The In’s and Out’s of Cross-Cultural Business in Miami

Miami is not a city known for kindness, brotherly love or business sophistication. It is known for parties, beaches, alternative lifestyles and ‘The Big Man’ (Shaquille O’Neal) at center court playing for the Miami Heat basketball team. Like any metropolitan city, businesses in Miami come and go quickly.

Building a sales business in the Miami metro area involves a key understanding of Latin culture and the ability to recognize that time is measured differently than most other places in the U.S. It is an unusual universe that contains roughly 800,000 permanent residences. During the tourist season, the population will almost double. As well, the city serves as the home of the U.S. cruise industry, which significantly increases the transient population. The airport serves as the gateway to Central and South America, providing and entry into a growing consumer market.

Culturally, Miami is drawing point for many Latin migrating from Central and South America. Latinos are very family-oriented and have a tendency to cloister along national lines. They will mix with other Latinos, but generally maintain close ties with people from their former countries of origin. In order to gain access to there culture, proper introductions and assurance are needed. Business transactions function in a similar fashion.

Usually an informal connection is established before formal business connections are forged. An invitation to attend a particular family function is not an uncommon precursor to transition into a trade relationship. This generally applies to small and medium sized commerce activities. When a single relationship is built and a pattern of solid transactions is established, Latinos will generally recommend those services to others who may need them. Thus, a Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½word of mouth’ endorsement may substantially increase profit potential for someone looking to do well in Miami.

Miami works on ‘Miami time’. This usually means a 15 to 30 minute delay in starting any meeting based on an appointed time. It may be the result of the predominate Latin influence on the city or it may be the lack of strong corporate presence in the region. With that in mind, it is advisable to plan 30 minutes delay between the appointed meeting start and the actual meeting start. So if a lunch meeting is supposed to start at noon, schedule it for 11:30 to ensure the attendees will arrive on time.

It is also helpful to remember that traffic impacts off site meeting tremendously. Miami is not known for its smooth or even high volume mass transit. Getting from one side of town to the other in less than one hour during business hours is considered a triumph by many residences. Most people are inclined to travel on their own in their own vehicle. Account for traffic delays when scheduling appointments that may bring participants from other areas of the city together in one place.

For those people looking to work a sales business in Miami, keep in mind the primary economy of the region. Miami lacks an industrial base, so a large part of the economy is service sector founded. As a result, median household incomes may be lower than other areas that have a more diversified business climate. The margin between affordable housing and wages has been rapidly increasing during the past several years. This will continue to have a tremendous impact on local residence spending for goods and services. A focus on sales to non-residences might be advisable when either founding a business in Miami or expanding accounts into the area.

In all, Miami is a culturally diverse city with unique opportunities to business people. It provides a solid family-based economy in the Latin culture, transient economy with the tourist sector and is a gateway to growing corridors beyond the U.S. The region enjoys temperate weather year round and boasts a favor that cannot be found anywhere else in North America.

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