USA

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DOING BUSINESS IN THE USA

The ‘American Dream’, fuelled by the nation’s traditional global leadership in finance, technology and pharmaceuticals makes the prospect of entering the American market extremely appealing. Indeed, despite the fall of Lehman Brothers and subsequent recession, the economic forecast for the USA is a healthy one, with American GDP growth expected to rise to 2.7% in 2018, 2.4% in 2019 and 2% in 2020. Doing business in the USA appears, on the surface, to be a seamless process, with the country ranked sixth in the world for business ease.

Regardless of all the attractive “pull factors” of doing business in the USA, it is not without its unique challenges. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the nation’s Corporate Tax Rate from 35% to 21% when the Act was introduced in 2018, but the country still levies significant taxes at state and municipal levels.

Previously, America was largely free from the restrictions experienced by many European counterparts at the hands of more interfering governments and Brussels representatives. However, the trend of increasing micromanagement of many business activities by the government and enforcement of more excessively complex laws can make doing business in the USA a minefield of paperwork and obstacles. From a wider perspective, American dominance of financial and technological development is facing challenges from rising powers China and India during the dawn of the “Asian Century.”

Doing business in the USA often takes on a scientific approach, with everything being quantified and tested. This constant striving for improvement means job mobility, transitionary teams and the need for transferable skills are commonplace. American business meetings are often characterised by directness. Rather than rudeness, the directness communication style is simply a sign that time pressured and American business executives do not have time for vagueness or diplomacy in the constant drive for business development.

The World Business Culture website contains practical information to help prepare those doing business in the USA with the necessary understanding of American culture and market to thrive in the American business setting.

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