While Muslim consumers are encouraged to support Muslim businesses, here are tips for the businesses to attract customers (and increase profits).
1. Make profit secondary.
The first goal of a Muslim business should not be cashing in on a Muslim market.
It should be pleasing Allah. Seeking profit is not a bad aim, but it should be secondary. By making Allah the goal, and implementing Islamic rules of honesty, truthfulness and good behavior, any Muslim business is bound to boom.
2. Be truthful.
The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said the honest and truthful businessman will be in Paradise amongst the Prophets, the truthful and the martyrs. Honesty and truthfulness are essential to a Muslim business. It means building a relationship of trust with customers.
3. Be open to scrutiny.
While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, being ready to have your business scrutinized for cleanliness or Halaalness of products indicates a willingness to work with the consumer. This serves to build trust. A Halaal business is an institution of the Muslim community.
4. Be clean.
This is especially important for Halaal grocery stores and butchers where animal blood is expected. Not being careful of this means not only lost customers, but also possible sicknesses. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ‘Cleanliness invites towards faith (Iman) and faith leads its possessor to paradise.’ (Tabrani) This cleanliness does not only apply to those areas a customer will see. It includes equipment and storage areas as well.
5. Work with others.
Yes, this can be difficult. Muslim entrepreneurs selling similar products should consider forming an association that can share experience and cooperate in buying bulk for example. This will, in the long run, benefit the Muslim consumer and the Muslim businesses. Costs are reduced and the consumer pays less.
6. Don’t sell Haraam.
This means being aware of what can or cannot be sold by a Muslim. A Muslim house shop, for example, will not be able to sell Lotto, certain magazines and other products that a similar non-Muslim shop might. Being Halaal does not only mean selling Halaal meat, it extends to all items one sells. The best way is to consult Ulama on ensuring products are Halaal to sell.