Malaysia, one of the fastest growing countries in Asia provides huge market for entrepreneurs to expand their business within the country. Malaysia offers a gateway into other ASEAN market. To begin your business plan in Malaysia, it is a good move to pick up some knowledge on the language used – Bahasa Melayu. But generally, since Malaysia is a multiracial country, you can communicate in English. In certain companies, you can even use Mandarin to communicate with business associates.
However, considering Malaysia as a multiracial nation, the business etiquette is rather complex with a mixture of various cultures. Generally, here are few tips for entrepreneurs to venture into Malaysian market – cultural customs, appropriate dressing, and rules on gift giving.
Tips on Doing Business in Malaysia
But perhaps, you need to take note on keeping face. Malaysians, regardless of their races, they prioritize on keeping faces. It simply means, you are not supposed to create a situation that embarrasses your business counterparts. Malaysians are well-known to be personal and direct with questions and also ‘pushy’ for better bargains. So do not be surprised if they continue to bargain even after the deal is completed.
Stay clear from alcohol and eating pork during business meetings and events around Malaysian counterparts especially around Muslims. If possible, try not to plan any appointment on Fridays. And bear in mind, you need to do everything with right hand as using left hand is seen as impolite.
Common business etiquette among Malaysians
You are expected to dress appropriately during business conference and meetings. Although, you will notice that Malaysians tend to dress-up casually in jeans and blouse during informal outings, for formal meetings you are required to wear suit and tie for men and a knee-length skirt and long sleeves for women. Pants are acceptable for non-Muslim females. The colour yellow is the colour of royalty in Malaysia. Therefore, avoid wearing yellow in the country.
Lastly, remember not to extend your gifts to Malaysian business associates as it is perceived as a form of bribery. Unless you are given one first, you can then return the gift to your associates.
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Top Business Magazines in Malaysia
Malaysian Business Magazine
Find out what is happening in business world around Malaysia and the region. Gain insights into what is performing and which industry is currently the most talked-about. The latest business news at your fingertips, you will be the first to know if it is happening and even if it is not.
Business Today Magazine
Business Today is one of the few major business magazines in Malaysia. Started out in 2001, Business Today is read by business professionals in various industries which provides a lot of up-to-date information about the current economic situation of Malaysia and the surrounding regions.
SME Malaysia Magazine
The SME & Entrepreneurship Magazine is one of the many business-related magazines in Malaysia. It is specially catered for entrepreneurs and business owners in Malaysia as well as around the Southeast Asia region.
Malaysian Business Culture
Business refers to form of activities that deal with one similar objective – to supply commodities in order to boost sales profit. It varies from commercial to financial, as well as industrial and tourism sectors.
In Malaysia, business is conducted in a rather formal and professional manner. Of course when you are conducting business deal with your associates, the dress code is formal but due to the constant heat within the country all year round, jackets can be replaced with lightweight materials.
Bear in mind that you have to follow certain local customs and dress codes whereby yellow is catered specifically for royalty and thus, it should be avoided at all times. Unlike other European countries, when you approach potential business partners or associates, you have to greet them with full names and title.
Besides that, during formal occasions, you should give out business cards to enhance your reputation and also enable interested parties to call you any time of the day. Hand out the business cards with both hands and treat every guest with respect.
Since Malaysia is a conservative Islamic country, in certain occasions, Muslims tend to practice the traditional form of greeting with a small bow accompanied by hands clasped similar to prayers custom. Even though handshakes are fairly common, men may not shake hands with women according to traditional Malay customs.
One major difference conducting business in Malaysia and other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan is punctuality. In Malaysia, business person tend to delay any appointment as Malaysians are always behind time.
Business hours may vary but usually it begins from 9 in the morning and ends around 5 to 6 pm on weekdays while on Saturdays, it is between 8 am and 1 pm. In certain states such as Kelantan and Terengganu, business calendars follow the Islamic week and therefore, it opens from Sundays to Thursdays.
Business is all about creating an image to enhance sales and earnings for particular company. Of course, if you have a business degree, it can be a door opener to many things. One of the basic requirements to get involve in business is you need have the skills to interact with other people. Basically, you can run a business as long as you are passionate about it.
In recent years, more and more people are turning to the Internet and seek proper solutions to help their business flourish and expand. We have heard stories of how successful young entrepreneurs utilize resources and maximize usage of Internet to double their profits.
However, some said Internet businesses are merely scams. But the truth is simple – while entrepreneurs find Internet businesses are unique and profitable, those who failed have to learn to value it. Bear in mind that unlike conventional businesses, Internet businesses are more than the standard account with income and balance sheet numbers to represent the whole business.
Generally, Internet businesses are slightly more complicated as you need to look into bigger issues namely affiliate networks, visitors, ‘cookies’, search engine rankings, content value and plenty more. First step, to expand your business, you need find reliable affiliate networks to link you to other advertisers and publishers in order to boost the sales.
Before you even begin with marketing campaign, think again who your visitors are. Target the campaigns directly at these potential clients. Conduct a research and find out the demographic in order to allow you to brainstorm for the perfect marketing campaign.
Next up, you need to have effective strategies to increase search engine rankings. Basically, optimizing your site to increase search engine rankings would help to attract traffic to your site. Make changes to your title bar, content, meta tags and links if you want have a higher ranking on search engine.
Title bar must contain the most important keywords that appear in your homepage. This will help the search engine to narrow down your website when users search and type in matching keywords. It is advisable to include not more than six words in the title bar. Additional tip for first-timer – ensure that there are no repeated words in the bar.
Besides title bar, check that you have included good quality content and highlight important points (if you have any). To achieve higher rankings in search engine, include between 100 and 250 well-written words. Do you know that links are gaining popularity in these few years among websites who are trying to increase search rankings? Hence, it is recommended to include only quality and related sites to gain reputation in order to generate traffic.
Besides the above mentioned issues, you also need to consider process patents, website traffic, opt-in email lists, advertising sell through rates, visits to sales ratios and ‘stickiness’ of the website.
One of the best methods to examine if your site is working and attracting new batch of clients is by checking visits to sales ratios. For example, if the number of visits exceed sales ratio, find out the reason why such situation occurs. Try to get feedback and responses from the visitors.
Internet businesses have additional expenses to be considered namely website optimization costs, daily site refresh costs, hosting fees as well as maintenance and tech support. If you have somehow neglected these issues in the past, make you this time around you double-check it to ensure that your business flourish online.