Street Smarts For Global Business
A common response often heard by Americans when conducting business overseas is “That’s just not how things are done over here.” As true as that statement may be and no matter how different things are done elsewhere, the business objective remains the same: close the deal, create value, and get paid! Street Smarts for Global Business gives you a behind the scenes look at how global business transactions are done in countries and cultures outside of the United States. Six key topics are explored: legal, language and communications, culture, negotiations, negotiations, outsourcing, and protecting intellectual property. In this book you will discover: > How to win global business via authentic stories and experiences from a seasoned global business executive. > "Street Smarts" templates that provide step by step guidance for analyzing and closing global opportunities. > Behind the scenes business situations and case study examples for numerous countries to include China, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia to name a few.
Having been fortunate enough to have the experience of operating in executive roles for a variety of large publicly traded to small private companies; I realized that there are very few manuals or books pertaining to "the essential 20%" of the global skills required to be successful. My mission was to write a book that communicated my experiences so that others could succeed. You will discover:
> How to win global business via authentic stories and experiences from a seasoned global business executive.
> "Street Smarts" templates that provide step by step guidance for analyzing and closing global opportunities.
> Behind the scenes business situations and case study examples for numerous countries to include China, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia to name a few.
From Chaper 2: Legal - "When in Rome, You Can't Do as the Romans Do"
But What if Something Goes Wrong?
Goods and services are sold every day across national borders.These transactions are subject to a myriad of laws, regulations, restrictions and special arrangements—details of which you are most likely not familiar. Your current global business operations may be progressing without any major threats or improprieties from foreign corporations so far—in fact, your global business may be thriving. But what if something goes wrong? In the United States we are well conditioned to hire an attorney at the first hint of legal woes or evidence that someone is ripping us off. But what if you were wronged in a foreign country, what would you do then? Could you sue them? Can you get an injunction? Should you call the U.S. embassy? Should you call a local investigative reporter to run a story? Should you inform the industry media to the malfeasance?
A country’s legal system is worthless to your business operations if you have no confidence that there is effective enforcement of laws, contracts, and judgments. Even when enforcement is available, if the courts are known to be slow, your business opportunities could be long gone. You also need to take account of the level of corruption that could be present in your target country. Corruption could range from
flat bribes to subtler “processing or facilitation” fees that are asked of you by a government or private vendor.
Where is UPS when you need them?
We shipped three large boxes of computer equipment to Spain three weeks ahead of an upcoming tradeshow. Our shipment made it to the docks withno problem. But when we inquired about getting the equipment shipped to our local office building for assembly and testing we were told that the “local delivery” could take as long as 15 — 20 days to deliver the boxes to our destination less than 15 miles away.The dock processing company told us that there is a “special processing fee” that we could pay in order to “guarantee and expedite” the delivery of our shipment. Instead of taking the quoted 15 - 20 days, it could now be “magically” delivered in hours for an additional
Practices like these may have to be factored into your expansion and cost of doing business calculations prior to your target market selection. All markets have some form of hidden costs associated to them whether they are obvious illegal bribes and corruption to more mundane import taxes, special government licensing fees, express handling fees, etc.
When formulating your global expansion strategy, it is imperative that you obtain more than just good, but outstanding legal advice.My guidance when otaining corporate counsel for global business is to look for the following characteristics:...
From Chapter 3: Language and Communications -"Being Understood Even When They Do Not Understand"
Please Speak Slowly
One of the first questions you may ponder as you venture out into the global market place is how are you going to communicate. Numerous questions come to mind. Will the whole meeting be conducted in English? Do I need to bring a translator? Should I be paranoid if they talk in their native tongue for the entire meeting? Are they offended that I don’t speak their language? Should I get my slides translated? Is it rude for me to ask them to slow down?
I have found the answer to all of the questions above to generally be “No”. The global business language is English, but you will have to be patient and make accommodations when necessary. English is the current lingua franca of international business, science, economics, technology, aviation, and the internet. Even so, it is still beneficial for the global business executives to expand their knowledge of foreign languages.
Make an Attempt
On my first trip to Paris, I recall being excited at the opportunity to finally speak a little French since I had studied the language in junior high school. In an attempt to navigate my way via the Paris subways to my meeting, I asked directions of a friendly looking
gentleman on the street. I chimed in my best Parisian accent, “Où est le métro, si vous plait?”
With elegance, the gentleman replied “Brother, it is down the street on your left.”
The lesson I took away from this experience is that if you make an honest attempt to speak the basics of the language like “please”, “thank you”, “nice to meet you”, etc. your foreign counterpart will appreciate your efforts and be very accommodating.
Not understanding the language when most of the meeting is spoken in a language other than English can be used to your advantage. Japanese executives are known
for having their subordinates do all the communications and translations while they sit back and listen. Even though they speak English, they understand the value of having
extra time to think and formulate a calculated response...