In an interview at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Sassan Khatib-Shahidi, co-founder and CEO of Dubai-based printer cartridge manufacturer, German Imaging Technologies, explains how his company went from near-bankruptcy, to a total pivot, to now being ranked #11 on Arabia500's fastest-growing Dubai SME 100 list.
After moving from Germany to Dubai, Khatib-Shahidi started his company in 1999. With an initial rough start, they had two options, “pack your suitcases and run,” he says, or “stay and work hard.” They chose the latter and since then has shifted his business model from pure manufacturing and outsourcing, to actually creating their own product, marketing and selling it in the UAE. “We started with a model, we invested, we lost our money, that model failed; we needed to be adaptable,” he explains.
Khatib-Shahidi also discusses the importance of highlighting your value proposition to consumers, showing them how your company fits their needs, instead of marketing what you think is important or what you want to achieve. For example, German Imaging Technologies produces environmentally friendly printer cartridges but, while this is important to the company, customers just want their printer cartridges and may not be interested in whether it protects the environment.
Check out this chat with Khatib-Shahidi to see how he rebuilt after failure and completely rethought his business model to meet an emerging need in Dubai. He also offers key advice for any entrepreneur on the need to be adaptable in your market.