Horizontal vs Veritical: The Growth Dilemma of Startups in 2021

Which direction should you scale your startup in 2021 – horizontally or vertically?

The months ahead continue to look challenging for companies of all shapes and sizes and across most geographies. The Middle East and North Africa region, too, will continue to grapple with challenges intrinsic to the on-going pandemic situation. Not to forget, the UAE faces an unique problem of a shrinking population because of the region’s typically higher expat vs resident mix. 

Markets are not at a complete standstill, leaving substantial scope and room for growth. For example, according to the Dubai government’s statistics, the emirate’s GDP is expected to increase by 4% in 2021. This is encouraging news considering Dubai’s 6.2% GDP contraction last year. A Lazard Market Research study noted that the UAE would most likely recover quickly once vaccine distribution occurs. It attributed this sunny outlook to Abu Dhabi’s “deep pockets and 100s of years of oil reserves” and the Dubai government’s potential to take quick action that will aid recovery. 

However, it is quite challenging to identify an actionable strategy that can promote stability and profits despite the constraints and uncertainties presented by the pandemic. So, the biggest question that lies before startups is:

How to strategise the business growth plan – horizontally or vertically? 

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