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Common mistakes best avoided when starting a business in Qatar


"Business is not for me."

"I cannot wrap my head around the legal hassles."

"What if my investment does not get its returns?"

"You can't enter a business with an exit clause in your back pocket."


These and many more monologues always pop up in the mind, when you think of starting a business on your own. Sure, doubts and more doubts is the way for a successful venture. But, what if you stumble?

Qatar has opened its economy to the rest of the world and starting your own business in the country has become more inviting than ever before. While there is no dearth of opportunities to leverage by setting up your business entity in Qatar, there are a few pitfalls one must be cautious about.

To help you successfully start and navigate your business in the changing regulatory landscape of Qatar, BBMS has singled out some of the key points to take note of.

Aligning your business idea with the principles governing your home country

One very common mistake that is seen repeated over and over again by many while setting up their business in a foreign country is their lack of understanding of the market they are venturing into. To begin with, it is important to first understand how the business mechanism in the Middle East works.

The ease of settling into the Qatari mindset of working and thriving will take place smoothly only if you adopt an open mind. While there is plenty to do and explore in terms of opportunities, you will have to be mindful of factors like time management, open and transparent discussions about finances, your approach towards problem-solving, and, most importantly, being respectful with regards to your conduct and dress code. While many of the principles may seem familiar in your local business environment, it is crucial that when in Qatar, all these aspects are taken into account and adhered to. Being late consistently or being unprofessional or even being unmindful in your approach can cost you hugely.

Not having adequate capital

Having a good idea without the adequate funds to back it, remains just an idea. It is imperative that you accurately evaluate the cost of setting up a business in Qatar and even make provision for any contingency. Qatar sure has avenues for you to borrow from, but that should not be number one on your agenda when drawing your business plan. Have enough capital not just to set up your entity but also to meet ongoing expenses. Ensure that your business stays cash positive and factor in for possible payment delays.

Misjudging the type of business you set up

This may not seem like an awfully tough call to make in your home turf but is important when you step on to the Qatari soil. You may want to be the sole owner of your entity, but evaluate your business prospects carefully before taking any hasty decisions. You may find many platforms where you are allowed complete ownership of your company, make sure you read through any hidden clauses. While dipping your toes in new waters, it is best you seek expert counsel. BBMS is dedicated to providing business solutions to entrepreneurs hoping to find a footing in Qatar. You will not only receive guidance about the legality of your business set-up but we can also act at as your local partner, assisting you with ideation and execution.

Indecision in choosing local partnership

When starting a company in your own country, it may not be much work to set it up as a sole proprietorship and then convert it into a partnership. In the Middle East, however, this is one decision that can’t be taken lightly. You have to be very clear whether you wish to partner with an individual or a company. This will have a decisive impact on your business continuity. If you choose an individual to partner with, at their demise, a chosen family member will take their place. The new member will have the right to change any clause or even the terms of the agreement. You might not have a say in this matter. On the other hand, on being incorporated as a limited liability company with a corporate partner, you will enjoy the benefits of a company agreement. While both these forms of businesses have their pros and cons, it is mandated that you commit after careful consideration.

It is likely that many fail to see the finer points of the plan and end up making unthinkable mistakes. It is with this view in mind that at BBMS we believe in approaching every case on a singular basis. Our efforts are directed at providing custom solutions to each of our clients and help them chart their course in this new marketplace as smoothly as can be. So, before you take off on your dreams, talk to the experts to ensure all your investments and interests are safeguarded. Reach out to us at info@bbms.qa or call us at +974 4012 0333.


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