What Considerations Should Businesses Take When Shifting
Considering that consumers are becoming more interested in the quality and ethics behind the brands they support, it's understandable why the Halal industry is gaining more customers daily. In fact, the Halal market is expected to be worth $2.6 trillion by 2024, according to Statista. And of this forecasted market value, a huge portion will come from North American businesses. Since becoming Halal can increase profitability while reducing negative impacts on society and the environment, more businesses would do well to make the shift themselves. However, Halal refers to a specific set of criteria, so there are certain factors that businesses must take into consideration:
Some of Your Present Services May Be Haram
Halal refers not just to the raw ingredients and finished products, but to the entire ecosystem, it’s a part of. To say that a business is Halal means that it cannot be directly associated with anything Haram (forbidden). In businesses, this can include any payment arrangement that incurs interest, or consumables like pork, alcohol, or tobacco. Hence, if you’re already an existing business, you may have to reshuffle your offerings to ensure that non-Halal products follow a strict system of segregation. This means that raw and unfinished goods are carefully separated, and there is stringent sanitization of all equipment before, during, and after their production.
If you're in doubt, you can always clarify with a qualified Halal certifier like ISA whether any of your products are prohibited or discouraged in Halal. Their professional input will be supported by scientific and technical data, with tie-backs to an Imam’s input. For instance, while smoking is considered Haram, Learn Religions' Islam expert shares that not every country has a tobacco fatwa condemning every use of it. Therefore, some places may still be able to offer Haram products but to a lesser degree.
Budget Shifts Will Have to Be Made
Given that Halal must be observed from supplier to shelf and farm to fork, the shift may also affect both operational processes and financial budget allocations. For example, a Halal food business may need to find Halal sources for its supply chain network.
During this time, it’s important to pay for all vendor supplies and services in a swift and timely manner. This is part of your social and fiduciary responsibility. Moreover, fostering a healthy relationship with your new suppliers will be better for your cash flow. In AskMoney’s guide on cash flow, consultant Tina Ruhlow explains that by maintaining clarity with your payments and receipts, you can accurately determine the net increases and decreases that your newly-Halal business may incur. Since becoming a Halal business will also surely increase your revenue, having a cash flow statement implemented as part of your business’ financial analysis will help manage your money and growth opportunities.
Marketing Efforts Will Have to Pivot
Of course, once you’ve successfully procured supplies and services in accordance with Halal, you’ll want to tell your market. But this isn’t as simple as stating you are Halal compliant. Since Halal is based on religious and cultural doctrines, even its marketing efforts must strictly comply with the guidelines set within Islam. By practicing Halal-approved marketing standards, you can avoid accidentally offending your consumers whilst also protecting your intellectual property.
Islamic Services of America (ISA) states one of the most effective marketing efforts is to get Halal certified. ISA explains that by clearly labeling your products with a certified Halal logo, you're making it easier for your consumers to identify and support you. And since consumers are also opting to transact online, being certified with ISA improves your online footprint, therefore enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO) standing.
Stating your Halal certification status and displaying your Halal certifier’s logo mark on your business website, as well as using it in other marketing materials further supports this selling point. Over time, this will build your brand image and make it easier for customers to reach you.
Employees May Need Additional Training
Lastly, you’ll need to invest in additional quality assurance (QA) and customer service training. Since you’ll be providing a service that is contingent on compliance with Halal, you can expect an increase in customer engagement. However, employee training is just as important, as illustrated by a recent pwc survey stating that 59% of US customers will leave a company they love after several negative interactions.
During QA training, your qualified technical staff and production line management will understand the importance of maintaining documented Halal protocols from start to finish. According to Chron's business resources, employees will be taught best practices, complaints management, and personalized product knowledge during customer service training. This is so they can understand the company’s offerings. But aside from what your brand offers, they should also know what Halal is and what it stands for. This way, they can accurately explain its value to customers, thereby boosting your brand's reputation as a Halal business.
By adopting the policies of Halal, you are creating an ethical, socially conscious, and profitable business model that aligns with consumers’ discerning behavior. Shifting your business to Halal is a smart way to ensure your company’s sustainability and success. To get started on certification and recognition, contact Islamic Services of America so we can guide you through the process.
Written by Aileen Bea Clarke
Exclusive for isahalal.com