In the emerging global market, it is more common to see companies headquartered in one country, while doing business in another. Do you wish to start doing business in Asian countries or doing business with the local Asian-owned companies but have a couple of hang-ups about how to get started? In this post, we will discuss some common misconceptions and how you can get around them.
1. I don’t know anything about Asian culture:
You don’t have to be a cultural guru in order to do business with others, but it is important that you have an open mind, willingness to think outside of the box and to prepare yourself to be aware of similarities and differences. You may run into some behaviors that are different from your own, some that you are not used to seeing or doing. But, do not let these differences deter you. Instead, try to learn the culture and basic business protocol so that you will not offend anyone unintentionally. You can also become active in social media sites such as Yelp.com, Groupon.com, or Livingsocial.com to find good Asian restaurants in your area. These restaurants may help you discover a new favorite dish while allowing you to observe more of the Asian cultures. To break the ice, talking about your favorite dish is a great way to start a small conversation with your Asian counterparts.
2. I don’t have time or money to travel to Asia:
If you are serious about doing business in Asia, you don’t have to travel to do what you want to do. If you live in a big city, go to the local chamber of commerce. There are plenty of ethnic groups represented by local your chambers of commerce, for example the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. You can find many professionals there who can point you in the right direction. Also, visit the Consulate or Embassy in your area to learn more about trading and other business organizations you can tap into as business resources. If you are worried about the money to travel to Asia, don’t be! With the increase in technology, you can do things virtually. Get online and do some research, use your social media networks, local chamber, and Non-profit Organizations for initial connections. Also, don’t underestimate the small business owners – they may still have connections to networks in their own countries as well. As the Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Keep your radar turned on for the smallest things you might find.
3. I don’t speak the language:
Many immigrants have built blossoming businesses without knowing the English language, and you can become successful without a mastery of the language as well. It may be difficult as there will be language barriers, misunderstandings, and mis-communications, but they can be minimized. First, do your homework before jumping into any business opportunity. Check into the business backgrounds of those you will be doing business, research may include: their business partners, history, and location – All information collected is similar to the type of information you try to uncover before a job interview. You may find it is still difficult to communicate because of differences in body language, gestures, and actions (how they conduct themselves in negotiations or sharing an office). However, by being immersed in the cultural behaviors, you will learn about your cultural similarities and differences, and be able to move forward building trust and relationships.
Written by Akari N. Ueno of EVENTUSPROTOCOL