The Entrepreneur: Proactive business planning is imperative to success

MUSCAT, FEB 18  –  Five Oceans, an innovative player in Oman’s hugely lucrative seafood processing industry, has credited its growing success to its strongly proactive business philosophy.

“Our business plan is proactive-oriented where we strive to stay on top of things,” said Dawood al Wahaibi, General Manager. “We have developed a masterplan of vertical expansion capitalizing on what assets we have and develop business enhancement units without any capital draw-down,” he explained.

Five Oceans is a limited liability company established in 2002 and started operations a year later. Initially, the company had two main activities: Environmental services that provide environmental impact assessment studies and mitigation masterplans (www.5oes.com); and fish processing and exports (www.5oceansoman.com). Five Oceans has since expanded with the construction of a fully HACCP-approved facility in the Wilayat of Bidbid.

“We have registered a trademark and work is in progress to create an effective recipe for our products to provide high quality seafood in Oman. We do have a management team that tries to make sure the business is up and running, while a board of directors has been created to make sure that the plans are implemented,” Al Wahaibi noted.

A veteran of the fisheries sector, Al Wahaibi previously worked in the Marine Science and Fisheries Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. He was fascinated by the marine world and the fisheries wealth of Oman. After a stint in the government sector, he then worked for few years in the private sector until 1996 until an opportunity came for him to export fish and fish products to the international market.

The food business, the General Manager points out, is primarily driven by three criteria: Quality, Continuity and Price. To this end, Five Oceans has acquired three of the most important certifications in the food business – US FDA approval, EU HACCP approval, and the newly introduced BRC approval (British Retail Consortium) certification. “All of these have helped us getting a good share of the local and international market,” he said.

His advice to Omani entrepreneurs is straight-forward: “First go to the legal and administrative bodies in Oman, understand the existing rules and regulations. Oman holds plenty of good business opportunities, and with help from the Government, we do see the rise of young Omanis becoming entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

But he cautions that the journey to entrepreneurship is not without its share of challenges. “Overcoming some of these obstacles can be extremely hard, but one must keep going and try to find solutions through continued discussions with the stakeholders,” Al Wahaibi added.