Five ways to boost your small business during and after Ramadan

As businesses navigate the last ten days of Ramadan, some key lessons can be learned and applied during - and after - the holy month

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Emirates Towers are seen between the twin minarets of a mosque in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Emirates Towers are seen between the twin minarets of a mosque in Dubai.

REUTERS/Steve Crisp

With Ramadan comes a change in business culture: shorter working hours, lower energy levels, and the accompanying reduction in productivity. But that doesn’t mean business should suffer. In fact, entrepreneurs can boost efficiency with some very simple, tried-and-tested tips. And some of them can even be carried over to a work structure post-Eid.

  • RECHARGE AND REBOOT

Many view shorter working hours as something of an inconvenience but offering employees time to disconnect and recharge shouldn’t be underestimated.

People in young startups usually work round the clock and don’t get much time off, so Ramadan can offer a good opportunity to slow down and learn how to embrace time off, even after the holy month.

Karim Beidas, Founder and CEO of Kidzapp

“Ramadan is an opportunity to focus on business planning and strategy for the rest of the year,” says Karim Beidas, founder of Kidzapp, a parenting and family startup in the UAE and Egypt. “For technical companies, focus your time on developing new features or optimising existing ones. This can go a long way in developing your business.”

  • CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE ONLINE

Ramadan is traditionally a time to connect with family and friends. But with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, people have been connecting with each other online in place of physical gatherings.

According to a recent survey among UAE and Saudi residents, 69 percent are expecting to spend more time socialising online than last year. This shift in behaviour is also reflected in the consumption of online content, with 52 percent of UAE residents and 56 percent of Saudi residents expected to watch Ramadan shows and entertainment online, according to the same survey.

Iman Suguitan, Founder of Nuqt Idea House

For entrepreneurs, this is a great opportunity to connect with audiences online. To stand out in an already crowded digital marketplace, Iman Suguitan, serial entrepreneur and founder of Nuqt Idea House, a branding agency, advises entrepreneurs to simply tell their story.

“Don’t sell products; tell your story,” she says. “Before you speak to your customers, your message must be clear and well-thought-out. This applies to small and big companies, as they have much to benefit from communicating effectively during this opportune time.”

  • KNOW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Simply being online isn’t enough, though. Depending on the type of business an entrepreneur is in, they should use the most suitable social media channels to reach their audience. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are among the most popular networks in the UAE, according to a recent report by Global Media Insight, but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs should only focus on these channels.

Tarek Nasr, CEO of The Planet, a digital marketing agency in Egypt and the UAE, advises entrepreneurs to also consider less popular social networks to reach their audience.

“Do not underestimate the power of less popular channels like email marketing and direct messaging, especially if it aligns with a company’s business strategy and brand,” he says.

More traditional entities are embracing social media too. Earlier this week, for example, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TikTok to create and launch the Dubai Chamber – TikTok Academy, a four-week programme that promises to “help 1,000 startups and SMEs validate and grow their businesses using the content creation platform.”

  • SHOW YOU CARE

Ramadan is also a time of giving, especially to the less fortunate. That’s why corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities usually take place during this time of year. Showing the human side of your business can go a long way in building relationships.

Rania Ayman, Founder of Entreprenelle.

“Show that you care about your customers, your employees and your following,” says Rania Ayman, founder of Entreprenelle, an organisation that supports women starting their own businesses. “It’s not only about advertising your products and making sales. Be human and show that you care. People will appreciate that a lot more.”

  • AND FINALLY, BE CONSISTENT

While Ramadan is a great opportunity to connect with audiences on- and offline, entrepreneurs should also aim to be consistent in their communication.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on what to do during Ramadan, or even during a certain season,” says Sarah Mohamed at Quill Communications UAE. “But the problem arises when that’s the only time you invest in engaging with your audience. Brands and businesses forget that the best way to build a good bond is to be consistent.”

So, don’t forget to continue communicating after the Holy Month.

(Writing by May El Habachi with inputs from Rachel McArthur; editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@refinitiv.com)

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

© ZAWYA 2021

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