Problems in India come in different shapes and sizes. Some may be familiar to you, others may fall outside your realm of experience, and still others are completely unique to India. You can’t plan for every single hazard, but you can develop a defensive plan to counter the most common problems, and that strategy pays off in the long run.
One of the most important rules for doing business is don’t make assumptions. You need to constantly remind yourself that you’re operating in an alien scenario, where certain perceptions and needs are completely new to you. Many practices, standards, and patterns you’re used to in the West simply don’t exist in India. Assumptions can wreak havoc in a variety of areas, and I’ve included a few important ones in this section.
When making your Indian business plans, remember that a desk survey or simple Internet research doesn’t reveal all the business information you need. If at all possible, you should dispatch a senior executive or other key employee (if not a team) to assess first hand the real flavor of the Indian business scenario.
One example of how assumptions can lead to trouble in India can be seen in the different ways an accountant in the country reviews a balance sheet as compared to a similar analysis from a Western counterpart. You may ...