Thousands of businesses around the globe successfully import goods from Brazil every day, and that would be mainly to the chance of cutting costs at the same time as receiving a high quality product, which makes it a tempting option for many businesses overseas.
However, when you think of the beaches, the carnival, samba, football and parties, be aware that doing business in Brazil can be quite a challenge to importers, and not as much fun. Even though there is an enormous potential for companies and entrepreneurs overseas, it will take time, money and quite a lot of effort to do so.
There will be a number of advantages of doing business with Brazil though, and the following cultural facts about Brazil may help you on your way.
1 – Bureaucracy
Brazil has quite a complex tax system with high taxes. The reform of the laws and regulations for opening and running a business in Brazil has not adapted at the rate with which the economy has grown, unfortunately, which can present many problems to companies that are willing to import. According to USA Today, it can take 3 times longer to import or export goods to Brazil than most other countries.
2 – Roads and transportation
There may be long journeys between cities and states, where cultures may vary significantly, and it is said that Brazil is practically a continent in itself. Brazil is a country notorious for its poorly constructed and maintained roads,
railways and seaports. Delays at airports are common, this being aggravated by a not efficient and slow customs service.
3 – Personal contacts and conservatism
You may need to visit the country several times before sealing a deal, as a lot of importance is put on personal contacts. Sao Paulo is Brazil’s most internationally orientated business city, where business behaviour is more westernalized than everywhere else. In general, the more north you go in Brazil, the more conservative business mentality will become. A big part of the economy of Brazil consists of family businesses, and these kind of companies are more
patriarchal and formally organized than western companies. Brazilians consider having a decent family background as being very important, and often managers start later than their subordinates, but stay longer.
4 – Lunch break
Sitting at your desk or in your cubicle, eating lunch while you work is incomprehensible to most Brazilians, who leave their offices to eat with their colleagues and friends. Offices usually work Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm. Lunch breaks can last up to 2 hours, from 12pm to 2pm, which makes doing business with Brazilian companies quite complicated. As an example, due to the time difference, someone in the UK will only be able to speak to Brazil after 12pm and only until 4pm. Then, they will have to wait until they come back from lunch, which usually would be around 6pm (London time).
5 – Footwear
Brazilian footwear is highly desirable worldwide, due to the low prices, high quality and design. Because of this, Brazilian footwear is exported to more than 150 countries, generating around USD 1,1 billion of sales annually. The Brazilian Footwear program was created in October 2000 and its main target markets are United Arab Emirates, France, Italy and United States of America.