You’ve already established your company in the United States: you’ve chosen a state in which to register the brand, you have all your taxes on track, you’ve got a Registered Agent, you already have the EIN, and you’ve probably opened your bank account (and if not, you definitely should). You have all the details and legal advice as to how to establish a company in the US here.
But… legal advice and being up-to-date with taxes is not the only thing you need to be able to do business in the United States. social tips and tricks to be as American as possible
It is highly recommended that you also start to immerse in American culture so that you understand and behave their way, or at least, show respect to how things are done in the States.
Having a business partner who is a US resident may help you with this, but if that’s not possible, or if you want to learn how Americans do business anyway, here are our social tips and tricks to be as American as possible.
Social tips to do business with American people (social tips and tricks to be as American as possible)
Let’s imagine you have a business meeting and want to be as polite and respectful as possible. First things first.
Before you start an American business meeting..
- Be on time. Some cultures have a lot of appreciation for punctuality, others… just don’t care that much 😉. No worries if you’re the latter, just be aware that Americans consider their time to be gold, so don’t mess with punctuality. Arrive on time, or even a bit early to show respect for them and their timings. If you’re the one who’s organised the meeting or chairing it, it’s even more important to be on time.
- Greet people with a firm handshake (and eye contact). If you come from a Latin country, you may be used to kissing (though things have slightly changed since the pandemic), it is not common in the States unless you have a strong relationship with the person.
- If you’re new, don’t expect your person of contact to introduce you to other people in the meeting. Americans don’t usually do so, they understand everything will come naturally as you speak. So it’s better if you do this upfront so that everyone knows who you are and what’s your position.
- Introduce yourself with your name and ask cordial questions like “How are you”, or “What do you do”.
- If you’re the one asked about how you are, notice that it’s a formal question that doesn’t require a deep answer. You can give an “I’m doing fine, thanks”, and continue with the conversation. Giving too many details about how you really are can create an awkward situation (unless you know the person a lot).
Once the business meeting has started..
You will probably notice the business matters are addressed straight from the beginning of the meeting. If you’re meeting for lunch or dinner, you’ll probably start discussing business details once everyone has ordered, which is quite… straight to the point, compared to other cultures.
It’s not rude, but American businessmen love to go to the main theme and not lose time. Their way of negotiating is quite fast and they love to be given factual and to the point information.
Speak English like no one’s watching
Have you ever heard the saying “dance like no one’s watching? Well, you need to apply this to your English.
Even though you don’t have perfect English, Americans are not very picky when it comes to their language: they are used to being a nation with lots of cultures, so they are open to strong accents and different ways of speaking. Speak English and don’t feel ashamed.
Don’t talk politics, religion or other controversial matters
Americans are very open, but some subjects are better off a business meeting. For example, it would be rude to talk about gun control, abortion, the death penalty, or even religion, as you don’t know where they stand on that topic.
Respect their country
A huge percentage of Americans are proud of the US and feel very fond of the country. The number of patriots who feel strongly about everything their country does is close to 90%, so you’d better avoid making fun of the country or their governors. It could be acceptable in other cultures, and you may even gain sympathy by doing so, but not in the States.
Remember their competitive personality…
Yes, Americans are highly competitive not only in the business world but in life too. They understand that competing gets the best out of people, and thus, their love of rankings also reflect this. There are rankings everywhere: best employee of the month, the 50 best companies to work for; the famous Fortune100, or the best company leaders…
So understand that they will talk about themselves in comparison to other people or companies. It’s not bragging, it’s who they are and how they’re raised to compete.
… but don’t forget about the win-win
Yes, they are competitive as hell. But Americans also understand the philosophy behind this sentence, and they will try to arrive at a point where both parties taking part in the deal are satisfied with the outcome.
You’ll probably hear something similar to “how can we make this deal work”, or “how can we get to a win-win point”?
Now that you already have some legal advice to start a business in the US, and you know how people behave and do business there, you’re good to go.
We also recommend this amazing article by Sean Kilachand on social tips and tricks to doing business in the US.
If you’d like to go a step further, you can also go ahead and enroll for cross-cultural training programs. Here are our recommendations:
You can also have more information, legal advice and access to credit in the United States in our platform. We know your needs… because we’ve been there too.
If you wish to speak to us to know more, we suggest you to:
Step #1 sign up for priority access on our platform
Step #2 Once done, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next week with more exciting content!