I look forward to Ramadan ever year. Not only is it a blessed time to end the fast with family and friends, for me, it also represents the perfect opportunity to reflect on both my personal and business growth in the past year.
For many of us, the last two Ramadans were observed in isolation, away from friends and family, as we followed precautionary measures introduced to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
That meant I had some extra time to reflect on the changes that affected our lives. But the one thing I learnt from observing Ramadan in the past two years is that the holy month encourages us to focus on what matters, and that can be of great aid in business.
During Ramadan, we are expected to do good deeds and engage in charitable acts. We not only refrain from eating and drinking during the day, but also become more careful to avoid gossiping, lying and other such actions.
The holy month provides us with an opportunity to improve our behaviour and work on putting our best self forward — something we could carry on doing beyond Ramadan.
What if we applied these self-improvement behaviours during Ramadan to the way we operate our business and engaging in acts that will yield higher returns, the way good deeds count for more throughout the holy month?
Over the years, this got me thinking about what yielded good returns for my business and what weighed it down and wasted my time. It wasn’t an easy exercise. When you manage a business, and you are busy supervising multiple aspects, it is easy to overlook what could harm your interests in the long run.
Evaluating my yearly business performance starts with me reflecting on my business operations, and evaluating the way I managed my team, the way I interacted with my clients and the way we dealt with our customers. Just as fasting during Ramadan helps many of us lose weight as we follow a healthier diet plan, engaging in this exercise for my business helps to shed some excess baggage keeping me from reaching my business goals faster.
Ramadan is a month for us to connect with our community, to lend a helping hand to those in need and to be there for people. What if business owners applied this philosophy to their operations all year round? If more business owners gave back to potential entrepreneurs and start-ups in the form of mentoring and internship opportunities, and partnered with them, the entire economy could benefit.
Entrepreneurs will receive guidance and mentorship from those in the field and businesses would be supporting emerging entrepreneurs by working with them. The economy thus flourishes, resulting in more success stories.
After two years of lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions, this Ramadan many of us are slowly going back to our pre-Covid routines and gathering once more with family and friends to end our fast each day. As we do so, I encourage you all to look at the lessons and room for business improvements that Ramadan could offer beyond the holy month.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi