Is understanding cultural context worth the investment?

What's the return on investment of understanding the cultural context of your new markets?

Here's an example for you...

Imagine you're moving to Berlin to open the European desk of your organisation and you're looking for an apartment to live in during your time there. 

The real estate agent organises an apartment viewing and while, you're happy with the apartment and its location, you recognise there is no kitchen. You find this very odd and ask your real estate agent on earth where the kitchen is and they reply, "Sorry, we don't have any properties in our portfolio with kitchens."

What, not a single apartment with a kitchen? Crazy! 

You would right this agency off as untrustworthy, unprofessional even, and look for a new agency. However, the same thing happens again. They also show you three new properties, ALL with no kitchen. You begin to question if maybe you're the crazy one.

Here's some context for you, if you're looking to rent or buy property in Berlin, it's probably helpful to know than the majority of apartments come WITHOUT a kitchen. 

Imagine how different your experience would have been if you were prepared. Imagine when you contacted the real estate agent, they said, "We'd be happy to help you look for a property. It's probably useful to know that most of our clients look for properties without a kitchen as they wish to install their own. As you're not our typical local client, I'd just like to confirm if you'd like to see our portfolio with or without kitchens?"

You'd, of course, reply, "I'm new in the city and am most definitely only interested in viewing the apartments with a kitchen."

Et voilà, the situation did not change, your information changed. You now know what to expect as your enter this new market, allowing you more time and energy to focus on setting up your business. 

The ROI is not simply knowing the 'top 10 cultural facts,' it's about being prepared and not making costly mistakes. 

Until next time,