Magazine article Management Services

Beware the Business Culture Shock

Magazine article Management Services

Beware the Business Culture Shock

Article excerpt

More and more UK companies are selling goods abroad, which is great news for the economy but can present serious opportunities for cultural faux pas, according to Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.

Ted Ettershank from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance explains, "Business etiquette and seasonal practices can vary widely even between neighbouring European countries. For example in the UK we are used to 30 day terms, whereas a Greek company might take up to 90 days to pay. Unsuspecting UK businesses can find themselves with severe cashflow problems as a result of what might be common business practice in another culture."

The Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance multi-language team has come up with a number of common business etiquette points to help firms who are starting to do business abroad: There is a global view of how the UK is perceived and you will be expected to act in a certain way. Expect to talk about the weather! Remember that different countries have different national holidays. France, for example, has four national holidays during May alone and many French businesses close down altogether for the whole of August.

Italian business people generally prefer to do business with only the most important people in any organisation, so if you have any advanced qualifications, make sure you print them on a translated business card! Meanwhile in the US there is still a certain belief that "lunch is for wimps", so don't start looking at your watch come lpm - and boozy lunches are definitely out.

The French, however, love to do business over lunch. …

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