Six tips to help you succeed as an entrepreneur in the GCC

Commitment to the business and having a purpose is key



Having spent more than 20 years of my life in the healthcare and investment industry as an impact-driven investor, social entrepreneur and leader, I have learnt a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in the business world.

Along the way, my roles as the vice chairman and deputy president of Saudi German Hospitals Group, president of the Gold’s Gym franchise in Saudi Arabia, and founder and president of Humania Capital have shaped my abilities as an entrepreneur and helped me realise what kind of leader I am and want to be.

Working and learning from incredible people, such as my father and my uncle has been a large part of that learning experience.

I am a huge believer in developing young talent and helping them bring their fresh ideas to life, which is why my experiences as an investor on the Saudi edition of popular US show Shark Tank have been so rewarding.

One thing I am keen to stress is that not every entrepreneur is or must be the same – different personalities make different entrepreneurs. People often misinterpret being a successful entrepreneur as being an ‘idea maker’ or a ‘creator’, and while the idea is what inspires the foundation of a business, being a successful company is more than just having an idea. Having people that know how to shape and direct these grand ideas into a successful plan or product is just as important.

Here are some important tips for all types of leaders as they strive to build their business and achieve long lasting success.

You must be committed

A business does not become a success overnight. Every established company was the result of countless hours of hard work before they started making headlines. Becoming a successful entrepreneur takes substantial sacrifice and you must realise the level of commitment that is required. Giving up time with your friends and family might not sound fun, but if your ambition is to build a business, you have to be willing to commit.

You can’t do it all

Entrepreneurs should understand that it’s okay to seek support and help to start and grow your business. The best leaders will recognise their own weaknesses, identify people who can help fill in the gaps, and will not be threatened by others’ talents. You simply cannot do it all. Surround yourself with accomplished professionals and leadership, resulting in an overall strong, creative team that can generate new ideas and continue to challenge you to be a better leader. For example, I couldn’t have achieved what I have so far without my father’s guidance. He is an excellent mentor and pioneer, and I am lucky to have his support so I can build on his vision, legacy and success.

Have purpose

In an increasingly connected world, new generations are seeking meaning. Younger consumers have grown up with the internet, meaning they’re more in tune with social causes than previous generations.

For example, according to the 2017 Cone Gen Z CSR Study: How to Speak Z, 89 per cent of Gen Zers are worried about the health of our planet, and their spending habits reflect that, with 94 per cent believing that the companies they support should be actively working toward solutions to critical issues, such as global warming.

Brands that offer consumers the chance to make meaningful difference, convert indifferent consumers into lifelong customers.

I encourage all entrepreneurs to share their purpose and use this as their foundation, centering all decisions and progressions around it, as this should be the most important element to any business that wants to make a real impact.

Treat your employees right

The global corporate wellness market size is expected to reach $84.9bn by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The corporate wellness initiatives target particular health risk factors such as stress, obesity, smoking, diet, and lack of exercise, among others, in a bid to increase workplace wellness over all.

When leading a team, focus on putting employees first. Make an effort and take a personal interest in your employees to build a strong working relationship. A motivated and happy workforce will result in happy customers. This ultimately helps to create a thriving business. If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers.

Share your knowledge

Having been a part of business for over two decades I have seen and learnt many things. I remember the good and the bad and learn from them. Being able to share these experiences with my employees has made a difference. Be willing to help them in their jobs, offer them advice on skill advancement opportunities, and show interest in them as people, not just as employees. Entrepreneurs who take an active role in helping their employees to become more talented and in-demand often find those employees are fiercely loyal to their employer.

Be ambitious

As a business leader you should always be ambitious – always strive to do and achieve more. For our organisations, this means finding ways to improve in terms of innovation, preventative wellbeing and patient experience.

I implore every entrepreneur to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and not be afraid or intimidated by others’ talents, to truly get to know their colleagues and employees, to establish an environment where learning and growth is encouraged, and finally, to remain committed to what they truly believe in despite the constant challenges that will be faced.

Makarem Batterjee is a Saudi business leader and entrepreneur