Being an entrepreneur in the UAE is easier than assumed. Entrepreneurs just need a little common sense, forward-thinking approach and a holistic view. Here’s a checklist to help start a business in the right way:
1. Get a licence
Do not perform any commercial activity without a licence. Identify the correct type of licence and the structure required for the intended business activity, ensuring that shareholders’ liability is limited under all circumstances, in case of a limited liability company. If it’s not limited, it’s an unlimited liability company.
2. Understand applicable laws
Research the laws applicable to the business and ensure the business is compliant with them. Check if the business can function all through the UAE or if any additional special permits or regulatory approvals are required.
Do not perform any commercial activity without a licence. Identify the correct type of licence and the structure required for the intended business activity.
3. Have an online presence
Being present online helps strengthen the branding of a business and create customer awareness, whether or not the business is related to technology.
4. Have a business plan
A business with a plan knows its objectives, has budgets and forecasts, understands its worst case scenarios and sets remedial measures.
5. Get insurance
Insurance is a great way of addressing risks that cannot be foreseen or addressed in contracts. Have a chat with an advisor to check what insurances apply to your business. This also comes at no cost.
6. Create a contingency plan
A critical part of a business is having a contingency plan. Understanding the alternative streams of revenue and how you plan to collaborate with your business partners during emergencies will help you navigate the challenges with ease.
7. Maintain a reserve fund
A reserve fund, 10 per cent of net profits, is provided for under the UAE companies law. Having a contingency fund is just an added measure to ensure you are really covered for those rainy days.
Anybody hired must have a labour card or employment contract or a license to provide services. Do not work with individuals who are not complying with laws because if they cause business any harm, there are limited remedies since they were not legitimately hired to work for the company. It is equally important to have employees, interns and consultants sign non-disclosure agreements to protect company secrets and to have their confirmation that all inventions and creations are assigned to the business while they work there.
9. Registering IP
Register ideas that are innovative and can be registered as intellectual property innovations. Lack of registration can lead to it being replicated or shared. Later it may not be registered as it may lose its unique status.
— The writer is Co-Founder and General Counsel, Suits & Advisors