Published on September 21st, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
How To Successfully Do Business In Japan
One of the biggest business hubs for IT products and services is clearly in Japan, with many other Asian “tiger” countries also accounting for a sizable market share.
Thus, it’s not at all unusual for US businessmen and women to find themselves moving to Japan or even moving their whole company to Japan. But to do business successfully in another country, you’re going to need some helpful tips in at least these 4 key areas:
Maybe your company can’t afford to move the whole IT staff overseas, and yet, you have to be sure you have quick access to the best IT help when you need it – both for special projects and for ongoing operational support.
Outsourced IT lets you pay only for what you use, when you use it. It gives you access to world class expertise for every IT problem you face. Most businesses fare far better with Cloud-based IT and on-call IT support for their on-site equipment and programs, rather than adding the financial burden of a full-scale IT department.
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Important for mere travelers, but even more critical for business people working in Japan, is the need to ensure your smartphone’s going to work overseas.
You may have paid a lot for your phone, have a lot of contacts in it, and don’t want to give it up. If it has GSM and Quad Band technology, you probably don’t have to. But you may need to get the phone “unlocked.” Many times, in the US especially, if you buy a phone from a service provider, they lock your phone so it can only be used on their network – not friendly!
However, you can pay to have it unlocked. Then, you simply buy a local SIM card and get local cell phone service instead of paying for international roaming the whole time you’re in Japan.
Business can’t all be done online. It requires in-person meetings with coworkers, clients, prospects, and suppliers. But how do you get around most efficiently in Japan?
Consider using the excellent Japanese railway system, a favorite with local business people. These trains are very fast and punctual, leaving Tokyo Station every 15 minutes. It’s best to reserve air travel for longer distance and inter-island travel only.
In larger cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, public buses are a good in-town means of transport, but they’re just used for rides to the train station in smaller cities. Taxis and cars can be good for short runs, but be sure to observe Japanese “sitting orders” so as not to offend guests.
To do business well in Japan, you have to learn some of the basics at least about Japanese culture. Otherwise, miscommunications and misunderstandings are sure to enter in and disrupt your business plans.
First off, realize that in Japan, “no” is often communicated indirectly, by nonverbal cues like a tilting of the head, by saying a proposal might be difficult, offering an alternative solution, or even by a moment of silence.
Second, don’t expect a meeting to conclude with a hard and fast decision or for it to progress as a kind of brainstorming session, like many US business meetings do. Instead, in Japan, business meetings are for gathering information (“picking one’s brain”), while actual decision making occurs following a longer, slower consensus building process.
Third, don’t think you can replace old-fashioned business cards with LinkedIn, a QR Code, or a social media message on Facebook or Twitter in Japan. Instead, it’s accepted practice and considered respectful to give and take business cards, and read them immediately in the presence of the person who just gave one to you.
Mastering these 4 areas of business dealings will go a long way toward making your business stay a successful one in Japan!