Taking It Overseas: The Experiences Of 6 Women Working Internationally
When working or starting a business overseas, you can’t just jump right in. You will need to research the cultural norms, learn the languages, and understand the nuances of doing business in that country.
“Spend as much time as you can with the local residents, particularly the elders,” says Vivian Scott Chew, founder and CEO of TimeZone International, which assists U.S.- based brands from music and fashion to film and corporate entities establish a presence in the world marketplace.
Do some research not only in the country’s business climate, but also on the culture. “I believe that some people do not research the entire climate of the region they are about to enter. Not only does one need to know the business landscape, but it is equally as important to know the historical, cultural, religious and socioeconomic climate,” says Chew.
Get out and mingle with the locals; you want to become part of the community. “Spend as time as you can with the local residents, particularly the elders,” notes Chew.
You need to be flexible and adapt to the cultural and business norms of the country you are in. “When I would conduct business in Jamaica, the cultural differences became readily apparent to me. I knew I could not use my ‘sometimes’ typical bull in a China shop tactics. Being respected comes from giving respect,” says Chew.
Even though you want to adapt to the country, you never want to lose your own principles. “Quite simply, remain your true self and stick to your own work ethic. Hopefully, your behavior will eventually rub off. And when all else fails, when in Rome, be a Roman,” explains Chew.
Here are a few other stories and tips from living abroad, starting with my own.