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Five Notes For Businesses Wanting To Break Into The GCC Market Here's a look into a journey that has led me to have four successful teams across the GCC, with a total of 32 employees.

By Matt Roberts

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


As the Managing Director of UNOX MENA, I have been spearheading the enterprise's expansion into new markets in the GCC and beyond, and that has allowed me to have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power of strategic insights, adaptability, and cultural sensitivity for business growth. Here's a look into how this journey has led me to have four successful teams across the GCC, with a total of 32 employees- I hope that it can serve as a guide for emerging leaders venturing into new territories as well:

1. THOROUGH MARKET RESEARCH IS NON-NEGOTIABLE A new market demands a deep grasp of local dynamics, regulations, and cultural subtleties. This foundational knowledge informs not just strategies, but also forges connections with local enterprises. Thorough research also guided us before choosing to position team members in Dubai, Riyadh, and Doha. We took the time to look at the cities, find out what would work for our customers there, and tailor our offerings. This is reflected on a wide scale according to the nuances of our offices in the Middle East, India, and Africa. Adapting to local preferences is the key to sustained growth.

Related: Infographic: Analyzing Dubai's Attractiveness For Startup Growth

2. BUILD AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS Genuine ties with local stakeholders lay the groundwork. Fostering connections grounded in cultural respect becomes the bedrock for penetrating a market. Remember that strong relationships bridge the gap between the brand and the market. Embracing local customs is not just a business tactic, but it rather builds the trust needed for enduring success.

3. ADAPTABILITY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME Adapting to local tastes and needs is crucial. A product or strategy tailored to the specific demands of the market resonates better. Innovation involves listening to the market to begin with- find the gap in the market, and be the solution. Adapting our solutions to unique regional needs keeps us competitive.

Related: An Entrepreneurial State of Mind

4. THE POWER OF CULTURAL HARMONY Fostering an inclusive environment within a multicultural team fosters understanding and trust. Diverse perspectives fuel innovation and enrich customer experiences. Our team's strength lies in diversity- effective research, cross-cultural training, local partnerships, and a well-defined market entry strategy are a few of the tactics I followed to address these obstacles, and thereby ensure a successful expansion in the GCC. Celebrating different viewpoints also drives creativity for exceptional customer interactions.

5. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES IN NEW MARKETS New territories pose unique challenges- diverse cultures, varying communication styles, language barriers, and new regulations. Collaborating with local experts, and crafting precise strategies eases entry. Find out the laws, and hire the right people to advise you to make the right decisions. This is where your network comes into play. Plus, when working with multicultural teams in new markets, it is necessary to be culturally sensitive and inclusive. Keeping the nuances of cultural differences to foster a transparent work environment is crucial. In the GCC, local collaborations eased complexities. This approach smoothed our market entry journey, and it will continue to do so into the future.

When it comes to expansion, UNOX MENA's journey emphasizes holistic research, cultural sensitivity, and adaptive strategies. Whether it's the Middle East or any unexplored market, embracing diversity, both in team and approach, becomes the compass to sustained success.

Related: More Than Just A Moral Compass: The Power Of Ethical Business Practices

Armed with nearly 15 years of experience in the food service manufacturing industry, Matt Roberts is the Managing Director of UNOX MENA. Founded in 1990 in the Italian city of Padua, UNOX designs, manufactures and markets professional ovens for the catering, retail, pastry, and bakery sectors. UNOX creates smart technology applied to the professional cooking processes to support people and businesses who face the challenge of building their own success every day.


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