An Introduction To Japanese Business Culture

When doing business in a foreign country it is always vital to understand differences in culture. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and allows development of positive and long-lasting business relationships. Knowing the differences in business etiquette between British and Japanese culture could be what lands you a lucrative contract or a lucrative new job. While Japanese businesspeople understand that you will not understand all of their culture and business etiquette they will notice and appreciate your genuine efforts.

Relationships
The Japanese generally do business based on personal relationships. Being introduced by a person who has a good relationship with the company is very helpful. You may be given a small trial to prove yourself. Even if this request is non-profitable, completing it quickly and well helps develop a long-term relationship.

Gift Giving
Gifts are very important in Japanese culture. Always give a small gift at the end of a meeting to the most senior member. Consult with a Japanese person on an appropriate gift. Many flowers such as camellias are associated with death and potted plants encourage sickness. If you receive a gift, do not open it in the presence of the giver.

Business Meetings
Meetings should be arranged by telephone well in advance. Punctuality is imperative. Seating is arranged with the most junior member nearest the door and the most senior furthest away. Do not be surprised if meetings contain several people, even if you thought it would be a one-on-one meeting. You will be expected to have a document containing information about your company, testimonials from customers and other companies and newspaper or magazine articles. It is best to come to a meeting with your best offer, as this is what will be expected.

Communication
Consensus and group decision-making is the norm in Japanese culture. Questions should be phrased in such a way that even negative answers can be given with a yes. For example “Do you think this is a bad idea?” rather than “Do you agree?”. Japanese businesspeople may be silent while considering issues and may close their eyes while listening carefully. Confrontational negotiation styles such as raised voices or anger will be frowned upon. Contracts are generally broad with room for re-negotiation and flexibility rather than rigid and point-by-point. However, written contracts are always expected.

Why Strange Businesses Often Succeed

This is perhaps a factor that affects both normal and strange businesses alike. As a matter of fact, when a business is helmed by a person that does not have the necessary skills to run it, it will be doomed for failure from the start. Technically, the manager should have the capacity to identify proper flow of cash in and out of the business. Ideally, a leader should be one that is adept in basic accounting. This is to ensure the business, regardless whether it is strange or not, is still earning enough income.

Adaptability
Most of the strange businesses are able to become successful simply because they adapt to the current presence in the market. As a company, they have to be flexible to the demands of their clients. As they are weird, they must be competent to work with any changes. For example, take a murder scene clean-up business; the employees must be able to adapt to the rules set by the local law enforcement. After all, some of the materials being cleaned up could potentially become evidence to the crime.

Current Economic Performance
Businesses succeed because anyone can afford to pay for the products and services being offered. A typical strange business will often be considered as worthless if the market does not see it as useful. Hence, its’ market must be competent to afford the services offered. When the current economic slump is present, more than probably the clients will not be capable to afford the services. Typically, if unemployment is quite high, then the market will most likely be unable to avail of the services. Plus, the economy becomes a factor to the success of strange businesses because of associated overhead costs.

Uniqueness and Distinction
Notably, most of the strange businesses are considered as success stories because they are distinct from others. Essentially, it means they are probably the sole business in the area that provides the product or service. As long as one markets his business to be the only player in the market, then most likely customers will flock on the doors of the company. However, it is important to remember that a business will only succeed as long as there is the demand for it. Hence, no matter how unique and different the company may be if there is no demand, then most likely it will fail.

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