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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Going International

Think your business plan is foolproof? Think again
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By Barry Hochfelder

It's no secret that machine vision—and all of its seemingly daily innovations—is spreading worldwide. The learning curve is made more difficult by language differences, which can be overcome by skilled translators. But too many business plans fail to include the cultural differences between, say the United States and France or Germany and China or Japan and … well, you get the idea.

This month, in addition to a pair of informative machine vision stories—why the automotive industry doesn't use it more, and a look at color-based recognition—we present a lesson in how to do business in another country. What may seem like cultural stereotypes quite often play into the way business is conducted.

Christel Paris-Bicking, a Lyon, France-based international business consultant, says there are a number of learnable skills that can provide the right clues, abilities and command over the factors that can block projects or put the best business plans at risk of failure.

The danger, she points out, is that very often, the corporate culture, self-confidence and pride of the company's stockholders or executives are so strong that they believe that it is just enough to know the "do's and don'ts" of foreign business practices to be able to grow and succeed in foreign markets, that it is enough to have a good product at a good price. This, she says, is a very risky and exclusively rational approach of business-making that underestimates the impact of unconscious emotional reactions in business relationships and management.

Intercultural exchanges will be plentiful next month when VISION 2007 celebrates its 20th anniversary at the spectacular new Stuttgart Trade Centre. More than 5,000 attendees and 230-plus exhibitors will see the usual broad display of new products, technological innovations and solutions.

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