6 Easy Steps Guide to Starting a Business Targeting Muslims

Muslim business

Here at Muslim Ad Network we have discussed extensively how to promote your business- Islamic or mainstream- to Muslims.

Today we want to take a step back and offer quick but efficient guidance to those of you who are looking to start a business targeting Muslim consumers.

This will take shape in a rapid-fire quick list for you. We recommend that you only use this as a guideline to help you navigate through the steps you need to take. You must make a thorough investigation into each step on your own.

This guide is slightly based on North America but the steps can still be implemented globally with some adjustments and of course, different organizations will be involved.

So here we go:

1. Refine Your Idea

If you’re thinking about starting a business to sell products or services to Muslims, you likely already have an idea of what market you want to enter. Have a look at what current brand leaders in the industry are doing and figure out how you can do it better. 

If your business can deliver something your competition doesn’t , you’ve got a solid idea and are already on the right track.

Know Why You are Doing It

It is a no-brainer that you need to know why you are launching your business. Yet you may get caught up in the excitement and forget this part. Decide between the business serving a “personal why” or a “marketplace why”. A “marketplace why” allows your business a larger scope than a business that is designed to serve a “personal why”.

2. Conduct Market Research and Competitive Analysis

Market research helps you find customers for your business. Competitive analysis helps you make your business unique. Combine them to find a competitive advantage for your business.

Use Market Research to Find Customers

Your market research should uncover Muslim consumer behavior and economic trends to confirm and improve your business idea.

It’s crucial to understand your Muslim consumer base from the outset. It is one of the most complex audiences across industries. Market research will help you reduce risks even while your business is still just an idea.

We recommend you read: The One Reason Every Brand is Failing to Capitalize on the Muslim Consumer Market Effectively

Utilize demographic data to better understand opportunities and limitations for gaining Muslim customers: age, gender, interests, etc.

Once you have the demographic data look into the following:

  • The level of desire for your product or service
  • The market size for what you are your offering
  • Economic indicators: income range and employment rate
  • Location: if you are opening a brick and mortar business
  • The level of market saturation
  • The current average prices for what you are offering

Use Competitive Analysis for Market Advantage

Use competitive analysis to learn from businesses competing for the same Muslim audiences. This will help you gain a competitive edge that offers you sustainable revenue.

Your competitive analysis must identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Zoom into the following aspects of the competitive landscape:

  • Market share
  • Strength, weaknesses, opportunity, and threat (SWOT)
  • Realistic barriers that may hinder your entrance to market
  • Indirect competitors who may impact your success

3. Write Your Business Plan

A solid business plan is the foundation your business needs. You can write a business plan quickly and efficiently with a business plan template or even use a business plan software like LivePlan.

Use your business plan to guide you through each stage of starting and managing your business. It’ll become a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. 

It will help you to think through the key elements of your business. But a good business plan can also help you get funding or attract new business partners. 

Pick a Business Plan Format

Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

Traditional business plans are the most common. They use a standard structure and involve going into detail in each section. They require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.

Lean startup business plans also use a standard structure. However, they focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements. They can take you as little as one hour to write up and are typically only one page.

4. Assess Your Finances

Starting any business comes with its costs, so you need to decide on how to cover those costs.  You need to plan out how much you need to run your business plus maintain your standard of living for at least the next six months (especially if you are leaving your day job).

Don’t be one of those startups that fail because they run out of money before turning a profit. It’s never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in sustainable revenue.

Perform a Break-Even Analysis

A break-even analysis will help you determine when your company, product, or service will be profitable.

The formula is simple:

    Fixed Costs / (Average Price – Variable Costs) = Break-Even Point

You should use this formula as a tool that informs you about the minimum performance your business must achieve to avoid losing money. Break-even analysis will help you:

  • Determine profitability: The amount of  revenue you need to generate to cover all expenses. 
  • Price a product or service:  Understand the fixed rates, variable costs, and actual total cost.

5. Research the Best Place to Locate Your Business

It goes without saying that you will have to register your business, pay taxes, and get licenses and permits in the place you choose to locate your business. So make sure you research the most advantageous location for your business when it comes to tax relief, bureaucracy, etc.

You will also want to locate your business at a location where your Muslim target audience is well-represented. This is especially true if you are starting a brick-and-mortar business. In addition, you should consider business partners, the costs, benefits, and restrictions of different government agencies.

The most important variables to keep in mind besides the concentration of your targeted Muslim audience  are:

Region-Specific Business Expenses:

The following costs can vary significantly by location:

  • standard salaries
  • minimum wage laws
  • property values
  • rental rates
  • business insurance rates
  • utilities
  • government licenses and fees

Local Zoning Ordinances

If you plan to work out of a physical property for your business, make sure it conforms to local zoning requirements.

All local governments zone neighborhoods as either commercial or residential. Zoning ordinances may restrict or entirely forbid specific kinds of businesses from operating in a certain area.

You will experience fewer zoning restrictions if you base your business out of your home, but zoning ordinances can still apply even then.

State and Local Taxes

As mentioned earlier, you need to consider the tax landscape for the state, county, and city. The following tax forms can differ significantly:

  • Income tax
  • sales tax
  • property tax
  • corporate taxes

Some states are popular for creating friendly tax environments for certain kinds of companies. That’s part of the reason why tech startups tend to concentrate in a certain area of the country.

Government Incentives

Some state and local governments offer special tax credits for small businesses. To learn more about this, visit local SBA Offices and local government websites.

The federal government also offers benefits to small businesses that contract with the government and are based in underutilized areas. Look into the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program to see if you qualify for preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

6. Reach Out to Muslims

After you have taken care of the structural and functional aspects of the business, it’s time to start engaging the Muslim consumer. The first thing you need to do is manage your own expectations.

Have the Right Motivation and Intention

As a start-up, and especially as an Islamic entity, you must have the right intentions. Do not just go after Muslim audiences because currently the Muslim consumer market is booming.

Your motivation must be to offer your services for the betterment of Muslims. Today Muslims have so many needs and if you have the ability to fulfill those needs that (other) mainstream businesses can’t, you will not only be tapping into uncharted opportunities but will be helping out an entire society.

Find the Right Balance

Marketing to Muslims is complicated for the sole reason that Muslims are so diverse in culture and level of practice of the religion. You will need to strike the right balance when communicating with Muslims through your marketing.

It is recommended you use all the mainstream tools and strategies available as long as they are permissible in Islam but make sure that your brand’s messaging has a dominant Islamic identity.

Learn from Mistakes

Running a business that focuses on a complex niche like the Muslim market makes you prone to making mistakes. So keep going back to the drawing board, work, analyze, and repeat.

Keep your brand intent and personality alive when adjusting your messaging. 

You must also keep your eye open and learn from the mistakes of others. That way you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble.

Create an Online Marketing Mix to Target Muslims Consumers

Don’t make the mistake that many companies that target Muslims do: not having a written strategy specifically for targeting Muslim audiences.

An online marketing mix for Muslim audiences will help you shape every element of your Muslim digital marketing process. 

Keep in mind that every business model has different requirements. Your business model may be one that benefits completely from a purely online approach or may need a combination of online and offline tactics.

For more insight please read: What’s Your Online Marketing Mix for Your Halal Business?

It’s an article that will give you insight on how to build a business marketing model to gain Muslim customers solely through online methods. With a few adjustments, you will be able to utilize and implement it for your start-up business. You should be able to benefit from it even if your start-up business is not entirely based online.

You might also want to look at: How to Run a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign to Muslim Consumers

Stick to Islamic Advertising Principles

This part is very important for Muslim business owners for religious reasons. However, it is also important for mainstream businesses that are marketing to Muslims. Not adhering to the Islamic Advertising Principles might repel a large part of the Muslim audience that you are trying to attract.

One of the most important things in a Muslim’s life is not going about business as usual while being ignorant of his or her Creator’s rules and regulations. This is true for all his or her actions, including the business they run, and that would include how he or she advertises and promotes his or her products or services. It is easy for Muslim business owners to get lost in the unethical practices that are deemed standard in advertising. Since a Muslim’s goal is not just success in this world, we must keep the ultimate success in the hereafter in our consciousness at all times.

Source: What You Must Know About Islamic Advertising Principles

Work with Partners Who Know the Muslim Advertising Landscape

Whatever you do, do not go at it alone! You may be tempted to run ads on Google Ads and Facebook Ads, etc. However, this is not only expensive and time-consuming, it is absolutely inaccurate and not transparent. As a start-up, you do not want to waste, time, energy, and especially money.

Muslim Ad Network enables your advertising to reach this highly coveted Muslim online consumer. It’s a platform that helps your brand reach millions of Muslim consumers wherever they are browsing online, including the Internet’s most popular websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, and more.

You can effectively target ads to Muslim consumers instantly across thousands of websites and apps. Based on your input, MAN can configure advertising campaigns to a variety of objectives including brand lift, traffic acquisition, and generating sales.

Just imagine, a single platform that gives you access to over 250 million Muslim consumers every month. MAN has been advertising to Muslim audiences online for over a decade now, long before the Muslim market was recognized as the next big thing when it comes to growth.

MAN gets your ads on the biggest Muslim-based website. Your ads will also feature on the mainstream’s most powerful websites like CNN and ESPN.

They will also appear on social media platforms, apps, and more.

So let’s talk about working together to get your start-up in front of millions of relevant Muslim consumers online.

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