This week I continue to discuss the impact, positive and negative, of taking the trouble and time to learn about other business cultures – or not. If you do, you are much more likely to be successful and if you don’t, you are more likely to make some major gaffes and fail.
As I have written previously, the USA as a nation is probably one of the most insular of the developed nations. This is not just my opinion. Surveys after surveys have confirmed that educated adult Americans have a widespread unawareness of countries outside the USA and many cannot point out the location of well known countries on a map of the world that does not show country names.
By taking your company global, you can adapt your products and services to satisfy the many global business tools that will make you an active and successful member of the Global Village. As discussed last week, the Global Village means just that – Global. It does not conform to one method of doing business nor one specific strategic ideal, whether it is American, British, Chinese, German, or Indian.
Now, with the growth of multinational corporations, in International Business, we seek to adopt and adapt the best business tools from many global sources. Those that do so are more likely to become successful members of the Global Village.
While we all seek the same in business, the way we express ourselves and say what is essentially the same thing, actually differs from country to country because even one word in one country can have a totally different meaning in another, as can non-verbal gestures and communications.
The moral is not to assume that other countries and other cultures are very advanced and have excellent methods of doing business and unique cultures. The only way to be successful doing business in other cultural environments is to learn their cultures and adapt accordingly. Don’t think American, British, Asian or Latin American when expanding internationally.
A Few Tips:
Learn the Cultures of the countries with which you want to conduct business.
Ask your Channel Partner, read books or hire an International Business Specialist to guide you in the early stages.
Develop excellent listening skills and learn to communicate. As much as you learn about the cultures of others, tell them about yours
Adapt your product because in the Global Village, one size does not fit all requirements.
Be aware that what you may think is a reasonable price in the US or UK, it could be a luxurious price in other countries.
We have dealt a lot with localization so, again, don’t assume that your English version is going to suffice everywhere.
Always be aware of the political situation in countries with which you are not familiar and keep you updated with potential risks.
A sudden political change of power or policy can impact your business, including such events as nationalizing business or confiscating
Be aware of your non-verbal communication and gestures.
Learning about the many cultures is not easy but is necessary because true, effective business communication, is the ability to communicate across the many global cultures. Be sensitive, aware and study cultures because you will become more professional, more empathetic, perceptive and able to adapt to all the challenges the Global Village offers you.
You are an Entrepreneur who has worked hard to build your company and your brand. Invest in your staff and your company with that same Entrepreneurial work ethic by making sure your staff is correctly and fully trained. Do this and you will be welcomed into the Global Village and be successful.