Saturday, May 17, 2008

What does it take to get that all important "stamp of approval" around here?

My Bahraini friend and I have been running an events business for over a year now...alot of this business is seeking sponsors...or approval...for your idea or event. Every etc needs sponsors...a patron...and lots of extras signing up and taking part. So alot of our job is phone calls...emails...and personal visits to potential sponsors and patrons. In this business you expect to have quite a few no's before you get some yes's...its all part of the game...but after being in the game for over a is what I have learned about the business of Events Management...and finding sponsors and patrons.

1. Bahrainis(as those are who we deal with mostly on a day to day basis) are very reluctant to put their ok on something that someone else hasnt okayed first. One of the first questions we will invaribly get is...."who else has agreed to sign up?"

2. Bahrainis will more likely do business with you and give their ok if your someone well known...if your new to the game or someone they dont know...they pretty much wont give you the time of day. If your unknown but come in with someones name as a recommendation(wasta) they will perk up and listen to you....even if they dont accept your proposal in the end...without wasta in most cant even get an appointment with them.

3. Bahrainis will most likely listen up if I...the business with them rather then my friend...a fellow Bahraini. We both know this so many times when its to our benefit I will be the one that steps forward and deals with the issue...even though she speaks the Arabic and her family are well known. This doesnt mean they will accept the idea in the end....but the chances are better. Im not sure why this would seem the Bahrainis would be more interested in helping each other out then helping foreigners...I mean the constant lament I hear everywhere is that foreigners get all the breaks and Bahrainis get nothing...or leftovers...yet when the opportunity to help another Bahraini in their business is before them....they will refuse without even giving a moment of their time to hear the proposal or business idea.

4. The days of keeping your word...something I noticed way back when I first came here...the proverbial business on a handshake long gone. How many times have we had verbal agreements from someone...only to have them back out later when we needed written confirmation. Its happened far too often so seems to be some sort of trend. If you cant get it down on paper quickly...its likely you havent really got a deal with them so dont be surprised when they pull out later with some lame excuse. This is a terrible way to do business and I cant see the image of Bahrain improving or benefiting from this in anyway. It makes it all that more interesting when these same people will come back to you later wanting some sort of favour from you...seemingly forgetting they left you in the lurch previously....go figure!

What I find most frustrating is that the ministries on this island are the hardest to pin would seem they are the first establishments that would be willing to help Bahrainis get a foothold and lend a helping hand when they can. Ministers have the power of their very names to give an event a boost up...thats all they have to give basically...their name...and yet so many times they decline...for what reason? What are they loosing by agreeing to having their name at the top of the letterhead or on the banner promoting the event? I have seen some ministers being patrons or sponsors for some very...shall I say yet for something that deals directly with their ministerial position...they can be quite reluctant. I dont understand the reasoning behind this.

Right now we are on the hunt for sponsors and a patron for our Health & Beauty event. We are looking for sponsors that deal with dentistry...cosmetic surgery...spas etc...anything really that pertains to enhancing health and beauty....we have had many doors closed on us because we havent found a patron many are reluctant to sign up without a patron stated...what exactly has this got to do with that...the event will go ahead whether or not there is a stated patron...but it seems to be such a stumbling block for the local population. There needs to be a stamp of approval from a "bigwig" before all the "littlewigs" will get in line. Its extremely frustrating and hard to take people seriously...are you doing business or earning brownie points with your "betters"? I just dont understand it. I applaud the sponsors we have found and those willing to sign up even without a patron least they realize that business is business.

How can Bahrainis expect to decrease the foreign population to any degree when they are so very reluctant to help each other out in even the smallest of ways? It would seem you are more agreeable to doing business with foreigners then with each other...can someone explain it to me cause its not making sense from my side.

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