Exterior factors

22 02 2009

There have been many factors beyond my control which made running my business difficult. Here are some factors.

Sponsor – my sponsor was a busy man and he postponed signing papers in court for more than three months – both license and labor causing many problems and giving head start to my competitor.

Supplier – Third cause was the supplier was erratic , delayed my shipments, missed some items, bad customer services, I designed some special items to unveil during 32nd Emirates National day, just a week before when it was suppoed to reach the port of Dubai I found my shipment has been lying in this warehouse for more than two weeks and they didn’t bother to return my calls or e-mails.

Employee – many employees here love to change jobs and there is a reason there is 3 year visa rule, it took me 25 interviews to get 2 sales ladies and it was disappointing to have labor ministry reject their visas as they were women (I later came to know first visas in a company can’t be given to a woman).  The bureaucratic process here is appalling and I finally got answer why Dubai is devoid and lacks fresh new innovative business ideas.

Mall -Different Malls in Dubai have different demographics, I knew my product has been a big hit in Europe and North America but was untested here. I tried getting into Mall of Emirates and City Center but they had the most ridiculous pricing (Dhs 30,000 per month for kiosk with 6 months rent upfront along with 25% security deposit!). I finally got into Dubai Festival City. I later learned the mall was charging different rents to vendors though my kiosk representative was professional, the director of the mall was the most unprofessional person I have met. I got to know the demographics of the mall was not tuned into my product on top of that they were charging about Dhs 24,000 – Dhs 20,000 for kiosk. In kiosk business you are either in or burn out very fast.

Competitor – This is the most interesting part. My rival opened his stall 2 months before me and was starting to slash his prices then I came into the scene. The thing with the the product I sold was it mainly depended on the sales person’s script and sales tactics which I learned my quantifying the results . My competitor when he found out about me , he aggressively expanded to different malls by forming partnerships with people who had kiosks in malls. My strategy was to test the product, master the sales tactics, develop a brand, get to know the demographics of people buying, test the results if they were satisfactory then expand. One thing I didn’t know malls like Jumeirah Souk and Dubai mall had was exclusive availability where kiosk selling similar items couldn’t be set up. He won in this strategy , I met my competitor on February and learned a lot about his tactics. I found out he was manufacturing the product and was planning to set up factor in Jebel Ali. I was buying at high price from U.S and shipping it here. In long run I couldn’t have matched the price.

-Seasonal product – I found my product was seasonal and unless I was positioned in a tourist mall I couldn’t have good sales during other non-festive months in the mall I was.

Plug Pulled

After analysis of above factors I pulled the plug of my business which was still in profit and my estimate was right as my rival had sales problems in many of his branches which he countered by releasing customized local versions which wasn’t possible for me as my supplier refused making religious symbols.

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