Belize Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays

Introduction

Although business ethics are increasingly approaching the standards valid in Europe and the USA, Czech entrepreneurs may encounter a number of peculiarities resulting from different cultural and social conditions and business practices.

Addressing

Concerns about personal security make contact information for employees and executives of private companies and often government institutions difficult to access throughout Central America. It often takes several phone calls, e-mails or even personal meetings to find out the contact details of the desired person. Titles are very important and it is best to address partners directly using their professional title or Mr, Mrs or Miss followed by their last name. Most Latinos have two surnames: one for their father (listed first) and one for their mother. When addressing a business partner, the father’s surname is used. It is common to shake hands and say “mucho gusto” (Nice to meet you) to start communication. Personal communication is always more effective than long distance communication methods.

  • Programingplease: Yearbook 2010 of nation Belize, including population, politics, and abbreviations.

Business meeting

Personal business meetings are unavoidable and their arrangements should start at least 2 weeks in advance. If no confirmation is received, the contact must be repeated several times, and even for a confirmed meeting, it is ideal to confirm the day before or on the day of the meeting and confirm the meeting and your contact details at the venue. Despite the widespread notion of time flexibility, it is good to arrive on time for a pre-arranged meeting, although arriving 10 to 15 minutes later is usually tolerated, while local partners (also due to the often complicated traffic situation in cities) can arrive even later. It is not uncommon for meetings to be postponed at the last minute. In that case, try not to look irritated and accommodate the Belizean side. In addition to the men’s suit and tie shirt, the long-sleeved guayabera (a type of shirt) is also widely used. In informal contacts, trousers and a shirt or a short-sleeved guayabera can be worn. However, shorts and beach shoes are not suitable in any case. Women should choose between a dress or a skirt with a blouse.

Initial meetings are formal and business partners greet each other with a handshake. If you have known your business partner for a long time or are even close friends, a hug and a pat on the back is common. Before the conversation goes to the working level, a non-binding conversation is needed, at least in the order of a few minutes (but if a longer meeting is expected, feel free to have more); it is best to allow the host to initiate a business discussion. You are often offered coffee or other drinks, it is polite to accept them and at least taste them. Prepare all written material in English. It is recommended to translate one side of your business card into English.

It can be assumed that it will take several meetings to reach an agreement. Negotiations can take place during working meals, which can last more than 2 hours, so please be patient. It is good to keep in mind that the terms are often considered indicative.

Gifts are not usually brought on the first date. If you are invited to a Belizean household, it is advisable to bring flowers (avoid white ones as they are usually brought to funerals), wine, spirits or chocolates. For Belize, mutual loyalty is essential. Belizeans value relationship building, so it is important to avoid the hard sell, pressure tactics, and any conflict or confrontation.

Communication

Face-to-face meetings are preferred over communication via telephone, letter or e-mail. The official language of Belize is English, which is clearly preferred in business negotiations, although many business partners also speak other languages. English is required for business materials. Visit Calculatorinc for more information about Belize culture and traditions.

Recommendation

The following are the recommendations, i.e. the obstacles and risks that must be taken into account when Czech companies and enterprises enter the Belize market and can be simply summarized in three points:

  • The costs of foreign representation, without which you cannot apply in the territory for a long time, or at least a frequent personal presence on the market, and the risk of recovering these costs.
  • Risks associated with participation in public tenders, which often bear signs of non-transparency and corrupt behavior.
  • Claims for higher competitiveness of Czech goods due to the low price of local labor and high transport costs.

Public Holidays

1 January – New Year
9 March – Baron Bliss Day
March/April – Easter – this is the biggest holiday of the year and most services and shops are closed from Thursday to Monday
1 May – Labor Day
24 May – Commonwealth Day
10 September – St. George’s Caye
September 21 – Independence Day
October 12 – America’s Day
November 19 – Garifuna Settlement Day
December 25 – Christmas
December 26 – Christmas Day

Belize Culture of Business