In a globalized world, it is no longer uncommon for business to be conducted on an international scale. Companies are rarely confined to a single country, instead, they seek to transcend all borders and establish a presence on a global level. Given that businesses now try to achieve success internationally, it only makes sense that entrepreneurs should prepare for the distinct cultural nuances and norms instilled within each society.
Tips for Doing Business Internationally
When you conduct business internationally you must also be mindful of the logistics involved. This includes potential time differences, travel issues, currency exchanges, and discounts. On the other hand, you must consider the cultural nuances of doing business overseas. Different countries will have local customs on how to arrange meetings, how to greet new people, and how to be successful in the overall notion of business etiquette. If you are feeling underprepared for your first international meeting, don’t worry, we have you covered. Here is all you need to know before conducting business internationally.
In order to conduct business internationally, you must first arrive at your destination without a hitch. Business trips are normally short and sweet. Given the short window of time, it is essential that your trip goes smoothly and without complications. Make sure you are prepared and only pack the essentials, a great way to know what you will need on your trip is by creating your own itinerary. This will help you be productive during your trip and will avoid over-packing. Try to stick to hand-luggage as this will save you a great deal of time whilst transiting through the airport.
Pick Essential Items
The essential items include a fresh suit, your electronics, portable battery packs, business cards, adaptors, cash in the local currency, and of course your passport. We recommend uploading all of your crucial documents onto cloud computing software so that they can be accessed whenever and wherever needed. You never know what could happen if you only carry a physical copy with you. Make sure you have trip insurance that can cover you in case you are prevented from traveling due to an illness or accident.
Once you arrive, make sure you are looking presentable and refreshed. You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Don’t be afraid to extend a handshake and offer out your business card, after all this is a perfect time to be networking. You are a physical representation of your company, therefore self-branding is a must. If this is your first time collaborating with international clients, make sure you do your research before you arrive. Interacting with colleagues in China will be a very different experience from interacting with your colleagues in the United Kingdom or the United Arab Emirates.
Different Business Etiquette
For the purpose of this article, we will be using these three different nations as case studies, however, don’t just assume that a country will share these common customs just because they are Asian, European, or Arabic. Everywhere is different, so make sure you do your research before flying over. Greetings are very important as they are your first interaction. In China, you will be expected to shake hands and extend a small bow. You will be introduced to the most senior people first and introductions are made with the full name, title, and company. In the United Kingdom, a short and light handshake will do the job, just make sure to keep your distance and respect personal space. In the United Arab Emirates, handshakes are also customary. However, these may appear to last a very long time, don’t try to release the handshake ahead of time, this will come across as rude or disrespectful.
Another important factor that differs amongst countries is the way entrepreneurs conduct meetings. In China, meetings tend to be centered around formal business deals so don’t expect to do any small talking. Make sure you never interrupt whilst a colleague is talking and sit where expected, as there is typically a pre-determined seating arrangement. Contrastingly, in the United Arab Emirates, don’t expect to get straight to business, you must first establish a basic level of trust before completing a deal. In the United Kingdom, meetings are scheduled in advance and have a clear objective, which is often stated at the beginning of the meeting.
The slightest mistake in a foreign country could cost you a successful deal, so make sure you are clued up on how to conduct business when you are overseas. Just keep in mind the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and you should find no difficulties in adjusting to local customs. All in all, you will become more familiar with different cultural norms as you spend more time working alongside international colleagues. Practice makes perfect so don’t worry if you don’t nail this the first time.