Cross-Cultural Awareness Is A Must In Today’s Small Business.


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It’s necessary in our culturally diverse neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods you transact your business in are increasingly ethnically and economically diverse. Nevertheless, cultural differences remain very real and can have a negative impact on the performance of your business.

As an entrepreneur, if you have a narrow cultural perspective, you tend to miss opportunity, perform poorly and have weak customer relationships. In contrast, if you are culturally aware, you tend to be able to respond to and perform well under varied and unfamiliar cultural circumstances. You succeed in dealing with multiple perspectives, learn new processes and foster cross-cultural participation.

Learning about the other culture is a very important starting point. Familiarity with their language and customs through education helps tremendously. But information is not always enough. To develop real cultural awareness, you need to become personally involved in the other community.

Here are five tactics for boosting your cultural awareness and improving your effectiveness as a small business owner:

Be open to other ideas, points of view.
Turning off your leadership autopilot and becoming open to other ideas, views, needs and assumptions lets you entertain different perspectives and value diverse viewpoints. Learn to switch your frame of reference and to temporarily suspend your beliefs while you listen and watch.

Actively seek out others frames of reference.
Be curious and open. Learn to ask questions to understand the other’s perspectives. Learn to listen and understand the words they Associate with your products or services. As you build your marketing message to them, these are the key terms you’ use.

Understand what you have in common. This helps you and your cross-cultural customer build on your relationship. This helps you set up bonds as opposed to concentrating on the walls that separate you.

Take the time to assimilate what you learn. The process of cross-cultural awareness does not happen overnight. Take time to process everything you learn and place it in the context of the people you are learning from.

Be ready to accept the ideas of others. Learn to suppress your ego and find value in what you learn from them. You might have to change the way you do business and this may be hard to accept, but in the long run it will help your business grow and succeed.

Remember, your business has several key components, and your cross-cultural customers are the foundation upon which it is built in today’s diverse economic neighborhoods

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Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


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