The US business culture differs from the Danish business culture in various ways – and contain small and large barriers for Danes working with the US market.
Among the largest barriers in connection with the entry of – especially small and medium large – companies into the US market is the lack of information concerning regulations, legislation (including product liability) and standards as well as actual cultural differences.
The size and diversity of the market in itself may be an obstacle. The cutthroat competition with large well-established US competitors is also an obstacle, as many small companies may have problems being taken seriously by potential clients in the US, who are unsure of whether a smaller Danish company can comply with their fierce requirements for quality, capacity and delivery.
Among the most important cultural differences should be mentioned the individualism, entrepreneurship and aggressive style of the Americans; they are self-confident, ready to risk everything and start over again in case of an eventual bankruptcy.
The Americans are very persuasive in their presentation of a product, an idea etc. Other differences are the importance of rank and position in a company or an organization as well as a general tendency to make fast decisions and have a shortsighted attitude. It is a natural thing to be aggressive in your marketing in the US and you are expected to answer any purchasing inquiries rapidly (preferable within 24 hours).
Compared to regular meeting culture in Denmark, it is recommended to enhance active participation during meetings and praising of suggestions, products etc. that you find favorable. Silent consent is typically regarded differently in the US compared to Denmark.
The Americans put great importance to creating good, personal contact through e.g. conferences, social events. This should not be down prioritized.
The Americans generally seem obliging and positive in their appearance when entering into e.g. a sales agreement – also even if they are not. You should be careful in interpreting body language and signals at first contact as the Americans may seem extremely obliging seen from a Danish perspective.
The US working day is in general somewhat longer than the Danish. Offices, including public offices, normally have opening hours from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday; even though people work longer in reality.
The bank office hours are normally from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday.
You can more or less shop for groceries and personal products whenever you want to in the US. The malls normally have opening hours from 10 am to 8 or 9 pm, Monday to Saturday and from 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday. The super markets often have opening hours from 7 am to 9 pm every day.
Bank holidays are determined in each state and may differ from state to state. It is important not to arrange meetings on these days.
The most important national holidays are shown below. There are several other important religious holidays.
The season for summer vacation traditionally covers the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day with peak season mid July - August.
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