much or too little direction. Too little makes the task vague; too much and
An effective leader needs to match the amount of information, direction, and expression of concern to the style of individual employees. How do leaders support employees? All employees need support from their leaders and all agreed that receiving advice and removing organisational barriers is critical, but the specific support employees need and expect varies by their style. • Give advice to Drivers, but do not do the task for them directly. Drivers need the freedom to solve problems themselves and they resent direct intervention. • Expressives need a sounding board; someone who is open to discussion and is non-judgmental. They want a leader who supports and backs up their idea. • Amiables want a leader who acts as a guide; who points them down the right path, expresses confidence in their choice, and suggests small corrections along the way. • Analyticals value clear and full acceptance of their decisions and direct feedback, when they go off track.
Effective leaders provide support based on their employees’ preferences. and are aware of their own tendencies and vary the kind of support they provide. When are employees ready for more responsibility? One of the greatest mistakes leaders make is not recognising when employees are ready to step up to new challenges and greater responsibility. Leaders often make assumptions about when employees are ready, based on their own style. • Driver and Analytical leaders tend to think employees are ready for more responsibility when employees repeatedly exceed expectations on current tasks. They often give high performers more responsibility without checking to see if the employee agrees that he or she is ready. • Expressive and Amiable leaders rely on employees to tell them that they are ready for additional responsibilities. Thus, employees who perform well and ask for more responsibility are more likely to get promotions and advancement than those who just perform well.
Dare to be different Effective communication is critical, both for the success of the organisation and the success and satisfaction of employees. The most common reason people give for leaving a job is poor communication with their manager. The most common reason customers leave suppliers is, poor communication with the sales force. And the most common reason global negotiations fail
A person’s style tends to be very stable over time. In contrast, versatility is a skill that you can learn and improve. Versatility is the ability to temporarily adapt one’s behaviours in order to reduce relationship tension to make interactions with others more productive.
Leaders need to involve employees in this decision. Analytical employees may repeatedly exceed expectations and expect a promotion, but will not receive it because their Expressive leader is waiting for them to ask for more responsibility. As a result, that leader may lose a high performer.
is the lack of sensitivity to global diversity. While versatility is a skill that can be learned, it is also a reflection of a leader’s values and principles. Less versatile leaders take the perspective that others must adapt to them, that it is “my way or no way.” They surround themselves with people who think the same, act
the same, and communicate in the same way. In contrast, highly-versatile leaders embrace diversity in all its forms – they surround themselves with people who are different; who bring different perspectives, different ideas, and different ways of expressing themselves. Versatile leaders use this diversity to grow their organisations and themselves. Versatility is critical to effective leadership performance and it will help leaders to practice it in their organisations.
About Stephan Melchior has been working in the learning and development field for more than 15 years; designing and delivering training programmes in more than 20 countries. He is well known for the graphic facilitation approach he uses in his courses. Today, Stephan is Managing Partner at the Middle East office of Wilson Learning Worldwide, based in Dubai Knowledge Village. As a global organisation, Wilson Learning is the founder of the Performance and Fulfillment concept, and was rated among the Top 20 Leadership and Sales Training companies in 2010 and 2011 (www.trainingindustry.com). Wilson Learning Middle East was also recently ranked among the TOP100 SMEs in Dubai. Wilson Learning Middle East can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Playing two moves ahead
With customer attention shifting from traditional billboards and yellow pages to new digital media, such as search engines, social networks and mobile applications, businesses must adapt so that they can continue to provide value and remain relevant, says Abbas Alidina, Founder and Director of Logicks.com.
ow much time do you spend on Facebook, Google or YouTube every day? How often do you drift into e-mail trance while using your SmartPhone? It’s quite remarkable when we think about how much things have changed over the past decade because of these technologies, which are now an integral part of our daily lives.
Getting started with digital marketing Many businesses make the mistake of diving head first into developing a Website, opening social media accounts, or, creating mobile applications for their business without any coherent digital strategies. This juncture actually represents an opportunity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What are your intentions? How do you aim to
improve the customer experience? What will differentiate you from competitors?
Plan for success Failing to plan is planning to fail. Identify which business goals you aim to achieve with your online presence. For instance; • Increase the number of inquiries received. • Boost sales. • Build a community of enthusiasts around your brand. • Decrease the volume of inbound customer support calls. These objectives should be captured as early as possible. Gaining clarity on your business goals from the onset will help you to remain focused on driving customers towards your desired outcomes as they interact with your brand.
Research your industry Before launching a digital marketing campaign, it is critical to determine whether or not a market actually exists for your products or services online. Ask yourself; • Where do your customers “hang out” online? • What languages do they speak? • What other interests do they have? Investing significant time and money on digital marketing, only to realise that your targeted audience is elsewhere can be demoralising to your business.
Internet penetration by country in the Middle East Bahrain Iran Iraq Jordan Kuwait Lebanon Oman Palastine Qatar Saudi Arabia Syria United Arab Emirates Yemen
At a macro level, the level of Internet penetration across the Middle East varies drastically by country. The overall Internet penetration across the Middle East region is an average of 28.5%, so each country is at a different level of online maturity. This should be taken into consideration when developing your digital marketing strategy.
Understand consumer behaviour If you can understand your audience, you are better positioned to reach them effectively. The Internet is a rich data repository. Digging deeper into this information minefield in a structured way will help you to learn about your customers. Here are two free tools to help you get started: Google trends: This valuable tool illustrates how often people have searched Google for specific search-terms over time. You can also filter the results by region, city and language. By entering search terms related to your products and services, you can gauge the level of online activity that is relevant to your business.
Twitter search: Whereas performing a Google search will return the ten most authoritative Websites on specific keywords, performing a Twitter search will return the ten most recent Tweets containing your keywords. You can start monitoring conversations and find out what your customers and prospects are talking about.
The beauty of the Internet is that it represents the ability to study and organise behaviour, sentiment, perception, activity, impressions and experiences, and thatâ€™s remarkable when we actually stop to think about it.
through as they experience your brand. For a moment, take off your marketing hat and start thinking like a customer. Develop your digital marketing strategy based on the entire customer experience.
The customer engagement cycle
Ask yourself what customers require at each stage of the customer engagement cycle with respect to your specific industry.
The customer engagement cycle illustrates the stages that customers and prospects pass
Customer Engagement Cycle
There are a number of additional free and paid tools available online that will help you to study your market from varying perspectives. Every business should at least begin to experiment with these tools and see how they can learn from the data.
Customers have not previously heard of your brand, products or services. You need to make a good first, second and third impression so that they consider you when they are further along the engagement cycle.
Customers are looking for information so that they can research and compare between competitors and offerings. Communicate your value proposition to them and build up confidence in your brand so that they will purchase from you.
Customers are busy people and want to make the purchase in a way that is convenient for them. Be as flexible as possible and make it simple and straightforward for them to make the purchase.
Customers want to purchase from brands that will provide good service and support. Make sure to support them with any issues, questions or complaints they may have.
Customers like to be appreciated and rewarded for the business they are providing you. Offer recognition and incentives for loyal customers.
Customers who are happy with the experience they encounter with your brand are likely to recommend you to their peers. Empower them with the ability to easily spread the word on behalf of your business.
Each of these stages represents the opportunity to form a deeper relationship with your customers. The customer engagement cycle is a chain and you are only as strong as your weakest link. Any breakage along the chain means that you are losing customers as they pass through it.
Industry insights We are witnessing a rapid rate of growth in digital marketing spending across the globe. According to research conducted by Econsultancy (http://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-ofdigital-in-mena), it was found that 58% of
By gaining clarity on your business goals from the onset, it will help you to remain focused on driving customers towards your desired outcomes as they interact with your brand. Budget and allocate resources wisely Spending the majority of your digital marketing budget to develop a flashy Website with all the bells and whistles is not the most effective way to connect with customers online. Even if you have the most beautiful Website around, if customers are not visiting it then you might as well be offline. Whether you are performing the digital marketing activities in-house or outsourcing to an agency, it is critical to ensure that you have an experienced team who has demonstrated the ability to get the job done. While it is quite inexpensive or even free to establish a presence on the majority of online platforms, such as Google or Facebook, time and resources do carry fixed costs. The results that you can achieve through digital marketing are directly related to the level of commitment that you are willing to invest in it.
companies in the Middle East & North Africa are increasing their digital marketing budgets this year compared to a 43% increase in overall marketing budgets. Furthermore, companies who
Take off your marketing hat and start thinking like a customer. Develop your digital marketing strategy based on the entire customer experience.
are increasing their digital marketing budgets are doing so by an average of 28%. Businesses have realised that customer attention is not only scarce, but also scattered. There is an oversupply of platforms, especially in the digital world. Customers are focused on search engines, social networks, e-mail and mobile phones amongst others. Businesses must adapt to these changes in consumer behaviour and participate in the places where customer attention is focused.
About Abbas Alidina is the Founder & Director of Logicks.com, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses across the Middle East to improve their online performance. With more than ten years of digital marketing experience, he has developed strategies and executed projects for numerous global and regional brands. For more information please visit http://www.logicks.com or follow Abbas on Twitter @AbbasAlidina.
Protecting your mobile devices Andy Cordial, Managing Director, Origin Storage, explains why mobile computing users need to raise their security game if they are to avoid a series of SmartPhone and tablet computer-driven data breaches.
hile the range and variety of IT security defences for portable devices is excellent, and able to cater for all budgets and types of user, it should be apparent to any security observer that the same cannot be said for SmartPhones and tablet computers. With 45 million iPads already having been sold, and with the prospect of Android tablets and BlackBerry tablets also selling in their millions, it’s clear that IT security professionals working within companies of all sizes have a security problem on their hands. With most business using one or more mobile devices with a variety of e-mail, documents and contact details in their memory, it is clear that SmartPhones and tablet computers should be afforded the same levels of security and protection as the laptops and netbooks in circulation. And the line between portable computers and mobile devices, such as SmartPhones
and tablets is becoming blurred. The question facing the hard-pressed IT security manager is, how in the face of a paucity of tablet and SmartPhone-specific security offerings, and a general apathy amongst corporate users, to get the mobile security focus back on track? According to a report from the CNCCS-Spain’s National Cybersecurity Advisory Council, a general lack of security awareness amongst mobile users and their carelessness are the two main risk factors for SmartPhones in business. The research recommends that users should take all necessary precautions when opening e-mail messages, SMS attachments or clicking links.
41% of IT professionals are carrying sensitive information on their SmartPhones. Against a backdrop of 19% of respondents revealing their employers had suffered a breach, as a result of a portable device going missing, and more than half of those respondents revealing that the portable device was not encrypted, it is clear that something has to be done. What was interesting about the results of the survey was, that 70% of organisations had made data encryption mandatory in their businesses, suggesting that many users of portable devices are breaking their own firm’s security policy rules in their day-to-day business.
Users should also be wary of any files, links or numbers received from unsolicited e-mail or SMS messages, and avoid using untrusted WiFi networks.
This apathy also perhaps explains the fact that 37% of respondents admitted that between four-fifths and all of their sensitive data stored on their portable devices was unprotected.
The CNCCS report confirms many of the findings of Origin Storage’s survey of IT security professionals, the survey pointed out that
It’s interesting to note that this proves the case that we are not just dealing with a few files copied to a portable device in a hurry here,
The question facing the hard-pressed IT security manager is how, in the face of a paucity of tablet and SmartPhone-specific security offerings, and a general apathy amongst corporate users to get the mobile security focus back on track?
perhaps by an employee who is late for an off-site meeting. This is a failing in corporate security policies and their implementation. So what is the solution to the general apathy surrounding the use of portable devices, and especially Internet-connected devices such as tablet computers and SmartPhones? User education, while desirable, plainly isn’t working, as most corporate users of technology are probably aware of the security risks posed by their laptop computer.
and for the affected company’s reputation and share price to take a consequential battering, before something’s done. There is nothing like a share price dip of 8 to 10 % to focus the attentions of a CEO and CFO, and to pressure the IT manager into deploying sound security solutions and practices to stop an incident from ever happening again. The irony of this situation will not go unnoticed amongst those IT professionals, who are reading these words and whose experience dates back to the 1990s, when desktop and laptop security was in a similar evolutionary stage as mobile security is today.
Here at Origin Storage we have been doing our bit as well, with a one terabyte version of our data locker secure encrypted hard drive selling well since it was launched at the tail end of 2009. And in the spring of last year, when we released a range of encrypted hard drive kits allowing computer users to install a drive in their desktop and laptop machines. This drive will encrypt data on-the-fly, and migrate their data from the old drive at the same time. The process will, however, take time. Changing portable device user security behaviour is a task similar to steering an giant oil tanker. All changes of course need to be planned some way in advance, but once executed can be relied up on to take effect over a period of time.
According to a report from the CNCCS, Spain’s National Cybersecurity Advisory Council, a general lack of security awareness amongst mobile users and their general carelessness are the two main risk factors for SmartPhones in business.
And, as any mobile user will attest, security is rarely on the agenda of the dealers and cellular networks, that are busy promoting and selling their handsets plus mobile phone contracts. It’s a non-starter. It’s against this backdrop that we are left with the stark reality that it will probably take a series of major corporate blunders involving sensitive data lost, as the result of a lapse of security in a tablet computer or SmartPhone,
And while today we have regulatory influences, such as the Data Protection Act and the PCI DSS rules applying to any business that stores personally identifiable information card transactions, the fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office has only rarely prosecuted an organisation for a breach of the DPA, means that the stick approach will not work. So what about the carrot approach? That too, sadly, is probably doomed to failure, so we are left with the need for governance and the tapping of hardware plus software resources to help enforce best practice in the mobile security arena.
About Andy Cordial is the Managing Director of Origin Storage. He started his computer industry career in 1987 working for tape manufacturer Everex Systems. He then moved into computer distribution in 1989 and set-up his first computer company XL Distribution. XL merged with Datrontech in 1992 where he worked in their management team. Andy saw Datrontech through flotation on LSE then left to start Upgrade Options plc in 1996. He went on and sold Upgrade Options (MBO) in 2003 and invested in Origin Storage Ltd. Andy helped build Origin Storage to a GBP 5.2 million business and saw it enter the Times Fast track 100. He now owns 100% shareholding of Origin after successful purchase of his partner in 2009.
Seal the deal You have just a few seconds to make that first impression and you get only one shot at it. This month, Guillaume Mariole from Ignite Fitness & Wellness shows that, with a little thought and preparation, you can make some smart choices. Meeting and greeting
Dressed for success – female executives
Remember that your goal when you first meet someone is to put them at ease and make them want to do business with you. • Stand up to greet them, so you can show you respect them. • Smile; facial expressions convey more than words. • Always establish eye contact to show you are focussed, but remember, the idea is not to stare them down. • Offer a firm handshake. If in doubt about the appropriateness of this form of greeting, like when meeting someone from the Middle East, wait for them to offer to shake hands first. • Pay attention to names; if you repeat the name as soon as you have heard it, you will be more likely to remember it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than not being able to recollect the name of someone you’ve just struck a deal with! Quick tip; Place their business card strategically on the table in front of you during the meeting.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so the “picture” you first present says much about you. Ask yourself whether your appearance is saying the right thing to help create a favourable first impression. • Respect the local culture and general good sense, and don’t wear anything revealing. • Avoid wearing strong perfumes or smelling of smoke. • Maintain neat and clean hands and nails with regular manicures. Try and keep it professional and save the psychedelic nail paint for a non-work party. • Keep your make up and hairstyle simple and appropriate. • Keep your accessories conservative, classic and business-like. This is not the time to unleash your inner disco queen!
Entertaining business associates • T able manners say a lot about a person, so it’s crucial to get them right. • The golden rule when faced with a mass of cutlery is to work from the outside in. • Don’t order messy food that is difficult to eat. • Hail your waiter/waitress by making eye contact and discreetly waving your hand. • Before sitting at the table, wait for your host to sit first or for instructions to sit. • At a networking event, hold your drink in your left hand to keep your right hand dry and available for handshakes. • No matter how much you want to speak, never talk with your mouth full.
Dressed for success – male executives Appropriate grooming not only helps you make a good first impression, but also helps you feel “the part”, which will help you be more confident. • Err on the side of caution; it’s better to be slightly formal than too casual. • Ensure you wear a well-fitted suit. We are spoilt for choice these days, but it’s always better to invest in a few high-quality suits than many cheap knock offs. • Ties should command respect, not give the onlookers a migraine. Take the time to master the art of tying the perfect knot and never wear novelty ties – unless you’re in the media, advertising or showbiz. • Keep your hairstyles short and neat, and any facial hair trimmed – unless you’re in the professions I just mentioned. It’s not fair how
some people can get away with protocol murder! • When choosing a bag, nothing beats leather, be it a formal briefcase, a trendy messenger bag or a handheld portfolio. Invest in a good cut and finish. • Avoid jewellery and opt for a bit of subtle bling with some stylish cufflinks.
How to impress • Be on time; try to arrive for engagements a few minutes early and plan for traffic delays. • Be yourself; a calm and confident demeanour will help others feel at ease. • Small talk goes a long way; learn about a person before meeting them so you can easily start a conversation and keep it flowing. • Be positive; your attitude shows through in everything you do. • Be courteous, attentive and polite at all times. Many of these tips are simple and obvious, yet are all too often overlooked. You have one chance to make an impression, so make it count!
About Guillaume Mariole is the Managing Director of Ignite Fitness & Wellness. For more information, visit www.ignite-wellness.com, or e-mail email@example.com.
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