Sri Lanka is a really complex and diverse country. If you want to do business there, you will need to know many different things. Business is impacted by religion, language and regionalism in the country. Etiquette, behavior and approach have to be modified based on context and who you do business with. The biggest impact will be hierarchy. The Sri Lankan society has roots in the caste and Hinduism system. It should come as no surprise to notice that we have a strong connection with social order, status and the role of an individual in business.
Family Over Skills
When it comes to business etiquette in Sri Lanka, some facts are more important than others, based on so many factors that have to be considered. The businesses that are family owned will usually reward the allegiance and not necessarily competitive skills. This will frustrate younger professionals. The young scions and family members will receive business management responsibilities when young, even if there is not much experience available.
In the event that you will have to go through negotiations in Sri Lanka, you need to understand that they will be quite slow. When you do not have trust that is established, building a rapport is a necessity. All the decisions were made at high levels. This basically means that if the company’s director or owner will not be present at the meeting, you are at an early stage in the negotiation.
The Importance Of Prices
Many of the business deals that are established in Sri Lanka are based on the lowest possible price. You need to be really careful when you go through financial negotiation. Sri Lankans do tend to go towards high quality but when dealing with outsiders, prices are important.
The business decisions are not based just on statistics, presentations and empirical data. Faith, feeling and intuition are highly important factors to consider. Patience is respected and always necessary. Absolutely everything will be re-negotiable and retractable until money is put into the business.
Other Facts To Consider
The contacts of an individual are always highly important and will dictate career advancements. There are various reports that highlight the existence of investor and consumer fraud, with scandals appearing every some years.
The regular business hours are from 8:30 to 17:00, from Monday to Friday. Only some businesses are open during Saturday mornings, with few available on Sundays.
It is really important that you address the Sri Lankan properly, with the use of a formal title. Sri Lankans see doing business with foreigners as something that is reputable. Joint venture partnerships will be favored and can be marked by ostentatious hospitality, family event invitations and lavish gifts. Friendship is usually put above business with foreigners.