Top 10 Tips On Doing Business in Saudi Arabia

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia
(Last Updated On: )

Understanding cultural differences is essential 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 know every vernacular but must respect them. Companies need to understand their target audience completely. But even before marketing 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 essential 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, so it is a good place for foreign businesses. However, its culture is entirely 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 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 keeping one in your purse is always better. If you go to a religious building, you should wear a scarf.

  1. No Mixing:

Men and women often don’t mix during gatherings. All the communities 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 blasphem 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 traditions in public.

  1. Alcohol:

In Saudi Arabia, alcohol is illegal. If you bring it into the Kingdom, you will 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 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 immediately. 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, research Ramadan and Hajj so you can give Holidays to your team accordingly.

  1. Accept Invitations:

In Saudi Arabia, a massive part of the business is entertaining 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 Saudi’s treatment of time can be confusing for outsiders. But with time, you will begin to understand it. Always plan meetings. And if the Saudis run late, don’t be offended. But remember that you should always be on time if you don’t want to offend your hosts. Don’t criticize someone directly during a meeting; 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 many 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 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 your cultural values 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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