Basic Manners and Customs Show Respect for Indian Culture
Understanding the basics of manners and customs in Mumbai is the first step to doing business there successfully. Learn to recognize names and what they can tell you about people - someone named "Singh" is always a Sikh (along with most people wearing traditional turbans), the name suffixes -jee and -kar denote high class families, and most people named "Patel" are part of the working class. When exchanging business cards, put the card away carefully instead of stuffing it into your pocket. You may also want to translate your business card into Hindi on the reverse side.
Understand the Hierarchy of Indian Business Culture
The idea of hierarchy is a cornerstone of business in India and is closely adapted from the caste system that has divided Indians into distinct classes for centuries. This strict hierarchy defines the roles of individuals both in societies and in a business setting. While you may envision companies where role players of all pay grades work together, here all workers have a strong sense of social position. Within some companies, menial tasks like changing a light bulb may take hours to complete because nobody will do this task except the "gofer" who might be busy when the bulb needs changing. Understanding this important dynamic is important when employing your own workers or working with other companies.
Learn to Be Respectful and Build Relationships
While Western business is heavily focused on transactions, business in India is centred on relationship building. You can expect to find companies that will turn down potentially lucrative partnerships and offers based on a lack of trust. The network of top businesses in India is small and exclusive, but if you can gain access to it you can achieve a lot. Good working relationships are based on demonstrating a strong business ethic and will to do business, as well as the ability to display trustworthiness.
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