Small business environment booming in UAE
A new survey of small business owners conducted by Virtuzone reveals that the economic outlook is positive
59 per cent of those polled consider the performance of their business better than expected. 60 per cent are already making a profit, while 49 per cent are confident their companies' revenue will improve in the next 12 to 18 months.
The entrepreneurial fire in the UAE is believed to be fuelled by: the Internet, e-commerce and technological advancements (58 per cent); demographic factors and favourable economic conditions (33 per cent) including the ease with which a business can be set up.
The survey, which polled 153 individuals, start-ups, and small enterprises in the media industry, licensed by Virtuzone, examined the key challenges and factors impacting their growth. It collected their viewpoint on the economic outlook and opinions with respect to the type of support and services that are critical to their set-up and long term development.
The most important factors contributing to the success of a small business are experience and skills (62 per cent), next to networking and being able to promote the business in a niche market (30 per cent). A few business owners (8 per cent) also cited risk tolerance, the ability to afford to take risks in their business, as a success factor.
About 70 per cent of the small businesses surveyed agreed that marketing support is key to their growth, especially in the short term. This alone serves as validation for a company set-up facilitator like Virtuzone to enhance its support services within the Virtuzone community, as a means to be ready for its current and new customers.
When asked to state their top motivations to start their own business, the majority (77 per cent) of small business owners indicated that they recognized an opportunity in the market; whilst 17 per cent said they started their business out of necessity.
The survey asked small business owners to identify their biggest challenges. Uncertainty about cash flow (49 per cent) topped the list, followed closely by the difficulty of planning firmly for next steps (34 per cent), unexpected market changes (11 per cent) and pressure from larger competitors (6 per cent).
According to the survey, there are different takes on what success looks like for a small business owner. Doing something they enjoy (34 per cent), being one's own boss (32 per cent) and building something from the ground-up, and proving their ability to succeed (28 per cent), were the top responses. Earning enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle (16 per cent) and having a stable work/life balance (51 per cent) were also considered success indicators.
Although small businesses are generally classified as those with fewer than 500 full-time employees, about 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed have fewer than 10 employees.