For growth-minded business owners, the key to increasing their customer base lies in international expansion. This could mean serving new clients abroad, hiring or partnering with other companies. For these reasons, you need to observe the international business customs if you want your business to thrive. Here are the top 5 tips for doing international business and adapting to local customs;
Respect the customs and try new things
Your first impressions can help you build a healthy relationship with your clients. That’s why you have to earn their trust by showing them you respect their culture. Besides that, you must be aware of their religious beliefs and local dietary restrictions. For example, you cannot order for beef in a restaurant in India. It’s crucial that you participate in the local tradition and enrich yourself with their cultures. Never decline the invitation no matter how uncomfortable you feel.
Based on which country you take your business, you could take some time to learn their customs. If you have set up a business meeting, it’s better to arrive early even if the locals are a few minutes late. This is true in a place like Russia where many foreigners are tested whether they will arrive late just like the residents. Not only that, if you’ve employed some people to work in your business, you should give them a deadline of 2 to 3 days before the actual date. This will give you enough time to go through the materials and take some corrective measures in case something goes wrong.
Learn their body language
The body language plays a significant role when doing international business. You can simply hurt a client if you’re not careful. For example, in Ireland, it’s considered disrespectful to keep your hands in the pockets. In a country like Brazil, you cannot show the `okay’ hand gesture since it’s deemed to be rude. Other than that, cheek kisses and hugs are not acceptable. In many Asian countries, extended eye contact is considered impolite.
Learn to work with the customs and not against them
This is where the rubber meets the road. You are better off following the culture and finding its strengths even if the results are different from what you expect. Once you’re able to establish a healthy relationship with others, they will show you the best way of achieving your desired results. Don’t criticize how people do things. Instead, try to find out how you can work with them to achieve your desired results. Since every culture has its unique approach to solving things, don’t take advantage of other people.
Don’t lose face
The concept of losing face is common in Chinese and Japanese cultures. You should never embarrass someone in Italy or Brazil. On top of that, focus on adding ideas to your business partners instead of attempting to correct them. Avoid pointing out mistakes in front of friends or strangers. Although silence is almost unbearable to most Americans, long periods of silence are common in places like Finland.
Business owners who take their time to learn the customs of other countries are successful. They easily network and close business deals. When you follow the above tips, you will be well-equipped to run your business overseas.