Kuwait's Holistic Development And Consulting Helps Entrepreneurs Understand Risk Management
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
Launched in 2016, Holistic Development & Consulting was founded by Abdulrahman Al-Duaij and Abdulaziz Al-Houqal when they noticed that there’s an opportunity gap between SMEs and advisory firms from a risk management perspective. The duo -who are both Managing Partners- has a combined 20 years of experience as risk managers in Kuwait Finance House, wherein, daily, they met entrepreneurs with ideas that required direction and guidance when dealing with market exposure and volatility. They witnessed that most of the defaulted businesses have common issues that revolve around weak financial management, bad quality of data and limited know-how in managing liquidity which resulted to massive default. “We realized the help that entrepreneurs needed was not accessible to startups,” says Al-Duaij. “We believed with our experience and academic backgrounds, we can make a difference.”
Since its launch, the co-founders say that the consulting firm has received positive feedback- clients say that their business performance has improved following their recommendations and advice, prompting clients to recommend their offerings to others. “We are very proud of the culture we are spreading with regards to knowing your business, knowing the risks, and always being one step ahead to manage and mitigate them,” says Al-Houqal. The company has also gained a few accolades: they’re recognized as a Silver Partner in Xero, a New Zealand-based accounting software, secured an exclusive collaboration with Boubyan Bank for their services in financial advisory and financial control, as well as being invited to speak in one of Kuwait’s radio station, Marina FM, to answer questions from entrepreneurs on the air.
For their business model, the duo explains that their business starts with providing the proper accounting framework, followed by finding ways to enhance their business performance using their offerings. Their profit model is inspired by the main three steps of a risk management cycle, which they describe as: “Identification phase (setting up accounting framework), measurement and assessment phase (through financial analysis), and mitigation phase (risk management techniques).” After the team understand the client’s financial framework, their next step is financial analysis and accounting advisory. With most SMEs exposed to risk, the co-founders say their risk management and business restructuring help business mitigate those risks and redeem themselves in the market. As entrepreneurs themselves, their services changes over time by understanding what the entrepreneur needs better. “We aim to stay ahead and create services that we believe entrepreneurs will be seeking in the future.”
As for what’s next, the startup plan to continuously grow and expand their business- one of which includes building relationships with affiliates to help them grow in terms of market share and increase credibility. They’re also looking for ways to grow the right team, as well as find ways to fill the market gap further between SMEs and financial institutions. “We aim to create a change and build a generation full of successful entrepreneurs that are aware of the importance of risk management and how investment decisions should be assessed,” says Al-Houqal.
Excerpts from a conversation with co-founders and Managing Partner Abdulrahman Al-Duaij and Abdulaziz Al-Houqal:
What has been the most negative feedback on your services, and how did you go about tackling it?
As entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand how difficult it is to ask for help and how scared you might be to choose the wrong source of help to support your endeavors in business. With that being said, some of our negative feedback came from entrepreneurs who were hesitant at first to follow our recommendations.
We cope with this negative feedback by taking it one step at a time with our clients and build their trust in us. We worked on making them feel comfortable to open up to us and ask for our advice. We do not see ourselves as their financial advisory but their partner in success.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
Before turning your idea to a business there are few questions an entrepreneur should consider such as: is the idea feasibly? Do you have the right capital fund? What is the needed accounting framework for my business, how can I manage the business liquidity? How many employees do you need you have a strategic business plan?
There will always be hidden obstacles an entrepreneur missed if he/she did not consider all aspects of a business. The first step we recommend business owners take is to conduct a feasibility study. A feasibility study aims to objectively uncover the strengths and weaknesses of any business, opportunities and threats in the natural environment, the resources required and ultimately the prospects for success.
Lastly, what are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
We are extremely lucky to be a part of a country that invests so much in SMEs. SMEs in Kuwait have great opportunity and potential to create and develop an innovative idea. Kuwait’s Vision 2035 focuses on developing entrepreneurs and finding ways to reduce the pressure on the government. Kuwaiti businesses are now expanding around the GCC and are recognized worldwide.
Our advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to focus on building themselves before their business. Self-development helps improve skills, helps you set career goals, boosts your confidence and most importantly, you will learn more about yourself.