Doing business in Ecuador

When working with Ecuadorian companies, you have to be prepared that things simply take some time. Also, many tasks are only done at the eleventh hour, but thankfully the Ecuadorian talent for improvisation then comes into play.

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However, should any problems arise, your Ecuadorian project partners will not necessarily inform you straight away. They will rather expect you to collect any information you need yourself. 

So better ask regularly how things are going. Be aware of the fact that one rather does not want to tell you any unpleasant facts. For this reason, read between the lines, if possible, and try to combine single bits of information to form an overall picture.

Work on the relationship-level

It often can be of advantage in Ecuador, to act a lot on the personal relationship level. Talk about existing issues over a cup of coffee in a relaxed and informal way. Avoid any direct criticism at all costs, as Ecuadorians will take this very personally. Ideally, limit yourself to a few insinuations. You will be understood.

On the other hand, Ecuadorians are very exuberant in their praise. If such praise suddenly ceases, this is regarded as displeasure. You yourself can use this Ecuadorian communication technique to your advantage when working together, but you should then consistently praise everything positive exuberantly, so that a gradation of your statements is clearly perceived in any negative case.

Be prepared for a long dinner

Ecuadorians will definitely prefer to talk in a restaurant, especially when it comes to getting to know new business partners from abroad. In this case, business topics should come second to private conversational topics. Be prepared that it will be a long night with lots of food and  toasts to a successful future collaboration.

The etiquette rules are relaxed though, but do remember that it is good manners to leave something on the plate. This shows that you belong to the affluent class and can afford the luxury of leaving something. Ecuadorian business people are status-oriented.

The better you get to know your Ecuadorian partners that evening and during all dinners thereafter, the smoother any business activity further down the road will be going. So enjoy and be social!

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