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Doing Business in India For Dummies® by Ranjini Manian

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Setting up Shop in India

Doing business in India may seem like an easy proposition. After all, much of the educated population speaks English, and the legal foundation of the country is based on established European traditions. But the Indian way of life and the Indian way of communicating may take some getting used to, which can impact how you set up and grow your business in India. The following example illustrates this point:

Some years ago, I invited a British associate to my Indian home for a visit, and gave him directions on how to get there. After listening to the string of instructions I provided, he politely asked, “Which left turn after the Chola Hotel do I need to take?” I thought about the answer to his question, and honestly didn’t know.

“I’m not sure. Maybe the third or fourth left. There’s a tea stall at the end of the road,” I said.

“All right,” he said, “I’ll look for a tea stall then. I hope it’s open when I get there so I don’t miss it. And which house on the left is yours?” Again I thought about the answer, and again I wasn’t completely sure. I knew which house was mine, but I didn’t know how many other houses were on the same side of my street!

“Hmm, let me think. First is the Appaji apartment, then there’s an independent house, then another one or is it two?” I said. “Maybe it’s the fourth or fifth house. I’m just not sure. Why don’t you come to the Lifestyle store, which is near my house, and I’ll pick you up there?” My associate agreed but then asked me ...

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