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Sun 15 Mar 2015 04:53 PM

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Chaira asks: What are the first steps on an entrepreneurial path?

Dear Badr, I have started researching the idea to set up a new SME in Dubai providing business services to individuals and companies, government relations, legal translation, HR/Admin support, etc. Can you give me some bullet points for me to consider? I come for a corporate background and this would be my first entrepreneurial activity, so I am keen to know what are your views and advice? With best regards, Chahira

Dear Chahira,


That’s a question I believe every would-be entrepreneur asks themselves at the start of the seemingly overwhelming journey.


With a mountain of tasks to complete, documents to prepare, and research to conduct before opening a new business, you can very easily get bogged down trying to cross-off things that are not contributing much to your end-goal of getting the business going. Therefore, and in general, it is critically important to take your time to plan comprehensively and, more importantly, prioritize correctly.


I’m of the school of thought that entrepreneurship can be learnt just like any other skill. If this is your first foray into the world of entrepreneurship, it is always good to browse through some relevant articles online and even books on the subject. A good book I would recommend is “The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf.


If there’s one piece of advice I would give a new service industry entrepreneur such as yourself, it’s to focus on your customer. Test your product/service with your customers as often as possible and at every step of the way.


This might seem like a trivial thing to do, but you’d be surprised how many people get so emotionally attached to their business and are so convinced about its flawlessness that they forget to do the simplest thing… getting feedback from the market.


That doesn’t mean getting feedback from one or two or even five customers. This is about getting feedback from dozens, if not hundreds of customers, at EVERY STEP of the way. Do this over and over again, and be very open to pivoting along the way.


Enjoy the journey,