Starting a business in a foreign country can be very challenging, especially if the country has a very different business culture from your own. Saudi Arabia’s business culture, for example, is unique compared to the European or American business culture.
If you are thinking of expanding your business in Saudi Arabia, it is essential for you to understand its business culture. This understanding will help you conduct the business properly and even helps you to expand your business successfully.
Saudi Arabia Business Culture for Expatriates to Understand
Expatriates must understand some important aspects of business culture before expanding their business in Saudi Arabia.
- The Fundamental Principles of Saudi Arabia Business Culture
Saudis are relationship-oriented so that they generally do business with people they know and trust. Due to this preference, you need to build a relationship with Saudi Arabian business owners if you want to do business with them.
To build this relationship, you can attend some initial meetings and you must not talk about business during these meetings. In addition, decision-making is in the hand of senior staff of a company and decisions generally require layers of approval.
- Working Hours
Most offices in Saudi open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday. Some offices have a long lunch break so that their opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saudis generally work 48 hours a week. However, in Ramadan, they work 30 hours a week.
Expatriates need to be careful in scheduling a meeting with the Saudis because they need to pray 5 times a day. It is better for you to schedule a meeting in the morning or before the midday prayer. A long meeting will likely be paused when the prayer time is coming.
- Time Management
Saudis value time as fluid and flexible. Therefore, most of them are not punctual. In addition, it is common for them to cancel a meeting at the last minute.
- Dress code
It is necessary for people in Saudi Arabia to dress modestly. Your business attire must be conservative and covers most of your body. Women must wear a long skirt and a top with elbow-length sleeves and high neckline.
Tips on Expanding a Business in Saudi Arabia
Understanding the business culture in Saudi Arabia is not enough to have a successful business expansion. You must consult a business consulting firm in Saudi Arabia to get guidance in conducting a business in this country.
This firm will also help you create a connection to the right business owners in Saudi. Therefore, you can build a relationship and have an opportunity to do business with them.
This firm doesn’t only help you to understand the business culture, but it also helps you to understand the customers characteristics, competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and market challenges.
Therefore, you will be able to create the right strategy to face the challenges and reach your business goals.
Expanding your business in Saudi Arabia may not be very easy because you need to adapt to the new business culture. However, with the help of a Saudi Arabian business consultant, you will be able to expand your business successfully.