Remember the days when Geert Hofstede’s model defining cultural dimensions was like the Bible? Hofstede gave businesses a simple and understandable model and a means to understand what made countries (around 90 of them) and the way they do business different or, in some instances, similar. These six cultural dimensions (shown in below image) represented preferences related to specific topics that differentiated countries (rather than individuals) from each other.
SME businesses evolve in various shapes and sizes and some grow large enough to want to venture selling into international markets. The process of going international has to be combined with the spirit of entrepreneurialism and structure. Very often SME’s tend to venture into international markets on a trial and error mode resting on hearsay and adopting make shift strategies that lead to all kinds of expensive mistakes during the journey.
Let me take you back to your childhood for just a brief moment. To a time when you were as ‘cheeky as a wagonload of monkeys and twice as mischievous’. Do you remember the lecture you received from your mother or father? The words went in through one ear and out the other. At that moment, all you wanted was for the ‘conversation’ to end, so that you could go back to playing with your friends and getting up to the same mischievous activities you were partaking in just minutes earlier.
Now let me take you back to an even fonder memory – when your mother or father would tuck you into bed at night and read you the most magical of stories. Folktales have been part of every culture for thousands of years. From the Italian ‘Il Pentamerone’ to the Greek ‘Poseidon’, the Arab ‘Abu Jmeel’ to the Chinese ‘Tikki Tikki Tembo’ and the remarkable Indian ‘Panchatantra’ and ‘Hitopadesha’.