Background to Business in The USA

As the US tries to drag itself out of the economic malaise triggered by the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, it finds itself at defining moment in its history.

How can the country maintain its pre-eminence politically in the face of growing pressure from China and India? How can it leverage its intellectual capital so that it continues to be the entrepreneurial world hub and centre of innovation and excellence? US-business ideas and approaches are being scrutinised as never before – is the country ready for the challenge of what many see as the Asian century?

For a century or more the US has led the way in banking and finance, high-tech, computing and pharmaceuticals. US business methodologies have led growth and innovation in a way rarely seen in the history of the world and an understanding of how things work in the States is essential for anybody who works internationally.

More than any other industrialised country, the United States has adopted what could be labelled a scientific approach to business. Every aspect of commercial life is studied and analysed and this scientific approach is both respected and acted upon. Far more resource is available in the US for the study of the methodology of business than in any other country and most new management theory and doctrines have their origins in the States.

In the States everything is quantified and assessed. All processes, even down to such issues as HR and Training are analysed in a detailed manner and the results of this analysis carry weight with decision makers.

This scientific approach – the constant search for better, more effective methods – has led to a business environment typified by the presence of change as a constant factor. The most common response to a changing environment is realignment of the organisation and this, in turn, has produced a work force in a state of constant flux. People leave, are fired or made redundant and then reappear in another organisation. This sense of employee mobility should not, however, be equated with a lack of loyalty to the employer for whom you are currently working. Whilst working for the company you put everything into the job and are totally committed.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

One of the paradoxes about the States is that we all know it from the media, films and music and we all form an internal image of the country and the way things are done there. The problem is that when you start to do business in the USA, you find that your internal image is a far cry from the reality you encounter on the ground. We go to the states with a million preconceptions, only to find them all challenged during the cut and thrust of normal business activities.

People often arrive in the States with the notion that it is the land of free-wheeling capitalism, where everything goes and red tape has been eradicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doing business in the States is as complex and challenging as in any other new international market. You need to do the same amount of initial research and strategising when entering the USA market as you do anywhere else in the world.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – many have and suffered the consequences.

At Global Business Culture, we are often amazed that clients feel they need to gain a better understanding of Chinese or Brazilian business culture but that the USA will somehow be easy or in some way ‘business culture free.’ Like all countries, the USA has a distinct and formidable business culture which drives most strategy and day-to-day interactions. Of course, there are some distinct regional differences but there are also States-wide attitudes that are well worth understanding and which will make your business dealings in the States more successful.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of business culture in the USA 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