Starting a business in another country is an exciting time for many entrepreneurs, as it can signal the beginning of an international business empire, but if done incorrectly it can also be the beginning of a terrible series of mistakes. Other countries have different business cultures, and the cultures established in your home country may be unacceptable in other countries that you are looking to start a business in. You might put yourself in good stead with your potential business partners by arranging a meeting in a virtual office, such as Servcorp Philippines, but you want to avoid the mistake of not establishing personal relationships with your business partners, as this could cause offence and lead to the end of your business dealings. Even though it may seem confusing to people who haven’t done business in the Philippines before, it does become second-nature within a short amount of time, however being overwhelmed is understandable in the beginning. We have gone through three things to consider when starting a business in the Philippines, in order to help you avoid the pitfalls of foreign business policy.
Build Personal Relationships
The first thing to know about business in the Philippines is that all business transactions begin with establishing personal relationships. Try not to approach someone directly to set up business dealings, but rather go through a third party and set up meetings in social settings in order to build rapport and friendliness between you and your business partners. This is a crucial step in succeeding in business ventures in the Philippines, as Filipinos are uncomfortable doing business with people they aren’t familiar with. Once a rapport is established, business proceedings can go ahead and you can move forward to the next stage of negotiations, which can be equally confusing, but is explained ahead.
When communicating your wants and expectations in business, it is customary to be courteous and indirect in your style of speech, as to directly request or refuse something can cause someone to lose face, which is considered unacceptable. A gentle tone of voice is usually preferred in conversation, and keeping your voice neutral as much as possible is encouraged. Be aware that it is also very rude to raise your voice or interrupt someone while they are speaking, and these actions must be avoided thoroughly. These concepts can seem strange to western business ideologies, as being clear and forthright with your expectations is a must in every business transaction if mutual benefit is to be gained.
Giving gifts is somewhat common in western business culture, but in the Philippines it is an expected part of the business dealings themselves. The presentation of the gift is particularly important, as the gift will not be opened till later, in a more private setting. The gifts you give should not be overly expensive, as this can cause unease if the giver of the gift you receive can feel their gift is inferior. This also goes for dining at a business partner’s house, however the gifts in this instance should be food related, and not expensive at all. Avoid giving Chrysanthemums as gifts, however flowers are usually acceptable as gifts.
A business venture in the Philippines can be one of the most rewarding you might ever encounter, and the people there are friendly and considerate in all things. Making their comfort a high personal priority will put you in good stead with most potential business partners you encounter, and will help you on the way to a fruitful business.