Peru is booming. And not just tourism, either–the high-tech sector is set to explode.
But Peru can be a difficult place to do business, if you don’t know how the country works. Here are some tricks to help you close the deal.
1. Understand Peru’s History
Less than a generation ago, Peru suffered from hyperinflation. People weren’t pushing wheelbarrows of paper money to buy a loaf a bread, but it was pretty bad. The resulting economic and political instability is still fresh in people’s memories. The result? Peruvians tend to be shy about new ways of doing things, and are occasionally guilty of putting short-term profit ahead of long-term gain. Something to keep in the back of your mind.
2. Peru Isn’t Just Machu Picchu
Yeah, Machu Picchu’s cool. But Peru is so much more than just the former Incan emperor’s summer retreat in the mountains. The government is putting big money into developing infrastructure, and the startup ecoystem is growing rapidly.
3. Peruvians Speak Little English
Seriously. Don’t go to Peru expecting to do business in English. It’s not going to go well. Either bring a business associate who speaks Spanish, or hire an interpreter on the ground. Money well spent.
4. Traffic in Lima is horrible.
Sao Paolo horrible. Give yourself plenty of time between appointments, and don’t try to squeeze in more than three visits per day. Also note that taxis aren’t metered, and taxi drivers may try to *ahem* overcharge you. Best to use a driver recommended by your hotel.
5. Peruvians Know How to Haggle
Peruvians will give you a friendly welcome to the boardroom, but you better have a local business associate with you. Peruvians can be aggressive negotiators. Don’t expect any special treatment because you’re a foreigner.
6. You Must Visit in Person
Like most of Latin America, business is done in person. Don’t expect to close over Skype. It’s not going to happen.
7. Peruvians Are Proud of their Culture
Ceviche and pisco are practically national religions. Be sure to praise your meals to your hosts. They will love you for it.
Lima is a big city. The usual rules apply. Don’t go walking around a sketchy neighbor with your new iPhone to your ear, talking loudly in English about the million-dollar business deal you just closed. When in doubt, take a taxi–preferably one recommended by your hotel.
Peru is set to explode onto the international stage. Get in early, get in often. The moderate risk is worth the high returns. And hey–once you close to deal, there’s always Machu Picchu for dessert. What more can you ask for?