Although it can seem as though every small business around the world is similar, the truth is the way you grow and develop can depend on where it is you’re located.
The reason behind this is a lot of the time, our approaches and experiences come from local knowledge that’s been passed down and which is now considered standard in a business setting.
With such things changing right around the world, it can be particularly inspiring to look at examples from elsewhere and the following information details five local business customs that are followed outside of the US.
- In Turkey, it’s considered rude for anyone other than the host to pay for the bill at a business lunch (or in fact any business occasion where there’s food or drink served). You might be the one trying to do business with a Turkish company, but if they invite you to dinner, you’ll damage your chances of a long-lasting relationship if you try and pay – or even contribute to – the bill.
- If you’re trying to work with a new client in Spain, you need to understand trust and respect play a huge role in the whole process. As with anything, you might find exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, you’re going to have to spend time instilling confidence in your potential clients and as such, you’re unlikely to ‘seal the deal’ on a first meeting.
- Although business cards are considered outdated in many parts of the world, in China they play an integral role in business. Exchanged at the start of any meeting, they show professionalism and if you offer both Chinese and English wording on the cards, you’ll be doing your utmost to make a great initial impression.
- Should you be doing business in Germany, understand that being late for a meeting is massively frowned upon. Whether it’s one minute or one hour, being late is very often seen as personally insulting to others at the meeting and will make it particularly difficult to move forward in any positive way.
- When you’re in Switzerland, you need to be aware that there are very strict hierarchical rules that are almost always followed in a business environment. For example, two managers from different companies should always be introduced to one another first, even if they’re the furthest away from each other in a meeting room full of people who will also be introduced.
Understanding how others do business around the world can not only be interesting to learn about, but useful for your growing business. Showing you’ve taken time to research relevant etiquette and that you respect local customs, this alone will do a lot to help you succeed with clients in other countries.