Successful Entertaining in India

As in all relationship-driven cultures, business entertaining is an important part of the whole commercial process.

Take every opportunity to eat with your Indian colleagues and clients.

Business entertaining would rarely occur at a breakfast meeting as the working day starts in a more leisurely way than with a high-powered business meeting – and people often have a long commute in difficult conditions. Therefore, you are more likely to be invited out for lunch or dinner.

Food in India is invariably spicy and if you don’t like spicy food, you have to look quite hard for milder alternatives (often an omelette.) Food is usually offered as vegetarian or non-vegetarian options with the vegetarian dishes being in greater supply. It is perfectly acceptable to choose a non-vegetarian dish even if your host chooses vegetarian.
Remember that Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims don’t eat pork (or drink alcohol).

Eating in India can seem an informal affair where the use of the hands for eating is perfectly permissible – often even in the most expensive of restaurants. (If you find this difficult, eating implements will almost always be available.) It is always more polite to eat with the right hand than the left hand. People tend to start to eat as soon as their meal arrives rather than waiting for everybody to be served.

It is usual to leave a tip of around 10% when settling the bill.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in India

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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India is notoriously difficult. It scores badly on the ease of doing business index and a lack of investment in infrastructure over the past twenty to thirty years can test even the most seasoned of business travellers. So why bother with India when there are easier potential markets?

We feel you really do need to look at doing business in India for a number of very strong reasons. Firstly, India stands poised to become one of the world’s largest economies over the coming years as economic liberalisation kicks in after decades of political stagnation. It has a population of almost 1.3 billion of which 50% are under the age of 30 and therefore the consumer potential of the country is almost limitless. Secondly, the lack of historical investment in the country means that India needs everything. You cannot point to a sector which is not crying out for investment and new product ideas. Thirdly, and very importantly, India has a highly educated, aspirational workforce who can help you build your business on the ground.
India is the ‘next big thing’ – you really cannot afford to ignore it.

You cannot ignore India but if you want to business in India successfully, you need to understand it. You need to understand the cultural drivers and expectations of the people you will be working with when you get there and you need to understand how that cultural knowledge can help you succeed in-country.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Indian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips