Every business relationship is unique, by applying these concepts and ideas we can increase the probability of making long term, quality and reliable relationships with foreign clients, suppliers and partners.
1. Supply and Demand. The fundamental idea behind business and a market economy. Want to determine where to sell or buy, or predict if prices will be going up or down? Understand the concept of supply and demand.
2. Cause and Effect. Physics applied to the business environment. What you do will affect your competitor and the market and vice versa.
3. People like to feel important and special. Learn this and you’ve discovered one of the fundamental qualities of a great salesperson or marketer.
4. Simple clear communications, on-time. all the time. Don’t make it technical, keep it easy to understand. Answer all questions when asked, don’t hide the bad news and never forget to call back and follow-up. When we don’t understand, ask questions, ask more questions until it is perfectly clear.
5. Get the work done, on time, and with the highest degree of quality possible. Insist that this is a critical part of the relationship for both sides.
6. Listening is more important.
7. Get it in writing. After all meetings sign and date a document that briefly states what happened, the agreements, the chronology and deadlines involved, and who is responsible. All transactions and agreements should be documented.
Working with individuals and ideas from cultures different from our own is complex, and filled with opportunities to misunderstand and offend everyone involved. It requires time to develop trust and understanding for all the players involved.
Take the time to learn how and why business is done in the country. Don’t judge the results or methods based upon your culture and your country’s standards.
There is nothing more damaging to an international relationship than criticism based upon a lack of understanding.
We must learn before we attempt to teach and implement new ideas, strategies and procedures.
When doing business in Mexico remember that no matter what you feel or believe about your company’s products or procedures, Mexicans know their market and people better than you do. They understand the correct business etiquette and the “invisible” cultural nuances that are required in order to do business in Mexico.
If you enter into business in Mexico with the idea that you are going to “teach the Mexicans how business is really done” I am confident you will suffer some serious problems.
Pushing procedures and business strategies into Mexico will surely cause divisions, it can turn into an “us versus them” situation for employees and customers.
I recommend that your focus be on learning and understanding how business in currently done in Mexico, and why.
Once you have this knowledge, teach and explore your cultures and organizations solutions and strategies with your Mexican collaborators. I’ll bet the ideas will get modified if necessary, implemented and embraced quickly.
The creation of hybrid strategies, using elements from both cultures, will guarantee unification and understanding for everyone involved.
Before you start a revolution it’s essential to fully understand the status quo.
We tend to read the following terms and think they refer to any company doing business in another country.
Andrew Hines over at BNET has brief and clear definitions of each of these terms, Get your international business terms right.
Each term is distinct and has a specific meaning which define the scope and degree of interaction with their operations outside of their “home” country.
* International companies are importers and exporters, they have no investment outside of their home country.
* Multinational companies have investment in other countries, but do not have coordinated product offerings in each country. More focused on adapting their products and service to each individual local market.
* Global companies have invested and are present in many countries. They market their products through the use of the same coordinated image/brand in all markets. Generally one corporate office that is responsible for global strategy. Emphasis on volume, cost management and efficiency.
* Transnational companies are much more complex organizations. They have invested in foreign operations, have a central corporate facility but give decision-making, R&D and marketing powers to each individual foreign market.
Andrew’s advice is: if in doubt about the right term to use, try the generic term “international business”.
Get your international business terms right
Difference between a global, transnational, international and multinational company
Original post June 18, 2007