20 important tips that will come in handy if you decide to do business in India
Almost every organization in the west is looking for options to grow their business and consider partnering with India - it's not easy anyway, and will require a special attitude and increased patience and understanding. You can easily understand that doing business in Western countries and in India can be seriously different. Here are some of the tips that may make it easier for you to do business, but always remember - that situations can vary, and India is too diverse to be able to describe it in one article. In this country there is always room for controversy and something not understood.
1. The Language Barrier
There are up to 30 major languages in India, and your colleague is likely to understand English. Don't be fooled. Most likely it will only create the illusion that you understand each other. Many of us today speak English but are used to thinking in a Western way, and your partner still thinks in Indian, so try to take the time to get a real understanding. Also, don't forget that there are Indians who speak different languages and may think differently.
2. You are in a different culture
Visitors to Asian countries need to understand that they are in a different culture. Sure, when it comes to the office, India can be quite "Western", but the people there are still Eastern. Open your mind and try to look at things from a different perspective, beyond your usual thinking. At the very least, it will be good for developing your horizons.
Indian culture is quite diverse and presents a lot of opportunities for people who are willing to express themselves. Diversity is present in everything: clothing styles, negotiating styles, and reactions to contacts can all flow quite differently. Your partner may want to talk to you not only about the product you want to provide, but also about spirituality, or about the diet you follow. It will be wise to keep any conversations going and to note new things for yourself.
4. Don't fall for stereotypes
India is very diverse. It has different languages, cultures, religions - and everything is different. It is important that you are not prejudiced about anything, and then you will insulate yourself from some wrong conclusions and conclusions. Your partner may have spent a lot of time in Western countries and then his worldview will be more global, but he may never have left his home country, and you should understand that.
Most Westerners are used to more individuality, but Indians are used to observing a collective culture. In Indian company you can often see several similarly dressed people, and you won't even know which one is in charge. Indian executives in such meetings often prefer not to talk at all, and only appreciate what others are saying.
6. More patience
Modern India can be fast or slow and it is hard to know at what pace you will find yourself. Sometimes you may feel that the delivery is incredibly slow, and other times everything will happen in 5-10 minutes. This means you need to be prepared for either outcome. Be patient and try to react to all situations in a positive way.
7. You are one of many
The whole world is going to India. Even if your company is big enough, it's probably one of many for India. The rest of the world is trying to get into India to establish their business, so Indians can choose between different options. Most Western executives find that they don't have many options to partner with, while the Indian businessman can choose among a huge variety of giant corporations.
8. Don't be intimidated by paradoxes
Visitors may not be prepared for how unusual modern India is. Large organizations have to provide their goods as quickly as possible, not just have some idea, to develop future opportunities. Organizations from all over the world come to India to develop their prospects. India can be either slow or fast. It is a paradox country.
9. Religious Holidays
It's easy enough to overlook this, but try to remember to check the calendar for any Indian national or religious holidays. You will have a hard time doing business at such times, and sometimes a holiday can last several days. Take this into consideration.
10. Work harder if you want to achieve more
Hindus are used to being constantly ready for change, which is what allows them to thrive and grow. It also means they have fewer concrete and clear plans and contracts. This can sometimes scare newcomers. If you want to be clear about all your goals - it can take you a long time. Try not to go head-on, because in Indian culture everything is relative, and sometimes your directness can be seen as impolite or even insulting. Once you have completed the negotiation, expect that even after it is over, there may be some changes to the contract. It is rare that something happens definitively in India. They are used to the world and life changing all the time, and they do business the same way.
11. Be careful when choosing a place
Even though Mumbai is the economic and business capital, many businessmen still have to visit Delhi. It is a great business city and also a political capital. Always think about where your main market is. Perhaps it's the south? Then think about Chennai. It is important to research the region you are going to be based in and the region you want to focus on in terms of business. Preferably, they should overlap.
12. Be prepared for the fact that you will have to travel a lot
Wherever exactly you are in India, there are more than thirty major cities that will suit you for business. That said, India is constantly evolving, so the number of such places is only growing. Also, in India, face-to-face meetings are very important when doing business.
13. Start and end the day later
Breakfast meetings in India can even be scheduled for 10 a.m., and your dinner meeting can take place around 9 p.m. This is absolutely normal for India.
14. Things can change at the last minute
India has its own rhythm. You can make an appointment early, at 6:30 p.m., and be unpleasantly surprised when your partners are two hours late. Just go with the flow and adjust to the local rhythm.
15. Be prepared for interruptions
Indians are prepared to handle multiple tasks at once, so don't be intimidated if someone answers the phone during your presentation. and someone has to sign papers. It's not customary to turn off cell phones at any formal conference; they're just used to answering them softly. Your focus on one thing will not always be the best quality. Do not think that your project is not given enough attention if the business partner was distracted during the meeting. They are so used to living at such a pace that they are perfectly capable of handling multiple tasks.
16. More formality
If you address yourself by your title and last name, it will show your good manners. Informality can help you later, when you establish close contact between partners.
17. Handshake with women
Many people are used to thinking that you need a minimum of body contact during business discussions. In India, not everyone thinks of this. Wait until a woman extends her hand to you first. In this case, if you decide to shake her hand yourself, there is nothing wrong with it, the main thing is just to be careful in such matters.
18. Don't get hung up on a handshake
In the West, many people are used to "reading" their partner through a handshake depending on the firmness and duration. In India, this is much easier, but don't think that your partner is not interested in the project if he or she shakes your hand gently.
19. Navigate the chaos
The West tends to create certainty and more simplicity in business. Indian businessmen, on the other hand, understand that life is totally chaotic, and we can never tell where it will take us. That's why Indian corporations offer so many services and it's quite unusual for Western businessmen who like to focus on one thing. Indian companies are willing to buy your product or service, but they also want to make sure that the intellectual property is part of the deal.
20. Flexibility and patience
Flexibility and patience is something that will only help you. Even if you are from a country that likes maximum straightforwardness and organization. Most Indians are used to communicating superficially, without concentrating on a particular topic, so it will take you some time to solve real problems. India is unexpected, and it's important to be able to change with it. Give up the "one strategy for all" rule.
If you are thinking about whether you should go into business in India, Rabindranath Tagore (the great Indian philosopher) has already prepared a solution for you. "It is impossible to swim across the sea simply by looking at the water."
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