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A Dubai SME 100 ranking makes you stand out from the crowd

By Mark Fisher Published on 19-Jan-2014

With tens of thousands of SMEs in Dubai, it can be hard for the best companies to stand out from the competition. Well run businesses with great products jostle for success alongside less efficient rivals selling inferior wares – and it is often hard for outsiders to tell the difference.

Achieving recognition through a ranking in industry awards is an excellent way to show the world how good your company really is. Serving as a seal of approval from independent experts, it raises your profile with the public and business partners as well as potential investors. So savvy companies take award-winning very seriously. A measure of discrimination is required here, however….there are industry awards and industry awards. They are not all equal and the less rigorous ones are of dubious value. The Dubai SME 100 ranking, however, is widely regarded as prestigious due to the depth and high quality of the assessment process.

So, let’s suppose you have registered for the awards, gone through the assessment, and lo and behold, you have been awarded a ranking, and perhaps a high one. Now what?

A good starting point is to make sure that as many people as possible know about it, through working the media. If you came in the top few businesses, your name will be blazoned all over the papers anyway following Dubai SME 100’s announcement of the results, but if not, don’t be shy. Put out your own press release, display the award on your website and tweet about it (and hopefully you are on twitter, by the way. It’s not that you expect millions of people to read your tweets as a small business, but you do need to reach the ones who count.) People in the UAE who may never have never heard of your company before will now who you are, and for many companies it may be their first taste of exposure in the wider media around the region.

And be sure to directly inform the companies that you do business with, or would like to do business with, about your achievement. They will sit up and take notice. Companies don’t win a Dubai SME 100 ranking merely by demonstrating good financials (which might not last, if the business is not soundly managed) or by being innovative and adopting best HR practices (which don’t generate revenues all by themselves); they have been selected because they have demonstrated all-round excellence built on solid foundations, both financial and managerial. This is exactly the kind of reliable and dynamic company that others want to be involved with, whether as supplier, joint venture partner, service provider, or whatever the relationship might be. So your Dubai SME 100 ranking may well win you new business, as well as messages of congratulations. It could open doors to meetings, networking opportunities and government-backed initiatives that you would otherwise have been refused and prompt recommendations of your firm from third parties.

A Dubai SME 100 company is likely to be an expanding business, looking actively for new growth opportunities. Here too the achievement will come in useful. It will turn the heads of bank managers (never an easy thing to do) when you apply for your next loan. Private investors may approach you to buy a share of the business, or you could credibly approach them, and private equity firms might also knock on your door. And if you are planning an initial public offering on a stock exchange, fund managers and other potential investors will take note as well.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Dubai SME rankings however is not the effect that they have on other people, but the impact that they make on the companies that take part in the ranking process. Going through the assessment, analysing the feedback received from the assessors afterwards, and looking at what other companies are doing, can be an enlightening experience that makes a business think hard about where it is going, why it is going there, and whether it is taking the best route. A company might realise, for example, that it has been ignoring lucrative possibilities for international expansion simply because no one in the business had taken the initiative to find out about them. Or the penny might drop that failure to incentivise staff is preventing the business from reaching its true potential.

So if you achieved a Dubai SME 100 ranking this November, there are many ways to capitalise on your success. If not, there is always next year.

About the author

Mark Fisher
Senior Vice President
Head of Corporate Communications & Marketing, Nasdaq Dubai
Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher joined the exchange in 2004, a year before it opened. Previously he worked as a journalist in reporting and editing roles with eFinancialCareers.com, Financial News, the BBC World Service, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and the South China Morning Post. He has also worked as a solicitor in the UK and Hong Kong.

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