Understanding Culture: Tips for UK Franchisors Expanding into the Middle East

Understanding Culture: Tips for UK Franchisors Expanding into the Middle East

There’s no question the Middle East has transformed into a powerful hub of cross cultural business opportunities. Franchising is a go-to strategy for a variety of companies hailing from diverse industries throughout countries such as the UK, the US, Germany, and France. More and more businesses are now finding the Middle East’s economic policies as a powerful proposition for continuous expansion throughout the region.

However, it’s also important to understand that the success of franchisors balances a fine line between knowing the cultural nuances of the Middle East and its consumer market. In light of this, we’re going to talk about the necessity of absorbing and understanding cultural diversity, sensitivity, and adaptability when doing business in the Middle East.

Important Tips to Know When Considering a Franchising Model in the Middle East

Profound Research into the Region’s Culture

One of the most important aspects of starting your franchise expansion overseas is adapting to and appreciating the target country’s culture. The Middle East isn’t an imposing region but a motley of individual countries each with its own set of unique cultural traditions, customs, and language. As a franchisor, you need to first get a lay of the land by putting in the time and resources to attune to its cultural aspects, especially when it comes to bringing in your staff or experts. You need to train them in the local way of life, how to conduct business with the necessary etiquette and adapt to the social norms.

Developing Trusting Domestic Partnerships

Building rapport and partnerships with the local business community is important when navigating the complications of the Middle Eastern consumer markets. You need to have a handle on the region’s business landscape, and the only way you can do that is by cultivating relationships with well-connected individuals. This is going to help foster a much-needed sense of trust among the local consumer as well.

In addition, never jump the gun when implementing a franchise business model in the Middle East. The local Arab business people tend to take their time before entering a new venture. They typically seek the advice of their trusted peer, friends, and family. You’ll need to first establish good relations and respect boundaries before taking your deals a notch further.

Read – Connecting British Franchises With Middle East Investors

Your Products and Services Must Be In Line with the Local Needs

Successful franchisors have a good understanding of the need to adapt their services or products and market them in a way that appeals to the tastes and preferences of the local consumer market. Remember what works in the UK may not necessarily work in the Middle East, which is why seeking advice is important for UK franchisors expanding internationally from experts that have a powerful network in the region. And this is where the One World comes into play. With our team of multilingual franchising professionals and a wide business network in GCC countries, we can help curate a targeted marketing campaign that takes into account cultural sensitivities, local tastes, and preferences of the Middle Eastern market.

Respect Religious Sentiment and Practices

The Middle East comprises a flurry of social and religious customs and traditions that play a vital role in day-to-day life. As a franchisor, you have to be mindful and respectful of these traditions, being cautious so as not to make any cultural missteps. For example, Islam is the predominant religion in the Middle East. This means your staff, business partners, and other individuals will need to take time off for their daily prayers.

Common Cultural Mistakes To Avoid When Expanding Franchise Internationally

Neglecting to Factor In the Cultural Aspects of the Region

One of the biggest mistakes franchisors make is assuming that they can bring their own culture to the Middle East. Nothing can be further from the truth. When you’re conducting business in the Middle East, you need to accept and design your business operations around local customs and norms. Similarly, never make the mistake of neglecting the nuances of local languages and traditional connotations. You’ll need to invest in expert translation services to understand the local language and adhere to its subtleties.

Ignoring or Not Being Mindful of the Regulatory or Legal Framework

Never assume that the legal and/or regulatory structure for franchisors will be the same as that in the UK. You’ll need to thoroughly evaluate the specific requirements of regulations in each region in the Middle East for successful cross cultural franchise expansion. You’ll need to comply with the local laws, acquire the necessary trademarks, licensing, and adhere to all local franchise regulations.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to tap the Middle East for international expansion, One World can provide you with comprehensive transitional support. We have an extensive network of local and international franchisors and can help provide you with a streamlined framework for the necessary steps to take including acquiring a business visa, hiring local staff, and creating the funding strategies you need to expand your business.

Start your business venture with OneWorld!

More To Explore

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best