“This Time, It’s Personal” reads a recent article in the Economist on the current state of Brazilian politics. Having just returned from a successful trade mission with 12 Virginia-based companies to Sao Paulo and Rio, spanning the range of Virginia wine, advanced manufacturing, and defense and security companies, ending with a Virginia presence at LAAD (the largest defense and security show in South America, where Virginia was the only state with a presence), this title sums it all up in a nutshell.
The Brazilian political and economic systems are in a state of flux, and some would say, in a state of crisis. With the corruption scandal linked to Petrobras, the energy giant, thus the energy sector in a slump, throwing the rest of the economy into a slump, with discontent at political management, approaching inflation, and not to mention a bitter aftertaste regarding the recent World Cup Games, things don’t look all that positive from an unbiased perspective.
But, this is Brazil, which is by far the largest market in South America. A huge, mutli-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-sector economy with all the BRIC indicators and factors that make it lucrative. Sure, The World Cup Games, the upcoming Olympic Games, and the positive “cultural” image of Brazil make it extremely flashy in recent years, but it’s the underlying demographics which make it truly lucrative in the longer-term, as well as the spirit of Brazilians to ‘make it work’ and fight the odds towards success, in business, and in life.
So, yes, it is personal. Everything about Brazil is personal. It requires a long-term attitude, a long-term relationship, a long-term understanding of the people, the Brazilian Portuguese language, the companies, what they need, and how to be a good partner in the long-term for mutually beneficial business success.
Is this achievable in today’s political and economic climate? Absolutely. But don’t expect it without working for it, or, without making the proper investments, professionally and personally as you outreach to local businesses.
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