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Our Top Tips for Successfully Expanding to Dubai

As your business grows, you run the risk of saturating your local market—spend too long in this state and the stagnation can greatly hinder your momentum. The correct response, of course, is to plan for expansion. 


While Dubai, with its developed economy, high-performing technological infrastructure and business-friendly government is often targeted as a key market worth considering, successfully making the leap can be quite the challenge. 


In this article, you’ll find our top tips for laying the groundwork for a seamless and successful international expansion to Dubai. 



Before creating a business expansion strategy, it’s critical that you understand what makes Dubai, in particular, so difficult to expand to. While some of the considerations you’ll be forced to make will apply for expansion across destinations, Dubai has some intricacies that will sink your efforts if they’re not meticulously factored into your overarching expansion strategies.


Dubai’s religious roots can be felt in all areas of the city’s life, even in business. The fact that customs are primarily Islamic in nature means that many foreign businesses have to rethink their approach to business. 


Understanding the local regulations that have roots in religious practices, local customs when it comes to transactions and business relationships and the expectations of the local populace and authorities when it comes to how your business presents itself are all incredibly important aspects of finding success in the hyper-competitive landscape. 


Finding your footing in this challenging new context will be undoubtedly be difficult at first, which makes it all the more important to establish connections with local firms that you can turn to for advice and support prior to making the jump. 



Regardless of the unique difficulties faced with the prospect of expanding to Dubai, the core steps that you’ll need to take in order to ensure that your strategy is a successful one are widely similar across markets. Namely, we advise the following:



This is far and away the most important step, as the time spent here will save you a great deal of time—and money—later down the line. This involves carefully auditing your operations for areas which may be stretched too thin once you expand. Whether this is a matter of insufficient resources needed to efficiently scale up your production capabilities or fragile supply chains that could face interruption, a lack of internal readiness could spell disaster before you ever move into your new office.


Monitoring progress requires that you have an established system in place that can reliably be adhered to. Establishing an international business plan will enable you to assess all of your exact requirements prior to expansion. Moreover, it will arm you with the information necessary to formulate the appropriate KPIs, giving you reliable benchmarks for monitoring your short- and long-term success.


Success in one market does not necessarily imply success in another—much less one as competitive as Dubai. Successfully making the transition necessitates that you take great care to understand the needs and wants of the local population. This can involve everything from localising your marketing to account for cultural tastes to adjusting the pricing of products or services to reflect local purchasing power.


As you prepare for your entry, it will be important to not only acquire the appropriate business license but also ensure that all of your products or services comply with the established regulations surrounding your respective industry. From labelling requirements on the packaging of your retail products to any certification that needs to be obtained for your teams, getting everything sorted early will ensure that you’re primed for success right from the outset of your expansion. 


Expanding to Dubai can be one of the most profitable decisions your business will ever make, but it comes with its own set of considerations that must be made in order to achieve the results that you expect. Adhering to the tips presented in this article will set you off in the right direction, but obtaining the consultancy of an experienced third party can be key to navigating Dubai’s unique features. 

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