We talked to Evgeniya Tsiazhkina of UAE-Consultants who are the number one business setup consultant in Dubai and this is what he had to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: The period when everyone was locked at home was just three weeks long, and as such, the lockdown time was perceived as a short break from the office. It was nice to work from the home’s comfort, though sometimes struggling to hide from our two-year-old child roaming around. Covid-19 showed us that our family business was ready to embrace the challenge, so we had no time to think of the pandemic but rather follow all safety rules and keep working hard. The second half of May and the first half of June 2020 were the slowest months in business; however, our company never faced losses even during those slowest months.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UAE-Consultants?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: I had started a career in a US boutique law firm in Dubai, and four years down the road, together with my husband, we founded a business consulting boutique, Business Boutique DMCC | UAE-Consultants, assisting entrepreneurs with business set-up, investor visas, and many other aspects of their business life. Now during the pandemic, we launched our second company, which is a real estate company, Elite & Luxury Real Estate | Dubai-Realty.com, offering assistance with the purchase, lease, and management of luxury properties in Dubai
How does UAE-Consultants innovate?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: We always go hand in hand with all the latest digital developments; therefore, there is not a single day where we don’t implement a new solution allowing us as a business to become more efficient by engaging fewer resources. We have long automated our recruitment processes, developed our very own internal management system, implemented and customized CRM system, and so much more. Long before the pandemic, we had made it possible to manage all company processes remotely without all employees’ need to be in the office. Lockdown time just proved that we did all necessary set-up for remote work timely and had enough time to ensure that all processes go smoothly.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: We did not have to make any difficult decisions during the lockdown or even later. I would rather say that we did not have bad times. As of September 2020, we reached figures that we had before pandemics, so I would say we are safely back on track.
We have analyzed the reasons for us successfully copying with the coronavirus pandemics affects, and we can name the following:
1. We have been in the market for 3.5 years already as the pandemic started, so we had a considerable network of clients who we continued to assist during the lockdown;
2. 50% or more of our clients are high net worth individuals and big corporate entities, for whom work never stopped, and we also had many projects to complete;
3. In our type of business, there is always a considerable “safety cushion” in terms of the projects to be completed. This is because clients come to us for assistance with company formation. We help arrange an investor or employment visa, next open a bank account, and more services after the mentioned ones. Since clients prepay all projects in advance and write off our fees only upon completing the project, clients who, say, came to us in January 2020 with several prepaid projects and are served until June or even July of 2020. This means that the client who comes in January guarantees us payments to be debited over the next 5 to 6 months;
4. We have implemented a lot of digital instruments to become more efficient, invested into and developed our very own internal management system (precisely during the pandemics months), used the time to get ready for the launch of our real estate company;
5. Being a boutique company with 15 staff members, we have always strived not to be more prominent in terms of the number of employed people, but be more efficient and serve more clients. As such, the absence of high operational costs also played a positive role.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: Compared to other industries, such as tourism, education, sports, and more, we did not have to make any difficult choices. We did not let any of our team members go; we never delayed their salaries or decreased them. Instead, we hired additional two people this autumn 2020 and invested in developing our internal management system. Pandemics showed us that we do everything right, and we shall continue innovating and implementing new solutions.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and UAE-Consultants in the future?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: In the first years of business existence, you learn that an entrepreneur’s life is a path of constant ups and downs. It brings a lot of stress and anxiety into your life. However, as the years go by, you learn to adapt and change your attitude towards stressful situations and accept that all stress and anxiety are part of your business life. So, if before I would have to practice yoga to unwind, today switching to a home routine in the evening is enough to conquer stress and anxiety.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: We have over 3000 business consulting companies in the UAE. Some of them are big well-known brands; some are recent start-ups of 2 to 3 people; medium-sized companies and small-sized companies. So the competition is quite intense in this industry. We at Business Boutique DMCC UAE-Consultants provide a bespoke service to entrepreneurs and cater to all their needs in the UAE. We call ourselves a boutique consulting company, where a team of 15 people serving clients who require attention and professional advice. Clients know they can call us any time, and instead of receiving a quotation or invoice outright, they get incredibly professional support, recommendations, and advice. Sometimes we refer to ourselves as “doers” and make jokes that our clients are those individuals and companies whose projects had to be completed yesterday already.
Finally, we prefer quality over quantity. We know that many businesses in this industry lose quality over quantity, and we want to ensure that we maintain this competitive advantage over time. Active online presence, consistent implementation of various digital solutions, and enhancement of internal management systems will give us a more competitive advantage in the coming months and years.
Your final thoughts?
Evgeniya Tsiazhkina: If you believe in your product and you put heart and soul into it, if you work on upgrading your knowledge, if you follow the trends and do not lag, if you can adapt fast, no pandemics would ruin the business. I am sure that I am not the first to say that pandemics taught us a great lesson to be prepared no matter what happens.