The Effect of Culture on Business

by | May 5, 2015

Studying cultural differences and applying what is learned can make a company more likely to succeed in different regions. Roelant Prins of Adyen has seen that business habits can stem from cultural habits, so it stands to reason that the more familiar the customs are, the better you can tailor your product or service to the varying customer base.

Adyen helps companies accept payments from around the world. Last year they processed $25 billion in funds for their merchants, and this year Roelant Prins estimates they are approaching $32 billion. He has identified different payment trends in different countries, and notes that they reflect the cultural attitude towards money.

Let’s break down this quote from Prins: “In order to be successful [as a business that processes payments] in [various countries], you have to tap into [their] way of paying.”

  • In order to be successful as a chef in England, you have to identify the foods British people like to eat.
    • Do they like spicy foods? Fried foods? Sweets or savories?
  • In order to be successful as an administrative assistant in Costa Rica, you have to become familiar with the way Costa Ricans do business.
    • Should meetings happen in the morning or the afternoon?
    • Do people prefer a formal discussion or a casual conversation?

If you have an international company, there is great benefit to learning the different cultures in the countries where you are working, or hoping to expand. In doing so, you can apply touches to your service that will really appeal to the individual markets, instead of trying to distribute the same product across the globe and risk disinterested consumers.