Telling the truth about SME life today

The secret to winning business in Dubai

Dubai is a young, technology-hungry city which is the perfect match for our integrated security systems. We dont just guard against break-ins and cyber attacks on data and sensitive information, we use technology which works with a customers own systems and services.

Our systems are advanced enough to recognise when any employee goes in or out of a building and prevent tailgating. In the case of a fire, the human resources department, for example, can give an accurate list to the fire services. 

We also save on energy costs, as our technology can turn on the heating and lighting as and when necessary, depending on how many people are inside and where they are. Clients can save up to a third of their costs this way.

To work in Dubai, I had to find a local partner. That meant an Emirati who was prepared to support the business, and put Direct Security Integration in front of the right people to make the right connections. In return, the Emirati owns 51% of the company in Dubai.

Doing business in Dubai is a process. You have to look at it in the long term. We know that what we do fits with the aspirations of a growing city. When we first started working there, there was little infrastructure in terms of the technology we use. It meant we could work together to come up with the most innovative solutions without having to somehow manage what was there before.

I believe that you have to have a partner to do business in Dubai, but dont just go with the first person you meet or who approaches you. It is so important to make sure you fit.

See other people, work out if the business model works for you and take your time.
I am often asked about local customs, how do I approach business people in Dubai, what do I do, what do I say  

I am a Dartford lad. My business is based in Dartford. Before I started my own business I had never been to Dubai. My advice is simple. If you go into someone elses home, treat them with respect for their customs and their culture. Doing business in Dubai is about building relationships and the better the foundations, the longer they will last.

Chris Percy is the CEO of the innovative technology security company Direct Security Integration (DSI).

Related: Local knowledge is key to success in the middle east

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