Is It Hard To Run Business In Morocco? | Testimonials Of 5 Entrepreneurs

Opening one’s own business is every entrepreneur’s dream. Some people don’t realize how much work and stress it costs (like me, for example, and I am sure that many of you too).

Opening a business in Morocco, from my perspective, was a bumpy road. If you follow my adventures, you know what I am talking about. I know that I am not the only one who has had this experience, and I asked my dear friends who run their businesses in Morocco to share their experience with you.

Don’t worry! Being your own boss is not bad, it is full of beautiful moments, satisfaction, and passion, too!

Meryem, Moroccan – Owner of Introspectus interior design company

 Dear entrepreneur-to-be,

here is my experience of starting my business, and some advices from me to you. Starting my business was like a parachute jump, full of challenges and lot of courage.

Learning to accept failures, not reach my ambitions, losing money and losing credibility toward my people and environment, but on the other hand, I had the ability to invest in my development, a freedom to work in the conditions that suit me, to defend my own human and professional values and finally having the ability to broaden my horizons of personal and professional development.

The beginning costed me a lot of courage. If not for that, the business would have never started, courage to jump to the entrepreneurial world, courage of trusting on my own-self, courage for affronting difficulties and accept the possibility of failing, and courage of waking up the early morning without having a boss above my head.

The most difficult obstacles to overcome in Morocco and as a young Moroccan female entrepreneur are:

-Build the trust between the customer and me
-Start from zero without any recommendations.
-Make my fees acceptable and affordable
-Be paid after the work is finished.
-To respect me as a woman.
-To make me respected as a young person.
-Manage craft industry: respect deadlines, being tough and consequent as a leader of the project.
-Make customers and craft industry distinguish between kindness, humility and respect.

What I can tell you if you are about to start your business:

-It’s normal to not have earnings the first months/year
-Its not easy to get clients at the beginning
-Never stop believing in your project, persistence is the key
-You can’t know everything, keep on learning even while involved in entrepreneurial world
-Ask advices from seniors
-Admit that some clients are never satisfied as long they have to pay for your service
-Yes you have to work more hours for your own business than when you are an employee
-Renew the love you have for your activity, being passionate is the only source of energy that will make you stand the hard times
-If you have opportunities, travel to see how it works in other places/countries

I graduated in 2011, had couple of years of professional experience with different local and international companies, and then I did it. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 5 years now!

INTROSPECTUS was the name of my final project study, today its the name of my interior design company and artistic creations. I’m really proud of it.

Looking forward to your parachute jump,

Good luck
Meryem

Meryem, photo source: Instospectus Facebook page


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Kenza & Omar, Moroccan & Belgian-Moroccan – Owners of Marrakesh Organics

As it is everywhere, starting a business in Morocco has its challenges and opportunities. It is true that long administrative procedures, legal hurdles, unclear paperwork and specializedwork force have all made it quite challenging for us the first 2 years, nevertheless Morocco provided us with many positive outcomes such as a good quality of life, the warmth and richness of the culture and a very generous and hardworking people.

We were skeptical at first to see if there was going to be an audience for Sustainability trainings, we took a shot and we got lucky because Permaculture was getting around as a buzzword and there was a curious audience willing to ride the wave. This also coincided with a period where people were becoming more health conscious that has helped our Organic vegetable sales and farm to table tours.

Our main challenges have been related to the agriculture side of our operations with typical problems being water shortages, unpredictable seasons & climate change, lack of specialized nurseries, adapted seed varieties and specialized equipment and lastly the lack of regenerative agricultural trials and data. Marrakesh Organic’s core mission is to solve most of these problems.

Being near Marrakech was a great advantage for us because we host a multitude of nationalities from around the world who have all enriched our experience, people have come all the way from Sweden, Poland, Tunisia, Lebanon, Spain, France, UK, Ireland, US, to name a few.

The way we see it, anywhere you go on the planet you can never have it all and there will always be compromises to make. Resilience, patience and deep passion for what we do is what motivates our business.

Monika, Polish – Owner of Ayaso Concept Store

Running a business in Morocco is an adventure. I run my business with my husband, he is Moroccan and, trust me, it does help a lot! I think if I were alone, I wouldn’t have opened it at all. My husband understands the very specific ways of dealing with Moroccans. It’s not easy!

When I started the business, I promised myself I’d never say “Inshallah

Right now, after 3 years of running Ayaso Concept Store, I use it all the time. I work with very reliable distributors, but they rely on the Moroccan customs that work on a different basis than we do and we can do nothing about it (even though we use the modern systems and we manage the stock well). Well, I had nothing else but to tell my clients that it just works like this in Morocco.

You should know that there is one important thing when running a business in Morocco: to have a good accountant! The right one is the key to the succesful business. I’ve lived in Morocco for 13 years and still don’t understand why does this country have such a big issue with finding the right employees? I have a great team of young people working with me, but it took be lot of time and hard work to get them on the right path. At the moment they really feel the mission of our concept store and I am really proud of them! People around me keep telling me that I am lucky to have a team like this. Besides, it’s a real adventure for me, we run a concept store which is a cafe, restaurant and a conference place – all in one. It’s not a regular business, it’s our place to connect people and pass them the information about changing the way of life. Out mission is to show others that they can change the world by choosing a different lifestyle. It’s a real teamwork, it has its ups and downs but so far, as we’ve been together, we’ve made it work!

Monika and Irene Grosjean. Photo source: Ayaso Facebook page

Shiraz, British-Tunisian – Owner of Amayour Surf Hostel

Starting a business in Morocco can be both a magical challenge and one that you should be very proud of even attempting and a beauractical minefield.  You could compare it to a marathon in which you think think that you have finishing line in your sights, but really you have still miles to go!

My partner, Mhand, and I run a surf hostel in Taghazout and had not ran a buisness like this before even though it was a dream to. So it was a major learning curve, even though we knew how we envisoned it. We grew this business from the ground up with no outside investmnet. So everyone who has stayed in Amayour Surf has contruibuted to its success.

 This woud have been unlikey to happen back in the UK without some large amount of captial.
 From my experience of being self-employed in the UK to starting a business here in Taghazout, there are similarities in tax law yet differences in procedures. I have not run a company in the UK so that may be a factor.
 Here you must have an accountant to make all the necessary paperwork which you must get stamped and signed seemingly a million times. You must register your company name and it has to be in a journal unlike in the UK which you must just register yourself ( as in my experience and then make sure that your tax returns are done) This process take time and money. It is better to have someone who can speak the language
With a hostel then there is safety in mind and you must adhere to the regulations or you will not become authorised to hold tourists.  You must have been signed off by all the relevant authorities before having your legalisation. This also takes time and money.

So after all the legal and beauractical issues there is the more fun stuff shopping & decorating, this is a fun process ( altough as with most things time and moey are factors!) as it’s a creative one and coming from creative industries I like this part

Making our hostel has been constant work in process which I enjoy,

I take it as a project that is a rolling one. You can visually see each improvement and invest directly back into your company. Which in turn nourishes you.

Returning guests love this too. Marketing the hostel is also a challenge but after the first year I really started to work with the press, our first season was slow but regular enough to build a solid business and getting really good reviews.
This has been a major factor and really helped Amayour along and word of mouth and working with good people from our team on the ground to the pr and bloggers. We are really looking forward to the 3rd season of Amayour and the new changes that it brings.
Shiraz and M’hand pimping the hostel. Photo source: Amayour Surf Facebook page

Issam, Moroccan – Owner of Jatcom Agency

Jatcom is the fullfilment of my dreams.

The key to the beginning of my business adventure was my passion and dreams. What I can say after a couple of years that I have been running my company, is that success is not about being an engineer. It is about your motivation.

Opening a business is like a cruise. I can’t go alone to start. It’s like small boats united together that push each other towards the destination. I remember a Spanish company I worked for, that gave me a huge opportunity to learn how to manage everything myself, how to face challenges. I had a great chance to combine my enringeering and marketing skills that right now I use on a daily basis in my own company.

When it comes to the paperwork, we faced many difficulties to make the administrative part work out. As you may know administration in Morocco is not fully computerized, what may cause some issues, but it is the beginning and starts to develop in the right direction.

Issam and I during Pages-The Other Sides Of Morocco, the event I organized and Issam covered the photography and videos

Are you encouraged to open your business in Morocco now? What are your experiences in running your own company? Share!

Here are some of my personal Amazon picks for entrepreneurs-to-be in Morocco. If you buy via my affiliate link (click below) – Amazon will reward me with a small commission:




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