Translating dreams into a success story
There is a certain appeal in starting your business and being your own boss, especially if you have the drive to want to build something of significance that you can proudly call your own, says Mayar Galal, managing partner of Concept, a Dubai-based translation and localisation company.
"My entrepreneurial dream was always in the back of my mind since my 20s. But, there are different paths to entrepreneurship and I felt I needed to acquire some skills, knowledge and expertise through various jobs that I held in the private and semi-government sectors and more recently non-profit organisations. This gave me all the cards that I felt were necessary to take the leap to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. At that time, I reconnected with my current partner at Concept who was a long-time colleague and she was looking to start something of her own too."
Mayar believes that being in the UAE, particularly Dubai, provides an excellent environment for entrepreneurs as an inspiring catalyst. "Everywhere around us are exciting examples of small businesses that are flourishing, with some homegrown businesses becoming regional if not global players. You see Careem, Souq.com and many more. In the early 2000s, we used to be a hub for multinationals in the region along with mega governmental projects, but now it's exciting to see that the government is also encouraging entrepreneurs and SMEs," she adds.
Concept plans to establish its footprint in the market in 2018 and plans to carry this momentum throughout the year. Mayar says the market is very competitive and she believes this is an excellent environment for businesses to step up their game and increase their quality.
Prior to starting her venture, Mayar and her partner took time to study the market, they identified a gap and decided to address it. "My partner at Concept and I have been working in the market for more than 16 years and have experienced first-hand how unprofessional, off-the-shelf translation can damage even the most successful brands. We wanted to make a difference and this is how Concept was born to provide customers with translation that is not only accurate but meaningful, relevant and powerful in conveying the brand's message."
In order to achieve the high bar of quality, Concept focused on 3 key elements - people, processes and services.
Contrary to the myth that the process of setting up a business is overwhelming, Mayar recalls that it was smooth. "If you compare the process of setting up a business here with other countries in the region, you will find that we are so advanced in terms of processes, procedures and how everything is outlined clearly, which makes it much more easier to set up a new business venture. Almost all government processes and approvals are done online with the exception of very few steps that require your physical presence. This saves a lot of time and helps you accurately plan for the funding needed over the coming year," adds Mayar.
Maintaining a balance
Finding a balance between personal life and business is the most familiar battle most working women face. "All the time, we are trying to juggle family, work, friends, personal and social time. Although being an entrepreneur is more than a full-time job, it offers something that is rarely provided by other 9-to-5 jobs: flexibility."
Mayar thinks that being your own boss gives you the opportunity to decide what culture you want to have in your organisation.
"I was always fascinated by organisations that have a culture of trust which empowers their team and allows them to grow and contribute to the firm's success. Each team member is trusted to judge whether their physical presence in the office is required to reach a certain objective or whether this is something that can easily be achieved working from home or some place else. With the technologies available today, we can easily be connected from anyplace, anytime. This makes my life easier as I work from home 2 days a week, saving the time I spend on commuting to and from work and using this time either to go the gym, have breakfast with friends or spend it with family. There are times when I have to spend more time in office, travel to meet clients or go to events over the weekend. But this is understandable as long as you have the flexibility to juggle between your different responsibilities and prioritise how to use your time efficiently."
Mayar says entrepreneurs have to believe in themselves and be surrounded by a supporting network of competent people. It is crucial to have trusted business partners and supportive advisors and mentors as this access to knowledge given by an experienced person with your best interests in mind is irreplaceable. Building business relationships and networking is also key.
"We now have many government and private organisations that offer monetary, networking and advisory support like the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Dubai Businesswomen Council, the Women's Network Group, the Entrepreneur's Organisation UAE and other organisations that enable entrepreneurs to learn from each other, leading to greater business success. I would highly recommend an entrepreneur to join such networks," concludes Mayar.
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