The new scheme will boost SMEs’ business activities and pave way for economic diversity. Image Credit: Rawpixel on Unsplash

Financing, one of the most important elements for a successful business, is due to change course in the months to come. Non-bank or alternative lending options in the UAE should see an exponential rise, offering entrepreneurs an opportunity to quicker — and secured — funds.

Given that around 80 per cent of small business loan applications are rejected, non-bank lending sources are due for a surge this year. One of the fastest-growing varieties of alternative finance schemes is peer-to-peer lending. In recent years, this new form of lending has skyrocketed.

While entrepreneurs will have easier access to finance, it is imperative they focus on industry trends to stay ahead. It is believed that the business model through subscriptions will keep growing.

Subscription-based businesses have seen revenues grow at 5.5 times faster than their counterparts, because subscribers place three times more orders than do customers at non-subscription companies. As such, entrepreneurs dealing in beauty, apparel, food and lifestyle products can expect growth if they integrate subscriptions into their existing operating model.

If not, the methodology should certainly be implemented to reap the best results.

Recent years have also seen the sharing and collaborative culture attain newer heights. Entrepreneurs can expect the trend to continue. The culture refers to a business model based on collaborative consumption, or peer-to-peer sharing. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are perfect examples of successful businesses using the model.

The UAE business space can also expect the prevalence of “solopreneurs”, who rely on contractors and freelancers rather than maintaining a consistent workforce. Because of the flexibility this model offers, small business owners are increasingly turning to as-needed workers instead of hiring full-time.

This marks the beginning to a new start, and entrepreneurs who don’t follow this model should be vigilant on the rise of such solopreneurs to stay alive and kicking in the ecosystem.

Entrepreneurs should understand that a business, be it any industry, will be governed by customers’ preferences. In a hyper-competitive economy where consumers are the decision-makers as well as sales agents, entrepreneurs can expect the role of customers to deepen further.

It is imperative brands focus on emotional experiences and use interactive engagement to contribute … and not just to their bottom line.

Overall, there is reason to be optimistic about this year. Head forth, all those entrepreneurs out there.

Vic Bageria is CEO of Xpandretail and Chairman of Entrepreneurs Organisation.