We will take a look at various types of consulting services, how they affect the growth and development of startups, small businesses, and corporations, and how to create, build and run own consultancy firm in the UAE (United Arab Emirates).
What is a consultancy firm?
Consulting business is a field of activity, the main task of which is to provide consulting services for private persons and enterprises in various areas. This may be a solution to financial, legal, commercial, technical, and any other subjects.
All consulting companies (or individuals acting as freelance consulting), which enter the market, as a rule, are highly specialized. It is complicated to master all the levels of activities; therefore, as a rule, there are specialties in corporate consulting, management consulting, IT consulting, industrial consulting, logistics consulting, shipping consulting, etc.
The main purpose of consulting services is to analyze and solve problems a client faces with and which hinder the development of a business or cannot be solved by an entrepreneur or a private person due to lack of time, knowledge or other reasons.
There are outstanding opportunities for investment in the UAE, but often overseas investors do not have enough expertise in the local business environment, private equity operations, so they need consulting services from local experts for effective strategic planning.
How to build a consulting business? The process of company registration is pretty much the same as for any enterprise in the UAE – quick and easy.
A brief history of the consulting business in the UAE
This field of activity appeared due to the rather rapid development of technology, the blurring of borders between countries and the globalization processes acceleration. All these changes have to be constantly monitored in order to respond to them promptly. After all, sooner or later they will affect the company's activities of any company, and, depending on the measures business owner takes, they will become either a springboard for growth or a severe obstacle.
In the UAE, the rapid development of this market segment had started to flourish at the time when the free economic zones were established and a huge number of foreign entrepreneurs came to the country. The special tax regime, the simplified system of business set up and other privileges have led to a significant increase in the interest of this country for foreign investors and business people. A demand for such consulting services appeared locally, as well as a large number of international companies were interested to set their operations in the UAE, and in order to further simplify and speed up the business starting process, local authorities decided to provide consulting companies with a wide range of opportunities and various types of permits supported by all the facilities which may be required.
Role and common list of consulting activities
In terms of applicable rules and laws, the Dubai is not a single place, there are over 60 free zones, each of which has its administration, its own progressive rules, and goals. Business consulting companies in the UAE assist in choosing the optimal location for business formation, inform about the types of companies, the possibilities and limitations of offshore, onshore and local companies, the necessary documentation and company incorporation procedure, licenses, permitted areas of activity, rental issues and help to open a bank account, instant visas, etc.
Functions and responsibilities of a corporate consulting company
A business / corporate consulting company acts as an intermediary between a foreign business and local authorities, that is, it represents its client in government bodies, it monitors changes in legislation, ensures that documents are kept well (there are no expiry), advises on registration and filing papers, and issues concerned with residency (resident visa), assists in the preparation of tax reports, audit and expertise.
How to become a management consultant or to open consultancy company?
Here we will look at how to start your own management consultancy company in the UAE, how to become a business process consultant, consider the importance of management consulting skills and knowledge needed, business improvement stages, consulting services one can provide and what this industry is like in the country.
Here are the main types of management consulting services that firms provide in the UAE:
- Corporate management consulting;
- IT management consulting;
- Risk management consulting;
- Process and operations management consulting;
- Project management consulting;
- Strategic management consulting.
Management consulting responsibilities
The core functions and services of management consultants are the evaluation of a company current state, defining shortcomings, solving organizational problems, project planning, creating additional value, maximizing business growth, improving operational performance. Using their advanced management and business skills, as well as knowledge of the local business environment, and other advanced expert knowledge, these specialists provide objective advice to clients, their opinions, expert appraisals, help and consult an organization in the development of any special knowledge that may be required.
Management consulting company is engaged in strategy consulting, consulting in business structure, and company management. The role of a management consultant is to identify options and development prospects and offer recommendations for changes to a client, as well as give recommendations on additional resources for implementing the solutions.
Here are the main activities on intelligence, governance, and leadership of such a company/specialist (management consulting functions):
- Collect data to evaluate company status;
- Conduct business analysis;
- Conduct research among client’s staff;
- Prepare business proposals and presentations;
- Identify problems and formulate hypotheses and solutions;
- Present conclusions and recommendations on organizational and process improvement to clients;
- Implement recommendations or solutions and ensure that a client receives the necessary assistance to carry out all of this;
- Assist in managing projects and programs;
- Help to organize management
- Keep in touch with the client to keep him informed of progress and make appropriate decisions
How to start a management consulting firm (steps)?
So, if you are interested in management advisory activities in the UAE, there are several options of how to get into the local market and build a new small consulting business:
- You can register yourself as a freelancer and provide consultancy services by yourself within a chosen emirate of the UAE. You will have to collect the package of documents required, confirm your qualifications and obtain a license.
- You can start by registering a company (onshore) in one of the local free zones. In such a case, you can hire personnel (including foreigners) on the territory of the UAE.
- You can open a representative office of a foreign company in the UAE, provided that the parent company successfully exists at the place of registration for at least several years.
We should note that each of the free zones provides different conditions and limitations for company registration. What documents do you need? You can Get in touch with us and we send you the requirements. But there is any more important point – a specialized education (for example, a certificate of financial analyst) is required everywhere. In any case, you will have to go through the standard procedure of company registration (or a private entrepreneur): collect a package of documents (each zone has its requirements), apply them, go through the verification procedure, rent an office, open a bank account and get a license.
Setting up your own IT consulting business
Types and activities of IT consulting – external consultant vs internal consultant
The use of IT resources in production and management activities is increasing, as well as the role they play. Many companies and organizations have their own IT specialists and entire departments involved in solving various issues within a company, if your business is small and you do not have the possibility to maintain your own advisory staff – internal IT consultant, it’s better to use the services of external consultant – an expert in IT consulting. So, here we will take a look at the description of IT consulting services and solutions in the UAE.
What does IT consulting cover?
IT consulting covers a range of issues related to diagnostics, evaluation of the operational effectiveness and development prospects of enterprise information systems. They relate to the technical condition of the equipment, the relevance of software, the quality of system elements interaction, the efficiency of building networks, the use of technical means for project management, the level of information security, and the role of innovative products in the overall development strategy of a company. IT consulting for small business is quite a demanded service among startups.
Why do you need IT consulting?
The role of business process automation systems and IT tools involved in the performance of a company cannot be overestimated. But it does not always make sense to have a full-time specialist (or several) to maintain the information system. Therefore they are invited for consultations if necessary. At the same time, large companies often apply for IT consulting services for an independent examination of the information system and receiving recommendations on its modernization, optimization, and development.
How to start an IT consulting company?
In the UAE If you want to provide IT consulting services outside your office and visit customers, you have to register your company as a local one, because registering a company within a free zone means that this company will conduct commercial activity only within its area. But, if you want to work remotely from the office, then the option of registering a company in a free zone also suits you. For example, this option is more profitable if your company develops websites, or you can work with web design at your office or home. The rest of the business startup procedure looks standard:
- Collect and apply documents;
- Pass the company registration procedure;
- Rent a premise for an office;
- Obtain a license;
- Open a bank account.
How to get into marketing consulting?
Marketing consulting areas and types
Marketing consulting is a kind of consulting services; it is aimed at the development and implementation of effective marketing strategies in business. Marketing consulting is a consulting by nature, that is, a consultant makes recommendations and helps to introduce certain innovations in the work of the company, not being a full-time employee. A head of a company or other responsible person works on the implementation of these strategies and their execution. Here we consider the description of marketing consulting services and solutions in the UAE.
The most common types of marketing consulting in the UAE are consulting in digital marketing, in particular, Internet and mobile advertising, SEO, SMM, content marketing, public relations (PR) marketing, brand marketing, and online sales marketing consulting. They are critical both for startups and small businesses and corporations.
Digital marketing consulting
What tools and activities does Internet marketing consist of? This is primarily the development and promotion of a website. But a website itself does not bring customers. Therefore, it also includes activities aimed at developing the site usability by potential customers. When a website works efficiently, a company needs marketing coverage. Advertising sells products, and coverage informs and forms new the relationship.
Consulting in the field of digital marketing involves firms and independent individuals (freelances). Here is a list of typical services in digital marketing consulting:
- Website development, media, and contextual promotion, design, production;
- Designing of a comprehensive company development strategy in a digital environment;
- Work of marketing consultants with online communities (groups and pages in social networks, blogs, forums, specialized sites);
- Organization of events, competitions (marketing strategy and tactics, scenarios, creativity, performance analysis, meeting, discussion) combined with online/offline promotion;
- Experimental marketing of QR codes, geolocation services, RFD, Wow calls, augmented reality, etc.
Brand marketing consulting
Brand marketing is a set of activities related to the development of a brand name, the design of a logo, slogan, brand book, etc., as well as all work aimed at increasing brand awareness. Having achieved good brand recognition and loyalty to a specific group of customers, it is possible to perform operations to promote products and services much more efficiently. Growth and development of business in modern conditions are impossible without competent brand marketing. In the free zones of Dubai, the UAE, hundreds of new companies are created annually, so the demand for these services is and will be consistently high.
Public Relations (PR) consultancy services
PR consulting is not a luxury, but a necessity in a modern, highly competitive environment. Public relations is not just a service, but a dialogue that requires communication and mutual understanding. Therefore, public relations marketing consultant is an integral part of this activity and is of particular importance. Two parties always take an active part in providing services of PR consulting firms, both a client and a consultant, the result and satisfaction with the cooperation process depends on the actions of each of them. Among the main services offered by public relations consultants:
- Assistance in Internal communications;
- Assistance in Communication with external audiences;
- Social branding, social engineering, social partnership, social accountability;
- Assistance in territorial branding;
- Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of PR communications.
The process of starting a public relations consulting business is as simple and fast as any other company registration procedure.
Sales marketing consulting
A sales system is not a sales department, but a whole complex of organizational decisions and behavioral norms that directly affect sales results. Sales marketing consulting specialists work with all components of this system. Sales consulting is a field of services aimed at developing a scheme for increasing the level of sales of goods or services of a company.
Trade in the UAE has become the fastest growing sector of the local economy. Since each of free zones of the country has its own rules, peculiarities, and restrictions, a beginning entrepreneur will need professional consulting assistance in the process of choosing location, obtaining a license, processing documents and conducting commercial operations.
How to open an engineering consulting company?
What is industrial consulting?
Production management consultants combine knowledge of economic, managerial and engineering issues, assisting managers in solving problems such as choosing the technology of the production process, stimulating productivity, energy saving, evaluating and controlling product quality, analyzing production costs, planning production, using equipment and materials, designing and product development, work evaluation and other services for corporate clients.
The production process requires decision-making by the manager in order to get the products of the right quality, in the right quantity, on time and with minimal costs. Thus, the task of the consultant is to help find the best ways to achieve these goals.
Duties and responsibilities
A production management consultant has to analyze the following aspects:
- Product. What are the parts of the product? Is it possible to improve or standardize its parts? Is it possible to replace some components with cheaper ones? Is it possible to improve the equipment on which the goods are produced?
- Methods and organization of production. A consultant should investigate and improve the layout of the equipment, finding out whether the installed machines and equipment affect the quality of the organization of the workplace; and there are any elements of congestion in some areas, while others appear underutilized.
- Staff. There are two main areas of production management consulting that should be considered in this regard. Working conditions, motivation, and satisfaction gained from work – all this plays an essential role in improving product quality and increasing productivity.
How to start and grow an engineering consulting firm and how to become an engineering consultant?
So, you have decided to start your industrial consulting company. The registration procedure of the engineering consulting firm does not differ from the registration procedure of any other consulting company, but the right choice of location is essential. We recommend that you choose the location depending on the particular requirements you may have. If you plan to work with international as well as local companies - maybe you would prefer to choose the location in the UAE where there are a lot of industrial companies registered and who can be your potential clients. On the other side, if your engineering consulting firm acts internationally - you are free to choose the location within the UAE.
How to become a logistic consultant, registering a logistic consulting firm
Most of the trade routes going through the Emirates also pass the territories of free economic zones. This is explained by the fact that customs duties and fees are not applied within these FTZs. So this has a great effect on savings by foreign entrepreneurs. It is logical that such investors prefer to organize business in free zones, which have even more significant advantages (for example, zero taxation). In the offshore zones of the UAE, the logistics and trading business are inextricably linked. In fact, these activities are only small components of a giant system of turnover of raw materials and goods.
In order to become a shipping logistic consultant or open a company that provides related services, you have to choose the right location for work — one of the free zones in which ports, airports or other ways of transportation of goods operate.
Energy consulting business
If you want to know how efficiently energy resources are spent in your company and whether there are some ways to reduce the costs and eliminate losses, you will need an effective strategy which an energy strategy consultant can develop it. The experts involved will analyze the current situation in your enterprise and will give you a conclusion regarding potential energy saving measures. This type of consulting is also quite popular and in demand in the UAE in the companies which have high energy consumption rate.
Common mistakes clients have when working with consulting firms or private consultants
Perhaps one of the key mistakes made by customers who are looking for consulting services is the choice of an unreliable partner-service company or the one who is not specialized in the required area. To select the best consulting company, it is very important to consider a number of factors, here are some tips on that:
- Specialization and experience in the particular area;
- Availability of a license (mandatory);
- The effectiveness of communication (at the stage of preliminary assessment) – how quickly and how competently do managers respond to you, are there any failures in communication?
- Availability of qualified specialists;
- The presence of positive feedback from previous customers.
Another issue where a lot of difficulties may arise is within setting the goals to the consulting company and having the right client’s expectations.
- You need to clearly define what exactly you require.
- You need to provide the necessary input required by consulting firm
- You need to answer the additional questions and give timely feed-back
- You cannot expect a consulting company to be able to do YOUR work. Consulting company can help you, for example, on setting the priorities, market analysis etc. But no consulting company would do business for you.
- You need to be aware of the necessary time, thus approach consulting company in advance.
How long does it take to become a consultant - means to get your company license or freelance visa?
Depending on the form in which you register your business (as a private freelancer, or a company in a free zone, or the mainland of the United Arab Emirates), the registration period and the cost of the procedures will vary greatly. Thus, it is faster and cheaper to get a license of a private business consultant and get a freelance visa. This will take just several days, however you will be limited by your own performance, that is, you will not be able to open company account or hire other people, and you will not be able to provide your services outside of your jurisdiction, except for remotely. At the same time, obtaining a consulting license for a company in the free zone, or on the mainland, will allow you to hire other people, as well as provide your services throughout the country and abroad. You would be able to open corporate account as well. Registration of such a company will take around 2 weeks.
There is no better place for setting a consulting company or registering yourself as a freelance consultant than the UAE – in a country where a business is developing intensively, and the country which provides the outstanding base for international business. There is and always would be the demand for various experts in business consulting, creative professionals in the region and globally who offer various consulting services. And you get the great advantage if you register in the stable, perfectly located and tax favorable place. So, if you want to start a consulting business in the UAE, you will have excellent prospects for successful development.