India’s large population make it a favorite destination for doing business because it has a large consumption and a varying demography. There is available labor in any business one would like to venture in. India has a stable financial market, this market has evolved from a highly controlled system to a now liberalized one. However, understanding the values, beliefs, and assumption of the Indian culture is key to doing successful business in India.
Highlighted below are some tips to guide you in conducting business in India. These tips will help you to understand India’s business culture and improve your business venture.
1. Time – Indians are not known to be punctual compared to people from the West. This is just a fallacy. Ensure that you are punctual and expect to start the meeting with a small talk. The topics of discussion could vary from politics , India’s economy, cricket, the taxi service you came over on, films etc. However, you need to check your calendar because India has numerous holidays. This is because it has many religions. It has six main religions and other minor ones.
2.Greetings and Introductions – In some instances, namaste greetings is used, this is an Indian greeting that involves pressing your hands together while the fingers point forward. However, for etiquette, a handshake is enough. Ensure that you greet the most senior people first when meeting a large group of people. Status is based on age, level of education, and caste. If you are issued with a business card, pick it using your right hand.
3. Dressing code. The dressing should be smart and comfortable. It is not a must to wear a tie unless it is in the traditional sector such as banking and law. Women should wear a trouser suit instead of a skirt.
4 The Language of communication – English is one of India’s official language and is widely used in business. Use a more indirect way of asking questions rather than direct. Say ‘ I will see ‘ or ‘ I will try’ is more polite than saying ‘no’.
5. Business meeting and Negotiation. You should plan your dates well to ensure that you are not traveling or something. If you are traveling on the said date, ensure that you inform your business partners in advance. Although these meetings are usually expected to begin early, expect for meetings to end late. Also expect a lot of interruptions.
6. Gifts. It is common to give hosts gifts such as flowers to your hosts. However, gifts are not expected to be opened in public. The recipient of the gift needs to wait for the owner to leave before opening the gift. Most Hindus, are vegetarians and you should never give them leather as a gift as they will consider it to be from a dead animal.
7. Food . Always eat using your right hand, eating using your left hand is considered to be offensive in most Indian cultures.
How successful you are in your business trip will depend on a myriad of other factors that include the quality of your products and services. However, if tips mentioned above will also determine whether you will be successful or not.