Patience, focus and the ability to take risks are the three characteristics that Souad Al Hosani believes are necessary for a person to fulfill their life goals.
“To have those characteristics is so hard – it took me years to learn them,” says the Emirati businesswoman, who founded Nexus Business Services in 2009. Her Abu Dhabi-based company provides a one-stop shop for those wanting to establish a business in the capital. “Also [you need to] listen more than you talk, learn from people’s mistakes and try to avoid making them as much as possible,” she adds.
The idea for Nexus came to Al Hosani after she spent time as an intern at the British embassy. Seven years on, and as a result of a lot of hard work and persistence, the company now employs 20 staff and is a go-to for entrepreneurs across the UAE.
For those who want to set up their own business, Al Hosani says that the biggest challenge, besides time, is capital. “Sometimes I wish a day had longer hours. For a business to grow, it needs to be able to cover its main expenses. Securing clients and maintaining them is another challenge, especially when the market is very competitive.”
When not focusing on the job, Al Hosani, an HR graduate from the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, likes to travel or be around her family and friends.
“A typical day in my life consists of meetings, events and networking, but I try my best to have some spare hours to work out, meet friends and spend quality time with family,” she says.
Al Hosani is from a large family – she has nine brothers and three sisters – and credits them with helping her achieve her goals. “I have a very supportive family, and my friends, too, have helped me to reach where I am today.”
So what’s next for Al Hosani? She wants to expand Nexus’s services all over the world. But more importantly, she wants to transfer her knowledge to the next generation. “I would like to support entrepreneurs and help them expand their businesses.”
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
Water, food and my iPhone. I am married to it.
If you could photograph any one thing or place in the world, what would it be?
Bora Bora. It seems like a place I can be with my friends, relaxing by the beach and enjoying all types of activities.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
London – it’s my second home. There is always something to do all day long.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
I love Zuma. The atmosphere and menu is amazing.
What music do you have on repeat at the moment, and what is it that you love about it?
I love classical music on FM. I tend to listen to it a lot as it puts me at peace after a long day.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
My father always advised me if there is something that I wanted so badly and couldn’t have, it is because there is something better to come beyond it.
What sort of car do you drive, and what does it say about you?
I currently drive an Audi A8. It’s so relaxing, and it’s very comfortable for long distances.
What’s your all-time favourite movie?
Up in the Air featuring George Clooney. The story is amazing, from a personal and business perspective.
What’s your favourite landmark in the UAE that you recommend to tourists?
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – it has amazing architecture and is the most peaceful place to be in.
What do you do to relax?
I tend to go to a restaurant by the beach or to one of the resorts such as Qasr Al Sarab or to Sir Bani Yas Island – they allow me to relax and switch off.
Souad Al Hosani, the founder of Nexus Business Services, has big plans. Pawan Singh / The National