27 Oct 2021 00:00:00 AM Breaking News
UAE: Public holidays announced for National Day, Commemoration DayCoronavirus: UAE reports 1,491 Covid-19 cases, 1,826 recoveries, no deathsUAE health alert: Can you cope with masks for long hours? Should mask breaks be introduced?Breaking: UAE lifts all movement restrictionsLife after COVID-19: Retail Industry witnesses shift towards e-commerce globallyCOVID-19 impact: Yes, it’s time for Dubai business to restartCOVID-19 response: DIFC to gradually reopen businesses from WednesdayCOVID-19 response: DIFC to gradually reopen businesses from WednesdayDubai 22K gold price touches Dh200 a gram for first time in nine yearsCoronavirus: UAE announces 624 new cases, 11 deathsCOVID-19: UAE announces 462 new casesCoronavirus: UAE announces 549 new cases, 9 deathsSmall group of employees behind fraud at NMC Health, says B.R. ShettyCOVID 19: UAE announces 4 deaths, 518 new coronavirus cases and 91 recoveriesUAE announces 490 new coronavirus cases, three deathsCoronavirus: UAE announces 432 new Covid-19 cases on WednesdayCovid-19: UAE announces 300 new cases of coronavirusCOVID-19: Disinfection drive extended to 24 hours in DubaiUAE announces recovery of two new coronavirus patientsPanasonic CEO vows to ‘eradicate’ money-losing businessesEmirates to carry over 6,500 passengers to Dubai for Amway’s largest leadership gatheringTrading of Emirates NBD Bank’s rights issue to take place this NovemberSelling pressure on Emaar drags DFM 1.3% lowerEmirates NBD hires Standard Chartered's Patrick Sullivan as CFOWorld Bank chief asks India to reform financial sectorEarly settlement charges on home loans in UAE reducedBreast Cancer Awareness: How to do a self-exam and why it is a mustDFM surges 4.8 percentageas Emirates NBD hikes foreign stakes limitMcDonald’s enlists Alexa and Google to help with its hiring84-year-old Indian man goes skydiving in DubaiUAE in Space: Have questions for Hazza on the ISS?Indian minister seeks direct flight between Bhubaneswar and DubaiExpo 2020 dome now complete, marking new milestone for UAEEmirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri undergoes final test as lift-off nearsSoftBank triples net profit in Q1Microsoft 'listens' to conversations, but only with permissionChina warns India of ‘reverse sanctions’ if Huawei is blockedStocks, oil edge higher as trade-war panic easesTens of thousands losing jobs as India's auto crisis deepensSerena again tops Forbes list of highest-paid sports womenDubai equity traders get a reason to cash out ahead of holidaysRight time to invest? UAE equities attractive on low valuations, positive indicatorsIndian rupee hits 19.21 vs UAE dirhamHumid and dusty weather in UAE until Eid weekendHeathrow airport strike: Emirates issues travel advisoryEid Al Adha 2019: Four-day holiday in UAEEid Al Adha to be celebrated on August 11 in UAENissan, Renault eye restructuring for Fiat merger: report Nissan controls 15 per cent and has no voting rights in Renault

COVID-19 impact: Yes, it’s time for Dubai business to restart

But they will need to re-discover some old ways of what made this city a business hub

‘Dubai Businesses Restart Today...’

It was a headline from May, 27, 2020. Indeed - it has started.

This reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan’s forceful quote in his popular TV show “Kaun Banega Krorepati”. He would say “Your time starts now...”.

Yes, our time starts now. Over the last three months, we have been put on the trail to function with responsibility - rather, with more responsibility. Now the rope has been let loose. Let us not lose our sense of comfort by acting irresponsibly now.

“UAE divers share thrill of swimming with five meter whale sharks...”. This was reported today. This is character of UAE businessmen. We know how to swim with sharks. We know how to face down storms.

Ride through the dunes

Dubai has, and will always remain, a paradise for every businessman and resident in all conditions. Dubai is surrounded by dunes. Ups and downs are part of its inbuilt character. Inevitable transitory fluctuations in business conditions is no reason to shake confidence in this city-state, which has been so fondly nurtured over decades.

Social media is an excellent technological innovation to bring functional efficiency - it should be used for positive purposes. We need to change. When we cause the change... we lead.

I remember in 1987 when Dubai’s textile market was in a serious state of affairs and a senior banker with substantial exposure was anxious about what this situation could mean for the economy. He put a question to me: “When do you think this situation will be remedied”.

I replied, “Perhaps in eight or nine months...”.

“Within that time will things be back to normal?,” he responded.

“No, things will not become normal. We shall get used to them...”, was my reply then.

Likewise, we have to get used to the present situation and bring change in our thought processes and ways of functioning.

Sure, it’s not going to be easy

Turnaround is the word talked about... but suspiciously so. Dubai will turnaround sooner than people think. But a turnaround of individual businesses is a different story. Dubai was developed on the basis of competitiveness. Our neighbours like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others depend on supplies from Dubai inspite of the fact that they could get these directly.

But low profit margins and a ready inventory without quantity restrictions made Dubai a first choice for buyers.

That competitiveness has been lost by Dubai traders. From a reputation of being the “most competitive” place, it has acquired reputation of “most expensive”. We developed ourselves as a tourism destination but lost our place as a business hub and being competitive.

This is where Dubai businesses have to start working on lean margins, adapt new technologies and achieve a future turnaround. Our greed to make fat profits with obsolete systems keeps us away from new low-cost technologies. Why did we have to wait for a coronavirus to come into our lives before we introduced Zoom?

Was a lockdown necessary to introduce Zoom? So much costs could be cut in travel and hotel expenses by holding meetings through zoom. Similarly online education will cut real estate costs for schools and colleges.

The mantra is that the sooner you become competitive, restart Working on lean margins, accept new technologies, the earlier you achieve a turnaround. Business is nothing but CSR (corporate social responsibility).

We cannot make business a purely profit churning machine.