Business culture in Brazil

Business Culture in Brazil: get it right

If you are thinking about expansion to the ‘giant of South America’, you will need to understand the business culture in Brazil. It’s not hard to understand why: with a GDP of USD$4.72tn, the country has a vast internal market. The financial center of Sao Paolo alone is home to 20 million people in the metropolitan area.

Given the sheer size of both territory and population, business culture in Brazil has many regional differences. There is a friendly rivalry between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, for example. However, there are certain things that cut across the country, which is what we’re focusing on.

Understanding the business culture in Brazil is easy once you are used to it, but can be intimidating for newcomers. That’s where Biz Latin Hub steps in. We can help you set up shop in the country while you acclimatize to the way of doing things. Better yet, our array of back-office services means we offer ongoing in-country support at any stage of the business life cycle, including LLC formation in Brazil if necessary.

Business Culture in Brazil: 5 simple steps to success

Remember that these are general guides. You may well find that the north is more relaxed about timings compared to the south, or that Spanish is more widely spoken in cities near the borders with hispanophone countries. However, these are a good guide to getting things done all over.

  1. Be patient.
  2. Handshakes help make an impression.
  3. Small talk is important.
  4. Dress well.
  5. Remember the language.

1. Be patient with the business culture in Brazil

This will vary from area to area, but don’t be surprised if things sometimes work on a flexible schedule than you are used to. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s not everyone or everywhere, so don’t assume that timekeeping will be lax. Sao Paolo, for example, is a big exception to this: lateness will be taken very badly there.

Business Culture in Brazil: 5 simple steps to success
Business Culture in Brazil: 5 simple steps to success

2. Handshakes help make an impression

A firm and professional handshake is more than a simple business greeting here. Personal connections are a critical part of business culture in Brazil and people generally value warmth and friendliness. A kiss might also be a greeting between women – note that this is always an air kiss and often on both sides of the face.

3. Small talk is important

Connected to the previous point, Brazilians will spend time evaluating whether they can trust you to work well with them. That means not getting straight down to brass tacks and taking the space to be sociable and show that you will be able to have a good partnership.

4. Dress well

Although Brazil may appear on the front of travel magazines as a land of beaches and linen shirts, that’s a world away from business centers, where formality is taken seriously. Wear dark suits, collars and proper shoes. This will show that you’re professional and taking things seriously.

5. Remember the language!

While many Brazilians certainly speak Spanish, it’s not their mother tongue. Blithely assuming that you can speak Spanish because it is Latin America may even cause offense. Ask which language someone would like to work in before starting out. Any attempt – even just to say hello – to speak Portuguese will show a willingness to adapt.

FAQs When Doing Business in Brazil

1. Can a foreigner own a business in Brazil?

Yes, by either legal persons (legal entities) or natural persons (individuals).

2. How long does it take to register a company in Brazil?

It takes 10 weeks to register an operating company in Brazil.

3. What does an LTDA company name mean in Brazil?

In Brazil, when you come across LTDA in a company’s name, it stands for Sociedade Limitada. This corporate arrangement limits partners’ liability for their contributions to the company’s capital. Partners within an LTDA are not personally liable for the company’s debts beyond their initial investment. This feature shields individual assets and provides a safeguard. This structure is common for small to medium-sized enterprises in Brazil, as it harmoniously blends partnership and corporate elements. It extends both flexibility and legal protections.

4. What does an S.A. company name mean in Brazil?

The S.A. in a company name in Brazil refers to a Sociedad Anónima, which is similar to a joint stock company. This legal framework establishes the company as a separate entity from its shareholders, with each shareholder possessing shares that represent their ownership stake. Importantly, the financial responsibility of shareholders is solely to the value of their shares. The S.A. structure is common in Brazil due to its exceptional adaptability and flexibility, rendering it the favored option for certain business ventures.

5. What entity types offer Limited Liability in Brazil?

The Sociedade Limitada (Ltda.) is a Limited Liability Company in Brazil.

Biz Latin Hub can help you understand the business culture in Brazil

While this guide is an excellent introduction to business culture in Brazil, it is always better to work with a local partner who is knowledgeable about the country’s business culture and customs.

Biz Latin Hub is the trusted local partner of many individuals and companies who have expanded their operations to the country and elsewhere in Latin America. Get in touch with our team of experts today and we will help you and your business expand in Brazil.

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

Biz Latin Hub main services when doing business in Brazil
Biz Latin Hub main services when doing business in Brazil

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
David Wright

David Wright

David spent 22 years working for the British Diplomatic Service serving in various Latin American countries. He served twice in Colombia including acting as an advisor on regional security matters to the President of Colombia. Currently, he acts as a consultant for companies and governments on risk management, security and technology.

David is also involved in mining related companies, both in Executive and Non-Executive roles. Together with Craig Dempsey he set up Biz Latin Hub and now acts as its Non-Executive Chairman. David holds a Bachelors Degree in Astrophysics from Birmingham University and also studied at Brown University.

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