Asif OsmanExperienced manager and startup founder in GCC.

I've worked in managing teams across travel management, loyalty marketing, training services and payment gateways. My expertise is in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

Recent Answers

I've lived in Dubai and crisscrossed the middle east on business. You are right, Dubai is the obvious choice and that's where I was based most of the time. It would have helped if you had mentioned more details about the type of business you are into.

Dubai is a little expensive but unparalleled in certain aspects. People love to live there. It's full of talent and opportunities but also very competitive. Bahrain too is comparable in some ways and there is a lot of local talent here and it's cheaper to operate a business here.

But there real answers will depend on what is your product? Will you need many local hires? Will you need large offices? Will you need to fly in and out often? Will you be dependent on hiring expat employees?

Book a call with me and I'll help you with basic information.

Regards, Asif

As someone else said, the answer to this depends on the type of business you are trying to run. Also the geography and target market matters. Not all tactics work in all situations. For my SaaS business, its a combination of cold emailing, social media and personal visits to potential clients that have worked. Remember that cold emails can be automated provided you have a good list and choose carefully. Please feel free to ask for a free consultation.

a) Having a simple website is easy these days. You do not really need to make it fancy. Keep it simple. Some freelancers will do it for as low as 20$ and having a webpage is useful because it is more professional and adds more legitimacy.
Here is a service you can check out:

b) You can sell your services through many freelancer websites. Google freelancer websites and you will find fiverr,upwork,guru and others. You can list yourself as a seller and get going.

c) Register here and see if people want to then go the extra mile and actually buy your course.

Best wishes.

First of all, good luck on your startup. Be ready for many ups and downs.

Early in my own startup, I needed to sign a few NDA's and I had saved a copy that a consultant had me sign so I just edited that.

I recently came upon these online service you may want to check out:

I am not associated with either of them in any way.

I would also like to share what I learnt about NDA's early on. Assess carefully if and when an NDA is required and when it might become an UNNECESSARY barrier. It all depends on the kind of information that will be shared and the information value and associated possibility of misuse. Some people are averse to signing NDA's. Some will sign anything and break it at the drop of a hat.

Feel free to use my free 15 minute consultation:

You could ask yourself this question: Do I really need a partner? Partner relations as it is are difficult to manage for most startups but having one on a remote basis will make it even tougher.
I personally think that avoiding partnerships unless they are absolutely critical is a good idea.
You could hire someone as an employee or you could hire someone with an understanding that he gets some equity but is not a part of the decision making process.

Feel free to try a 15 minute call to discuss more:

First of all, create a landing page and embed a how it works video. If done well it seems like a service many SaaS companies would like to know about.

In a crowded internet marketing space, selling and marketing your service is tough and will need a good marketing budget.

However, if you can offer your service to selected customers at zero or low prices that could be a good testimonial.

Even then it may be tough because SaaS owners will be vary of handing over their customer service to a 3rd party.
This question is one many SaaS owners may ask you -

How can you help me get sales?

You may want to review a website like for outreach and emailing.

Feel free to book a free 15 minute consultation with me:

You've already received a lot of good ideas and suggestions and I've looked at your website. I suggest you add a "How it works" one minute video. Also I clicked the samples section and I still couldn't get it.

If you are looking for people who would sell your product on a commission basis, that is possible but not easy.

Feel free to get in touch.

If discussions are not making progress and a mediator cannot make headway either then perhaps you going legal is what he wants. Discuss your options with a good lawyer and try to reason with him. Weigh your options carefully because time is money and perhaps your idea of dissolving the company before going further down the road may be the best option.

I have a startup and have had a few meetings with investors.

Go another route. From my recent personal experience there was no progress after the first meeting and luckily one of the guys mentioned that they had already funded a competitor. After that i realized that all their questions were 'intelligence gathering exercises' and they had already decided not to fund me. I got a call a few days later for another meeting and realized that one of the directors was really keen to know about my project details. Probably to give give feedback to their startup. I guessed right. A few weeks later I found out he was on the board of my competitor.

So tread carefully if you know your investor has a stake in a competitor.

I have lived and worked both in Dubai and Bahrain and done business and help set up branches all across the GCC - also known as the Arabian Gulf.

Firstly, let me commend you on having boots on the ground in trying to sell your product in this part of the world. Its really tough to sell a software product from afar unless you are so unique that customers are going to be forced to listen. I assume you have competitors.

Dubai is usually where most multi national companies set up their regional head quarters and there are very good reasons for that. Namely easy set up, great infrastructure and desirable living conditions for your personnel. However its not inexpensive to both set up as well as operate in.

Bahrain is a less expensive place to operate with good infrastructure, hungry job seekers and easy access by road to the Saudi market.

If you have researched which country may be your primary target market - its usually one of the two - UAE or Saudi, then take your pick: Bahrain or UAE.

Oman is also not too difficult to set up a branch but without significant investment, setting up in the other Gulf countries is more challenging.

Travel connections are easy except for the recent rift with Qatar.

Feel free to set up a call with me to get more detailed answers to any questions you may have.

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