min read

Winning Traits of Successful Businesses in the Middle East: Key Factors Driving Growth and Success

Discover the key traits that make businesses successful in the Middle East region

The Middle East is home to a diverse range of businesses, from small startups to multinational corporations. In our own research to see how Alaan could grow in the most sustainable and efficient way, it was interesting to see that there are certain factors that successful businesses in the region tend to have in common. After triangulating these factors, we dove deeper into the facts, and came up with our findings which we believe will help not only us, but any business in the UAE

Alaan's research boiled down to 6 winning factors which successful businesses in the Middle East share, let's dive deeper into them.

1. Strategic Planning

Successful businesses in the Middle East understand the importance of strategic planning. This confidence is tempered by caution, with many CEOs focusing on costs. But they are also looking ahead. Business leaders are already diversifying products and service offerings and more than a third of the remainder are considering doing so. Unlike their global peers, Middle Eastern business leaders are not delaying deals- 76% of Middle East CEOs are not delaying deals compared to 60% globally. And they are building resilience around their supply chains and the efficiency of their costs - ensuring planning is done with utmost care.

2. Innovation

Innovation is key to success in any industry. The Middle East has seen a rise in the number of startups in recent years, with many focusing on innovative technologies. In fact, the region has seen a 27% increase in the number of patent applications filed from 2020 to 2021. Successful businesses in the region are also more likely to invest in research and development (R&D), with R&D expenditure as a share of GDP of the country increasing from 0.5% in 2011 to 1.4% in 2020 growing at an average annual rate of 20.85%.

3. Adaptability

The Middle East is a region of constant change, with economic, political, and social factors all playing a role. Successful businesses in the region are able to adapt to these changes quickly. A key focus of investment is on technology, as Middle East CEOs prepare for further and faster digital transformation in the years ahead. In a survey by PwC, 84% of respondents in the region said they will invest in automation processes and systems and 66% said they expect to deploy cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technology in operations.This is reflected in the fact that many regional businesses have diversified their operations to reduce their reliance on a single sector or market.

4. Customer Focus

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and successful businesses in the Middle East understand this. According to a report by McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions—and three-quarters will switch if they don’t like their experience. This highlights the importance of understanding and catering to the needs of customers in the region. Successful businesses in the Middle East also tend to have a strong online presence, the UAE e-commerce market is forecasted to reach $9.2 billion by 2026.

5. Financial Management

Effective financial management is crucial for the success of any business. Successful businesses in the Middle East tend to have a strong financial foundation, with a focus on profitability and cash flow management. According to a survey by PwC, 89% of Middle East family businesses expect revenue growth in 2022, and 58% plan to expand into new markets in the next two years

6. Talent Management

Finally, successful businesses in the Middle East understand the importance of attracting and retaining top talent. This is reflected in the fact that many businesses in the region offer attractive employee benefits and perks, such as health insurance, flexible working arrangements, and training and development opportunities. With a high employee turnover rate, it is no surprise that over 87% of HR professionals consider employee retention an important concern.

Successful businesses in the Middle East share a number of common factors, including strategic planning, innovation, adaptability, customer focus, financial management, and talent management. By focusing on these areas, we believe businesses in the region can increase their chances of success in a rapidly changing environment.

61% of CEOs in the Middle East remain upbeat about the region’s growth prospects for 2023 versus just 21% in North America and 18% in Europe on their own respective markets. This truly showcases the scope of goth for every business functioning in the region, and we hope this blog helps you stay one step ahead!

Alaan has helped 100s of businesses streamline their finances so that they can truly concentrate on growing fast - want to know more? Schedule a free demo with us today!

Start simplifying your business spend with Alaan 🚀

Unlimited cards
Up to 2% cashback
No minimum balance