June 20, 2018
4 min read
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As the CEO of Dubai Design District, d3, I’ve seen the journey of many entrepreneurs that chose d3’s creative community as a platform to kickstart their businesses. With that experience in mind, here are my suggestions on what you, as an entrepreneur, can do to move ahead with your ventures:
1. Think big There is no limit to what a person or people can achieve in this time and age. The greatest ideas always seem impossible at the beginning, but with the right drive and ambition, anything is possible.
2. Set goals Set clear and realistic top-level goals, then start developing smaller goals (your strategy) that will help you achieve the larger goals. This will help you to keep track of your progress, and aid you in assessing priority tasks.
3. Network Spend time connecting with experts and other like-minded entrepreneurs in your industry or related industries. Listening to other people’s journeys, struggles, and successes counts as valuable information- they can facilitate your journey, and help you discover options that you may not have thought of before. Attend industry talks and events to meet people- at d3, for instance, we hold various industry talks and events whilst also using our co-working spaces to encourage networking.
4. Make mistakes Do not be afraid of making mistakes. Just make sure you learn from them.
5. Work hard Nothing comes easy- if you aspire to greatness, you need to put in the work. Every morning, remind yourself of your goals and who you aspire to be, this will keep you motivated every day.
6. Celebrate Make sure you celebrate the small successes- it takes time to build an empire. Praise your staff and colleagues on the smaller achievements; it will leave them feeling appreciated and motivated.
7. Seek guidance Good advice can go a long way! People with experience can help you look at the bigger picture, and provide interesting insights into the field you are interested in. At d3, we have several entities such as Dubai Design and Fashion Council and in5 Design that offer advice for new businesses. There is also the Dubai Institute of Design Innovation (DIDI) that holds workshops and short courses for designers.
8. Be confident If you do not believe in yourself, others will not believe in you. We have young entrepreneurs across the UAE, who have been dedicated to establishing a name for themselves. In April, we had the pleasure of taking 11 Emirati designers to the world’s largest design fair, Salone del Mobile in Milan. They had the opportunity to present their work to the design industry at an international level.
9. Get creative Always try to push the limits of your thinking and elevate your ideas. One of d3’s retailers, Montroi, started with two people coming together from different industries to create a luxury brand. They started with a pop-up in d3, and then due to the success they saw, they took out a permanent retail space, and have now expanded to several locations across the UAE.
10. Future trends Stay on top of trends. Always think of ways to differentiate your brand from others, and be innovative. Study your environment, and your target audience.
11. Be passionate Follow your passion, and love what you do. We have multiple business partners that have changed or diversified their careers. The owners of The Light House restaurant, for example, were investment bankers who came up with the idea of creating a unique concept restaurant that also sells quirky items such as teacup sets, books and other accessories. At first, it may seem daunting, but in the long run, it will be rewarding.