It is a general belief that humans are witnessing the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Thanks to the n-number of blooming businesses. However, every blossom comes with its own set of obstacles. To run a business and in order to succeed in that business, entrepreneurs must investigate a number of tasks, ranging from human resources and accounting to technical support.
Figuring out everything in one place alongside making the business thrive has its own set of intangible complications. But thanks to the ease of hiring consultants, who provide a wide array of skills to assist business owners in upgrading their endeavors.
One of the fundamental conducts of human resource consultants is how they execute business alongside implying ethical values that define the company’s character. Maintaining and reinforcing world-class ethical practice, KEO International Consultants is one of the most popular regional leader of the largest Middle Eastern Consultancy Firms. It is built upon fair dealings and ethical conduct principles and the company adheres to careful observation of all applicable laws and regulations.
Standing at the guiding light is its President and Chief Executive Officer, Donna Sultan. In an interview with Insights Success, Donna talks about the role of KEO and how she endeavors to scale its business in the upcoming year.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about KEO International Consultants.
KEO is a creative enterprise where innovation is a way of life. We are uniquely resourced with our end-to-end services to take clients from inspiration – through conceptualization – to the realization of planning, design, or project delivery in the built and natural environments. For over 57 years, we’ve led with vision, contributing to many of the world’s most ambitious projects, iconic places, remarkable experiences, and prosperous communities.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your company to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
KEO has a world-class Health & Safety team that has done an outstanding job keeping people safe on the sites we manage throughout the GCC. From the start of the pandemic, our Health & Safety leaders have played a crucial role in helping set corporate policies to protect our staff and make sure that we successfully navigate through the pandemic. We are proud to say that we have vaccinated nearly 70% of our staff and been able to keep our people well protected over the past 18 months.
Under the leadership of the CEO, KEO Senior Management has been relentlessly focused on the well-being of the staff. COVID management protocols are reviewed on a regular basis and are a priority agenda item during each senior management meeting.
We attribute our ability to have managed through the pandemic to our people’s incredible team spirit and outstanding professionalism. We look after our people and our operations with equal care, and the result has been a business that has come through this crisis in strong shape and is ready to grow.
It is a simple axiom; when you take care of the people, the people will take care of your organization.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the business world?
Three key pieces of advice:
- Make sure you are doing something that you care deeply about and have a passion for.
- “Does your product or service meet the needs of the market?” The number one factor linked to the success of start-ups is timing, start-ups that have the right product at the right time succeed.
- Cash flow and cash reserves are essential to any enterprise and even more so for a new organization. History is littered with companies that did not get off the ground because of poor cash planning. Think carefully about your cash requirements and plan accordingly so that you can create the vital time and space necessary to get your business off the ground.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021? –
KEO is already one of the largest consultancies in the GCC. Our mission now is not so much about scaling the business but about how we can provide higher value-added services for our clients. To that end, we are expanding our sustainability, environmental and advisory practices to capture a larger share of these rapidly growing market segments.
KEO has always been at the forefront in terms of the use of technology in our operations. We are continuing to invest heavily in BIM and digital technologies that are an essential part of the modern design and construction world. We are one of a select few fully certified BIM consultancies in the GCC and recently launched our BIM consulting practice to help our clients work in the BIM environment.
On the advisory side, we have recently launched our Black Mule practice, which is a Real Estate Investment, Redevelopment & Advisory Services. The Black Mule team leverages KEO’s extraordinary skills and market knowledge to help our partner clients bring back to life stalled under-construction projects that are in need of fresh capital and new ideas. The Black Mule team also assists clients in implementing business process improvement programs to enhance operations and increase operating cash flows.
All that said, we emphasize that as a firm, we will not compromise on delivering the best quality solutions to our core clients. We know that our first duty is towards our clients and making sure that we exceed their expectations. While we are very excited about our new digital, advisory, and sustainability offerings, we know that it is essential that we maximize the value we create from our core business lines.
What is your opinion on the future of the business world with respect to customers’/consumers’ changing preferences and choices?
The construction industry has been very slow when it comes to change. Because of the labor-intensive nature of both the construction and apparel industries, they have seen the lowest levels of productivity growth over the past thirty years despite the massive advances in technology over the same period.
However, a new era is upon us. Thanks to cutting-edge technologies that are forcing much-needed change and advancements across the industry. Finally, the advent of lower-cost new technologies has brought about the modernization of the whole industry.
It is vital for KEO and all other consultancies to embrace the wave of change that has resulted from the advent of new technologies. It is not enough for us to simply provide drawings and designs so that clients can build new projects. We need to take a holistic look at clients’ requirements and always think of ways to add more value to their projects.
In a highly competitive world where clients can choose from a multitude of designers, the way to stand out is through excellence in service and innovation in thinking. At KEO, we articulate the future for our clients by providing end-to-end solutions that go beyond just meeting the requirements of the client brief. We help our clients consider the long-term implications of design decisions not only in terms of dollars and cents profit decisions today but how they can maximize the value of their projects over thirty to forty-year time horizons. This means bringing to the table the latest in BIM modeling and sustainability offerings to demonstrate how small incremental investments during construction can lead to significant upside value during the project’s operational life.
Citizens around the world demand more of their urban infrastructure, and thus it is incumbent on KEO to bring to life inspired designs and developments with a deep sense of place and identity. While the right location is the cornerstone of any successful development, the right design is what can really make the project fly. Our role is to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary through the minds of our exceptional staff.