Now whilst that is a fair few air miles the most interesting thing this points to is the very multicultural way we do business in the 21st century.
Many businesses I talk to are looking to move in to international markets. For some it may be the first time, for others it may be further expansion. The advice that I give to all of them is to understand the market, physically go and spend time there. I have seen many a business make decisions on international expansion based on desk research.
This doesn’t work, the numbers ‘can lie’, and as Depeche Mode said in the song ‘People are People so why should it be you and I should get along so awfully?’
The song goes on to proclaim ‘So we’re different colours and we’re different creeds and different people have different needs’. I could not have done my job effectively by going to speak to people in these places, to understand what they need, want, think. If you are considering international expansion or even international trading you need to know that when a Chinese business man hands you a business card with two hands, it is rude not to mirror it being accepting with both.
The fact that the Russians value goods from Germany as a real mark of quality, or that in South Africa they are proud of being ‘black’.
Whatever you are planning subscribe to the Japanese philosophy, you must ‘go to the place’ to truly understand and make correct judgement.
After all ‘People are people…help me understand’