Understand the World to Understand Business

Every country in the world has their set of customs. A big mistake that any businessman can make is assuming that what works in one country, will work in the other. Even every state in the U.S. has their set of customs. In Miami, a kiss on the cheek is a typical way to say hello to someone you just met. If you try this in a place like North Carolina, people will back away and might even consider it harassment.

            For a business to succeed in trying to expand globally or in any territory outside of where they normally function, cultural research will go a long way. When I say cultural, I also mean the social behavior. I currently work at an exports company that sells parts for gas stations. Our main clients are from Haiti. When I started working here, I was very shocked by the way that many of these Haitians came to the office. They would bring their kids, sometimes the kids would stay in the waiting area and other times they would even go inside our salesman’s office with their parents. I have seen so many clients come to the office to conduct business and bring their family members that were extremely young or not involved in the business at all.

            Here in the U.S. that kind of situation would be frowned upon.  Most people wouldn’t even take these clients seriously. So why do we allow it? It’s easy, they are our best clients. We are both mutually benefitting from their business. We have the loyalty of these customers; we have been able to build a relationship because we have been able to know them at a personal and professional level and we are all better off for it. If we simply turned them away, we would lose so many business opportunities. Take the time to truly know the place where you want to conduct business. Don’t ever assume that every place is similar so it should all work out. Find out how those people conduct their business and how they behave at a social level.

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