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Top 10 Tips On Doing Business in Saudi Arabia

Top 10 Tips On Doing Business in Saudi Arabia
Doing Business in Saudi Arabia
(Last Updated On: August 6, 2020)

Understanding cultural differences is important for everyone, but more so for businesses. They cannot connect with an audience without understanding their beliefs and customs. If we wish to co-exist with others, we must learn to respect them. The best way to be respectful is to understand the culture and language of other people. You don’t have to learn every vernacular in the world, but you must respect them. It is very important for companies to understand their target audience completely. But even before they can begin marketing for their products and services, they must establish themselves by connecting with investors and native employees.

Top 10 Tips on Doing Business in Saudi Arabia:

It is important to understand a culture before you decide to connect with the natives. You cannot impress investors by ignoring all of their beliefs. Saudi Arabia has a strong economy, which is why it is a good place for foreign businesses. However, its culture is completely different from that of Western countries. It is conservative, not only in its beliefs but also in every walk of life. If a company does not pay attention to these things, they will struggle to survive in Saudi Arabia. Here are the top 10 tips on doing business in Saudi Arabia:

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  1. Dress Respectfully:

Conservative dressing is the norm in the country, even if you are not a Muslim. Men should not wear shorts or shirts with short sleeves. Women must keep their ankles covered by either wearing abaya (long frocks) or long dresses. The dress should extend to their wrists. Women don’t have to wear a headscarf if they don’t want to, but it is better to keep one in your purse at all times. If you go to a religious building, then you should put on the scarf.

  1. No Mixing:

Men and women often don’t mix during gatherings. In fact, all the gatherings are separate so as not to cause any discomfort to women. Even as a foreigner, you should not be seen in public with a woman who is not your spouse or a blood relative. You should not mix in private with women you are not related to.

  1. Be Polite:

Using swear words and vulgar language in a business setting is not appreciated anywhere in the world. But in Saudi Arabia, the rules are stricter. You should not blaspheme and be respectful at all times.

  1. Food:

Whenever accepting food from someone, use your right hand. Also, eat with your right hand. These are the rules you should follow in public. You are free to do as you want in private, but you should abide by the cultural rules when you are in public.

  1. Alcohol:

In Saudi Arabic, alcohol is illegal. If you bring it into the Kingdom, you will have to face severe penalties. Locals can access alcohol in some regions. Some of them go to neighboring countries with fewer restrictions to enjoy drinks. But you should stay away from alcohol completely while you are in Saudi Arabia.

Tips on Doing Business in Saudi Arabia
  1. Gain Trust:

If you want Saudis to do business with you, you should gain their trust first. They prefer to build relationships with people and don’t decide to enter into a partnership straight away. So, be patient and continue to respect their boundaries. Don’t be afraid to open up to them.

  1. Make Time for Prayers:

You don’t have to join Muslims in their daily prayers, but you have to be respectful. Whenever planning meetings, make time for prayers so as not to cause problems for your employees and hosts. Everything has to stop at the time of prayers in Saudi Arabia. If you don’t respect this rule, no one would want to work with you. And while you are learning the timings of prayers, also do some research about Ramadan and Hajj so you can give Holidays to your team accordingly.

  1. Accept Invitations:

In Saudi Arabia, a huge part of the business is entertaining your guests. It is important to remember that Saudis are generous hosts, so don’t worry when you receive an invitation. The food will be delicious too so you should not hesitate before accepting an invitation. You should also invite them to dinner and lunches. The Saudis will gladly accept your invitation.

  1. Meeting Rules:

The Saudis treatment of time can be confusing for outsiders. But with time, you will begin to understand it. Always plan meetings in advance. And if the Saudis run late, don’t be offended. But keep in mind that you should always be on time if you don’t want to offend your hosts. Don’t criticize someone directly during a meeting as they will take offense. Take a respectful approach each time you want to discuss something.

  1. Language:

The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. It is spoken in all the countries in the Arab world. Keep in mind that not a lot of people in the country would know English. So, if you wish to talk to them, you should bring in a qualified interpreter. You should also get all of your business documents translated in advance so your hosts can go over them easily. Don’t disrespect them for not knowing English. Rather, learn a few Arabic words to impress them.

Working with people who don’t share the same cultural values as you can be difficult. But getting over our differences is what we should be doing as humans. It is the only way we can succeed in every walk of life.

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