A personal insight and tough truths by Founder Deena Miah.
Ok so let’s first start off by clarifying that these are all my personal opinions and hope that they don’t offend anyone, if they do then oops sorry 😐 There are so many different aspects of this topic but this blog is particularly about Mubarak London’s experience and some of the ups and downs we face/ed as a Muslim business…so here it goes.
Hands in the air for the Lovers please…
No matter how big or small you are as a business, to me anyone who shows the slightest love (a like on a picture or a positive review) means they are engaging with you. they believe in your business and your vision and think that you are worthy of their input SO surely you got to recognise these people? Now as you grow as a business it’s not always possible to reply to each individual supporter but the key is giving back to your followers an engaging with them where they know that you are talking to them despite it being a mass communication.
How do you show love back to so many people?
Firstly a big Alhamdulillah if you have some amazing followers and we are blessed to have probably THE BEST followers. Not only do they give us fantastic feedback but they understand the intention behind our acts and if we ever did get something wrong we have faith that our followers would put it aside and still show us love 🙂
We talk to our audience and that’s important, why guess answers about what your customers wants, needs or likes when you can ask them directly. We live in an age where technology has evolved so much and we can even create voting polls on social media apps like Instagram. This is a great example in fact, whenever our team have a brain wave of a new collection rather than asking colleagues, family and friends we take to the poll and ask our customers directly – what better way to understand if something will sell or not – bit of a no brainer really! This engagement not only benefits us but our followers feel they are part of the journey, a business which is inclusive and makes some important business decisions based on YOU the most important person in our business!
Other ways of showing the love is offering discounts now and again, thanking your customers for just sticking with you and most importantly is making dua for them or my favourite sharing knowledge of Islam which will not only insha allah get you some reward but your followers too.
Thank You but sorry i can’t…
Right, we are a business that literally started from pen to paper and it took us a year before we launched, therefore you can imagine how much planning, research, late nights (chocolate and coffee, did i mention chocolate!) were included in this time.
Mubarak London was a completely new concept (haters please don’t roll your eyes) and we knew exactly what we wanted. Believe it or not we didn’t actually reach out to anyone for advice or guidance at all simply because we felt we were doing ok but no harm in asking for some advice at all because since then so much has changed and we definitely ask for advice now!
Professionalism, Manners and good etiquette are not only gold dust in business but also in Islam so as a Muslim Business we should be taking these values implementing them in our business model too.
Luqman once said to his son, “O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions.” – (Mentioned in the stories of ibn Kathir.)
However sometimes the lines can get blurred and although we want to be kind and generous, you could be in an awkward situation which comprises the commercial viability of the company.
When in a Muslim business and dealing with other muslim businesses whether it be clients or suppliers there is an element of trust which we expect or form. I guess this is due to our Islamic values that we must lead honest lives and are part of one Ummah who look after each other (Brothers and sisters).
But wait…If someone tells me they love my business and they want to know sensitive information about my suppliers for example, am i expected to give it to them as a good Muslim because i can’t lie about it!?!
The above is all too familiar and firstly i rate the person who builds up the courage to ask a person which may seem business sensitive because i personally live by ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’ however at the same time sometimes i feel uncomfortable to be giving information which i gained with such hard work, passion and which i inherited eye bags for to then just simply give this information out upon a request. Don’t get this wrong, i will help, empower and guide as much as possible because i am very passionate to see Muslim businesses doing well but at times i don’t particularly want to share everything i have worked hard for because at the end of the day it is also Business.
As i always come back to…it’s all down to the response, be honest and respectable because truly speaking it feels great that someone loves what you are doing and perhaps wants to replicate it but be tactful and say that that information is sensitive and although you are chuffed for the compliments, giving this information out would simply be a commercial viability and hope that they understand. A true Muslim will respect that and if you can help in other ways then of course do it 🙂
If you get the harsh ‘You are a Muslim And should be helping another Muslim’ then may Allah guide us all because so long as your intentions and your responses are not malicious and you are simply protecting your business i don’t think you owe the information to them…
Saturday Support initiative
We get so many messages from other Muslim businesses that it was getting difficult to reply back to everyone. Alhamdulillah Mubarak London has built a strong brand within the Muslim and Non Muslim world and one which is aspiring to many (can’t really believe that to be fair). We are no experts, in fact we are amateurs but i am so passionate to share my experience and help others that i decided to create a platform where we would shout our aspiring small businesses.
Empowering one another is so important if we want to break the mould that Muslim businesses are not on par of the ‘big boy’ mainstream players because together we could open more doors for one another!
To find out more about how the initiative works click here to get a better understand but overall its to give small businesses the limelight and make our audience aware of the businesses we support and found interesting. There’s no hidden agenda behind this in fact one of the main reasons we came up with this was because Mubarak London entered many small business ‘shout out’ campaign initiatives from some mainstream entrepreneurs but we kept seeing that we were never given a chance even though we felt that we were credible.
I’m not going to sugar coat this but i ultimately felt that these individuals were not choosing us simply because we were a faith led business and maybe (er…highly likely) they didn’t want to feel like they were supporting a religion/faith or want things to get ‘Political’ since the shout out would be public. Sooooo i put all that behind and thought hey, we don’t need this!
We need to support each other make enough success together and then insha allah the rest is up to the all knower and all hearer – Allah swt.
MORE Hands in the air for the Haters please…
Alhamdulillah in my experience i feel there is more support and love in the Muslim business world than i expected and the best art of it is when complete stranger love your brand and make dua for you (seriously priceless) HOWEVER having worked in both the mainstream corporate world and now within the Muslim business sector i can also see some differences.
As mentioned above sometimes because you are Muslim people think there is an automatic expectation that you should trust them and help them BUT at the end of the day you must not forget that you are also running a business for revenue which is for profit. Now when you mention profit in the Muslim business world i feel immediately some people raise their eyebrows (as if to say pssht you greedy muslim who just wants money) but what some people don’t stop to think is this profit is so we can support ourselves but most importantly for things we have already committed to for example:
- A minimum of 5% or more of our profits are given to charity causes every quarter
- We support many small and large charities by giving them our boxes for giveaways to help raise money for charity
- Allah knows what is in our hearts so haters need to really not think about other people’s business!
The truth is we don’t bother ourselves with negativity, we are so wrapped up on a mission to bring Mubarak London to Muslims and Non Muslims around the world that we haven’t even noticed if there are many haters out there. That however does not mean that i don’t care about my Haters, in fact i would really like to know why they dislike our brand or what isn’t to their liking.
And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. (Surah Luqman:18)
I would treat a ‘hater’ like a dissatisfied customer and they are very valued to us. My mission would be to try and convert this customer into one of my happy and loyal customers so don’t put your guards up to so called Haters it could just mean that you may have got one aspect wrong which needs to be addressed or there’s a misunderstanding somewhere which needs to be resolved or better addressed.
The best part is also hearing that our brand isn’t innovative and we simply ‘put other peoples stuff in a pretty box and that’s it’ ( let’s just note that most of these people who say this end up trying to replicate what we are doing in the end?!?)
So in conclusion to my ramblings look after the people who love you and love the people who hate you because wrapping yourself up in hate and annoyance will effect your business direction, brand values and most importantly your Islamic Values.
On that note…