There are many reasons foreigners look to Vietnam as an ideal location for starting a business and why they continue to do so. Foreign investments have helped create over 1 million jobs in the Vietnamese Market and continue to increase. And, then there is the beginning of a booming Stock Market, which allows for opportunities of growth for foreigners, and many business opportunities that may not be found elsewhere in the world. In the last five years, Vietnam has made tremendous foreign investments allowing foreigners to live – and thrive in an environment with lower taxes, cheaper cost of living and unlimited business opportunities. For a quick lowdown on tips when handling their culture, history and business etiquette, I have highlighted the most important know-how’s you’ll need as you start your business in Vietnam as a foreigner.
1. Respect your elders. This will come in handy as they view older, more experienced business owners, corporate executives and the Elder population with the most respect. If you don’t, it will be harder for you to build a positive reputation, and your business may suffer. Other general cultural rules include being polite, dressing conservative in meetings and arriving to all business related matters on time.
2. Keep your conversations professional. Be careful about casual conversation. For example, stay away from giving your opinion of the Vietnam War, religion and many personal details about your life and experiences. At least while you’re getting used to the Vietnamese culture, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep your thoughts to yourself that don’t have to do with business, and most of all, keep conversations professional.
3. Don’t insult the Vietnamese Government. Enough said, but remember that you are in someone else’s country, and its best to take all precautions. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. If at all in doubt, better not to say it in the company of others.
4. Remember your manners. While getting used to the cultural norms of Vietnam, act carefully as to not insult anyone around you, especially potential business partners or clients. Dress conservatively, bring a gift when invited to someone’s home for dinner, have patience while negotiations are being conducted (they can often take a while) and never make promises you can’t keep