When going into business with a company from another country what do you need to consider? Whether it is a Brazilian city you are setting up in or an English hamlet, aside from the legal practicalities, the bureaucracy and, of course, the language, you must take into account the culture and heritage of the businessmen and women that you are dealing with.
Each country has its own way of doing business. Some cold, calm and collected, some others more personal and heartfelt but however it is done, if you are planning to set up shop in a country you had better be sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle by offending your business counterpart due to ignorance about their cultural expectations for business.
A prime example of business dos and don’ts can be seen in Brazilian culture and as one of the most important markets in business lately, can you afford not to understand a little more about them?
According to an article on entrepreneur.com there are four ways to avoid “killing a deal” in Brazil. These are as follows:
- Do remain unbiased about the best way to do business – whether you believe that Brazil does it all wrong and your country has the key to business success should be irrelevant, don’t boast or push to handle things your way at any cost. Whilst some Brazilians may see areas in which to improve the country’s business methods by taking note of how other countries conduct their dealings, it is unlikely to win you any votes if you spend most of your time criticizing things that are carried out differently to how you would expect. Really this could apply to any country you are venturing into business with!
- Don’t discuss business over lunch. As is true in many countries, lunchtime in Brazil is a time for relaxing, enjoying a meal at a leisurely pace and spending time together sharing stories and discussing non-work related topics.
- Do drink coffee if you are offered it. Coffee is important in Brazil, of course if you really can’t bring yourself to drink it then it’s not the end of the world but you may well be seen as impolite if you refuse the drink.
- Don’t be oblivious to certain cultural etiquette and gestures. Words such as ‘gringo’ may well seem offensive but in Brazil they aren’t. The OK sign made with your hands however, is considered insulting.
What actions would be considered offensive when doing business in your country? Are there certain cultural traditions that visiting entrepreneurs should look to adhere to in order to make a good impression? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more information on the languages we work with, from Brazilian Portuguese to Zulu, please visit our website