The emerging opportunities for Omani businesses in overseas markets are immense. To help existing and potential Omani exporters, as well as the wider business community, take advantage of everything the international market has to offer, Ithraa has organised Oman Export Week 2019 (OEW19) at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre during Oct 27 – 31, 2019.
In the lead up to this event we are interviewing OEW19 workshop presenters, giving them the chance to preview their workshop themes.
1. So, in no more than 30 seconds, tell us your elevator pitch. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Paul Ross. I’m a creative entrepreneur — an independent consultant based in Muscat. I’m also Director, Middle East, London Advertising.
2. Can you tell us about your OEW19 workshop and what can attendees expect to learn from the session?
Khalid al Haribi and I are running a session during OEW19 — open to businesses already exporting and to those considering global markets — where we’ll share our expertise on how to craft a story born out of purpose.
Your story needs to be as distinctive as your business. And when you add in the values that make Oman distinctive as a country — we create an Oman story. Together, we can build the sultanate’s global reputation and grow opportunities for all Omanis by sharing our stories.
3. Do you think there is an awakening going on with start-ups and small businesses? They’re starting to see there are opportunities out there. How can we encourage people who don’t see themselves as exporters, but have the potential?
I think Ithraa’s Oman Export Week is a brilliant initiative offering local companies inspiration through a unique set of opportunities.
4. How can a small business know when its ready to export? What are the boxes they need to tick before taking the plunge?
Interestingly, I recently listened to an episode ‘Going Global’ in the Greymatter Blitzscaling series, with Reid Hoffman, where they discussed when an entrepreneur should start to think about going global. Some of the key considerations are whether there is a natural product-market fit, a user base, an addressable market (revenue opportunity) that is valuable, and how much work is involved to get there? Multi-language support creates UI and other constraints. So, for Omani companies, the right strategy may be to focus on either the global Arabic or English-language market. Finally, a key element of successful globalisation is hiring a specialist(s) to launch the international business.
5. How do you see global trading patterns changing in the future?
It is becoming increasingly clear that sustainable purpose-driven businesses are not only crucial for us but for business itself.
6. Do you think overseas business leads to fresh ideas and innovation, helping upgrade products and services?
Yes. I think it’s really important to open your mind, expand your experience. One way to build empathy for consumers is to observe them in the real world. Get out there and spend the day with consumers, or with companies that are doing innovative things with great results. You will come back inspired about your potential impact.
7. You only have so long to capture a potential customer’s attention and even less before you lose it! So you have to get straight to the point. What advice would you give small firms trying to tell their story in a new market?
I would encourage SMEs to attend our session on storytelling during OEW19 at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.
8. What opportunities in terms of sectors and markets are there for Omani businesses in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa?
We have an opportunity to create new Omani storytellers across priority sectors that showcase innovation and expertise in manufacturing, fisheries and mining, tourism as well as transport and logistics.
9. What advice would you give a founder or CEO who’s just starting their exporting journey?
First, it’s advantageous if you have some tailwinds propelling your business. Second, you need a love of understanding customers. Third, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of the one thing you want to stand for. And never deviate from it. Like Apple. It will also help to have products as brilliant as theirs. Finally, you need a unique story you can share with the world.
10. Can you share with us what you believe will be the top three exporting trends over the next few years?
In the twenty-first century, the companies that will succeed are those that build sustainable purpose-driven businesses. As consumers become more aware of the environmental implications of their purchases, global brands need to work harder to address climate impacts across their supply chains. Companies have to ask themselves how they are impacting the world and what story the world is telling back to them.
About Oman Export Week (OEW19)
OEW19 is an unmissable event for those working or trading overseas. If you are thinking about taking your business international, or looking to expand your global foothold, then you need to be at OEW19 (27 – 31 October 2019). In today’s economic climate, it is never been more important to take advantage of trading internationally. What makes OEW19 even more brilliant? It’s free to attend! To register, visit events.ithraa.om