The impact of culture in business
Culture is part of life as is business, integrating the both of them successfully will push you above your competition. Many entrepreneurs fail to keep their businesses operational in different parts of the world due to the cultural aspect of overwhelming them entirely. Many business partnerships today are built on agreements and mutual respect rather than understanding of one another which is a core for building a strong bond. Business deals crumble when the partners involved fail to first of all understand each other’s culture and that of the clients across borders. Mannerisms play a vital role in building or breaking of trust, some forms of conduct passed on as normal in some cultures are quite offensive in others.
“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes members of one group/category of people from another” (Hofstede, 1994)
As an entrepreneur, the onus is on you to find a balance amongst culture, ethics and business rules of engagement to easily incorporate even new clients or partners from other cultures. It is impetuous for an entrepreneur to go into business without answering the question of culture and how it might affect the business. When transacting business with affiliates from a foreign country, it is quite important to know the cultural difference hence how one presents oneself without seeming offensive. For example in countries like Japan, a low tone for exchange is a token of respect. Every conversation begins and ends with a bow. Whereas countries like the United States have loud conversations, re-adjusting one’s character to fit in might help one build strong business bonds.
The best part about all this is that culture is learnt and not inherited. There are ways to make oneself more flexible and open minded when dealing with cultures foreign to you.
Tips to help you get along with people from other cultures
Find out more information about the culture before interaction; if you have a scheduled meeting then a little research on do’s and don’ts will save you the embarrassment and push your business to the top.
Be courteous; bring a gift, something sentimental to their culture. It shows consideration and understanding on your part.
Be less wordy and don’t crack jokes; a common mistake that often lands people in trouble. Keep a cool head and don’t prolong the conversation if you are meeting someone for the first time at least.
Get a few words; nothing sprouts up a connection like you knowing a few words in their language. It is a perfect build on your character and will build you stronger business ties with the people in question.
Many times those small pockets of connection can light up a room or blow up an entire business plan if improperly induced. Man has a strong affiliation to culture and as soon as you get a hold of this, the easier it will be for you to build your business in different corners of the world. Culture means a lot to a man that some services and products won’t make you any profit in some cultures. You won’t make a lot of money selling alcohol in the Arab world. Knowing culture gives you a hint of productive business expansion without incurring pinching losses caused by ignorance.