Experience Shared: Good to Know When Doing Business in the Middle East...

Aki Seeck works as Senior Advisor at Aalto EE. He explores business opportunities for Aalto EE in the Middle East.

Aki Seeck, 06.02.2013

He has previously taught tactics at the National Defence University and promoted Finnish exports in Qatar.

Don't be too eager.

For example, if a potential partner from Qatar contacts them, the company should not immediately order flight tickets to Doha or send off dozens of product samples. This gives Arabs the impression of unprofessionality - the company is acting too hastily. One should take time to do some research first to see if there is a market for their product.

Be prepared for interruptions.

The company should be aware that business negotiations can end abruptly. The potential partner may have found a better product and does not feel an obligation to explain this to the prospective partner. Offset agreements can be another reason for the negotiations to hit the rocks.

Hire an agent.

For example, companies that sell kitchens and bathrooms, saunas, garden tiles and home alarm systems could form a consortium and hire an agent who works in one of the countries or in the region. The agent represents the companies, researchers in the market, becomes familiar with the culture, networks with stakeholders and potential partners and helps set the priorities. It may turn out that just one of the companies in the consortium can penetrate the market while the others will have to bide their time and wait their turn.

PROFILE MAGAZINE 1/2013 page 6


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