1- Don’t fall in love with a dream

Many people fantasize about starting a restaurant and having their friends over for dinner, or selling clothes and having a lifetime supply of “awesomeness”. It’s definitely cool to follow your dreams, if that is your specialty! A major mistake startups make is not having the necessary knowledge, experience, or expertise in a particular field and running completely on the daydream of the finished product. Before they know it, the passion has run out, reality has hit, they are bleeding money, and have no customers or income. Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before you start. Just because you are awesome at ordering sushi, that doesn’t make you a sushi chef.

2- Don’t fight with government employees

Although Bahrain is considered “Business friendly” relative to its GCC neighbors; it still leaves a lot to be desired. Red tape may snag your nerves, employees playing “hot potato” with your applications may be frustrating, and the helplessness you feel not knowing where to go or how to finish your paperwork may kill your soul. Keep your chin up, and your nerves cool. Bahrain realizes it has a lot to fix, and we all need to be part of the solution and not the problem. Don’t fight, stand your ground, be patient, and talk calmly but firmly to the supervisor/manager.

3- Don’t partner with friends or family

As a matter of fact, try not to partner with anyone at all if possible. It’s always a good feeling to have those you love and trust around. When things are going good, they’re great! But when they go bad (and in business there is always a rough time), they get much worse; because it’s harder to face your friends with their mistakes and issues than an employee or a stranger. Things get very personal, very quickly. It’s also very hard to attain a balance of roles and responsibilities in a symbiotic relationship, and eventually resentment can creep in. So keep your business and personal life separate, and try to avoid partnering unless it’s crucial.

4- Don’t neglect Tamkeen support programs & benefits

Tamkeen is awesome, and so are its privileges and programs. It is also a startup though, and is still working to improve its efficiency, speed, and clarity. I challenge you to find a better scheme internationally that throws that much money at its people. Go straight to them and find out how they can help you.

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5- Don’t burn your budget “just cuz you can”

It’s nice to have money, and its also nicer to spend it! Getting a nice office, furniture, and coffee machine are fine, but before you know it you could be in debt. Do NOT spend your company money unless it’s critical and you can get a return out of it. Once you begin taking a salary, that money is yours to burn. Try starting off in a Business center where you have a good idea of monthly spending, then expand only when you NEED to.

6- Don’t borrow money from family and friends

Having easy money makes it easier to spend, and harder to pay back, no matter how much you love the lender. Also, it will definitely help you lose that person if you can’t pay it back. If a bank, government scheme, or angel investor won’t give you the loan then I’m sorry, but your idea probably needs more work. Go the hard way, nothing that’s worth it comes easy.

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