International Business - there are many considerations when doing business internationally; financial, regulations, trade barriers, etc. But to me, the singular most important factor is CULTURE. You must understand the importance of culture to an international market – it affects all other factors.
Culture includes areas such as language, beliefs, thought processes, religion and many other areas. Be sure to thoroughly explore the differences and adapt your “social style” before you attempt to enter a foreign market.
Just to give a few examples (and there are many): In Japan – they like to give gifts (not bribes) to business counterparts. But do not open a gift in front of your Japanese counterpart unless asked. Avoid ribbons and bows. In Europe – avoid red roses and white flowers, even numbers and the number 13.
Remember – cultures are not right or wrong, better or worse, they are just different.
John Ahearn - SCORE Counselor
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