In Pakistan, relying only on numbers and facts may well lead to failure.
Background: Pakistanis are usually in a long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount and can over-ride facts and sometimes even regulations. Not investing time and effort in relationship building is considered a cardinal sin in Pakistan, including the business transactions. The relationship always comes first, then the facts (numbers) of the deal.
Approaching prospective business transaction directly based purely on facts may not be well-received and may well end up in failure.
Background: Pakistan is a well-knit community based society and therefore they find it difficult to trust total strangers. Thus, they always look for referenced and intermediaries of a trusted community member.
Talking money at the first step may give the impression of being materialistic and selfish and may well compromise the deal.
Background: For Pakistanis discussing money at the first step is difficult because psychologically money is considered dirty and the enemy of relationships. Establishing trust and relationship is necessary before talking about money.
Assuming the deal is finalized based on comments from lower / middle managers may well create a distasteful experience and add confusion and delay.
Background: In Pakistan, decisions are made at the upper end of the hierarchy and the subordinates tend to execute them as suggested. Therefore, beware, the person talking to you may not be the decision maker.
Unable to understand the dynamics of 'reciprocation' may lead to misaligned expectations and compromise the business deal.
Background: Since Pakistanis like to work within their trusted network, they like to help each other out by exchanging or reciprocating favours.
With the rising awareness and confidence, exploring frugal innovation is slowly becoming a realistic consideration.
Background: Due to a lack of local investments, technology transfer from abroad has always been deemed as a reliable, quick and low-risk option.
With growing competence in IT and access to online resources including the rising concept of frugal innovation, confidence is increasing among locals. Therefore, little help and encouragement may tilt the balance in export-driven innovation.
Background: Until now, innovation in Pakistan has been primarily import-driven. Technology transfer serves as a major instrument in stimulating industrial development, modernisation and innovation in the country. Realising that the country is lacking financial resources, knowledge and ideas to spur technological development, the Pakistani government has created preferential conditions for foreign investors and tries to collaborate with diaspora, seeking to attract world-class professors and engineers to the country.
While textile and food sectors appear to be considered a safer investment, they may well be saturated and highly competitive space. Other sectors such as natural resources [e.g. water, energy, biofeuls] and IT sectors are equally attractive but perhaps less saturated space with more opportunities.
Background: Pakistan is primarily an agricultural country and one of the top producers of cotton, rice, fruits and miscellaneous grains. Therefore, maximizing potential in textile and food sector are naturally low-risk investment options.
Relying only on corporate sector R&D or individuals, and ignoring business incubators may well not yield the desired results.
Background: The majority of companies in Pakistan are SMEs that are typically lacking both financial and human capital (expertise), therefore business incubators and accelerators in Pakistan not only serve as a major driver of entrepreneurship and innovation in the private sector but are instrumental also in increasing knowledge exchange, building networks and finding talent.
If a consumer's choice/decision is not visibly or perceivably adding any value towards admired social status, the marketing message/communication may well remain ineffective.
Background: Pakistanis not only expect hierarchy but also strive to achieve higher hierarchical status within their communities. Therefore, consumers’ decisions are often based on “showing off status” as much as on the usability or need.
How important are facts and figures while working on a deal with a Pakistani business partner? What are consumers' decisions in Pakistan based on? Test yourself and find out more about Pakistani culture and innovation!