The Philippines is quickly becoming a renowned destination with business people from around the world. The low costs of living, friendly locals and stunning scenery have been attracting to the island nation for decades but now professionals are looking to the Philippines too. In fact, by 2020, the country is aiming to have 500 startup companies that, so far, have raised a whopping $200 million in funding and have a valuation of $2 billion.
For foreign investors, it’s important that you take the time to understand the local business culture so that you can comfortably build your business over time. Coworking spaces in the Philippines are growing in popularity in the major business hubs and are a fantastic way of meeting people in the local business community. What’s more, with a premium provider, you will immediately be able to operate from a prestigious business address that will give your business instant credibility within the local business landscape.
Continue reading to learn more about doing business in the Philippines, especially those who are new to the country.
Business Meeting Etiquette
Scheduling a meeting in the Philippines is a little different to how it is done in western countries. First of all, arranging to meet someone for a coffee that day to discuss business or even tomorrow is something that simply doesn’t happen. Instead, you need to make arrangements well in advance and even a months notice is not uncommon.
Professional courtesy mandates that you should confirm the meeting a few days in advance and ensure that you have always forwarded any materials needed for the meeting ahead of time. In Filipino business culture, you will always be considered a newcomer in the local business climate until you have met with people face-to-face. Get your meetings organised before you touch down and make sure you’re on time.
While in western cultures, there are certain personal boundaries that are almost always maintained, even in the business world, in Asia this is not always the case. Newcomers to the Philippines might find that their colleagues are asking overly personal questions and being, what in western culture, might be deemed rude. However, it’s important to note that this is simply not the case. They are simply trying to build a warm, personal relationship from the very beginning.
If you are asked about your family history, marital status or how you’re children are doing in school at your first meeting, don’t be offended or be thrown off. These are relatively straightforward questions in the Philippines and are well-meaning. Embrace the warmth of the people and you will be able to foster long-term positive business relationships with ease.
You might perceive gif- giving in the business realm as a way to try and win favour with your colleagues. However, in the Philippines, as with the rest of Asia, this is not true. In fact, gift-giving is a part of the culture and a great way to show your thanks and appreciation of others. The one thing that you do need to pay attention to is how you wrap your gift. The wrapping is a direct reflection of the amount of time, thought and effort you put into the gift. This, of course, will have a direct impact on how your business relationship with this individual might develop over time. As with doing business in the rest of the world, first impressions are important, so be sure that you get your relationship off to the best possible start.
Do Business In The Philippines With Confidence
When you’re new to another country and/or culture, it’s important that you take some time to understand how things are done locally to ensure you are welcomed with open arms. In business terms, how you deal with cultural nuances could be the make or break of your business and it’s important that you do what you can to show respect for where you are. Filipinos are incredibly warm, friendly and outgoing people. Treat their culture with respect, make a little effort and you will soon be on your way to business success in the Philippines.