5 Main Differences Between UK and US Businesses

Considering the common language foundation and the historical ties between the US and the UK, you would think business etiquette would be a simple matter of changing a few spellings and remembering that tea means supper and supper isn’t the same as dinner.

Whether you’re doing business across the pond or just taking a vacation, understanding the differences between U.S. and U.K. business cultures might just save you some embarrassment. Just because the Americans and the British speak the same language, doesn’t mean we can always communicate with each other.

The two countries however, share some similarities. In either the UK or US, you can get a good business loan to take your business to the next level. Just make sure you read a few business bank account online reviews to know their terms, interests, etc.

With that in mind, this article from luminablog.co.uk will show you the top 5 corporate cultural differences between the UK and USA.

Small Talk

Even though it’s not directly business related, water cooler talk — about celebrities or sports — is a staple of office culture. This can be a difficulty for Brits in terms of fitting in. American sports aren’t a major focal point of interest in the U.K., which can create a lack of common ground for small talk. That doesn’t mean you can’t create a connection though, just try sticking to the weather, movies, travel or other sort of neutral topics.

In the U.K., people are more engaged in world news and other global concerns than Americans are. Americans tend to be more focused on the situation at home, and are particularly interested in celebrity gossip and sports news. Americans also like to discuss their families and compare notes on mutual acquaintances, while the British might be more reserved in that arena.

Business Meetings

Due to geographical differences, face-to-face meetings in the U.S. are much less common than in the U.K. However, technology like Skype allows CEOs and other entrepreneurs to conduct business with people from virtually anywhere, so it’s a hurdle that can be jumped quite easily.

Self-Promotion

In the U.K., self-promotion is seen more as bragging than it is in the U.S. That is something to which you’ll have to work hard to adapt because being able to promote yourself and your brand across social media and countless other outlets is an absolute necessity in American business culture. That’s why having the right team to guide your marketing is crucial. You want someone who is experienced at taking the temperature of your target market so you know just what — and how much — information they want and need.

Manner of Speaking

Piggybacking on terminology differences, Brits are a bit more direct, particularly when it comes to business dealings. This can be a challenge as bluntness can come across as rude when it’s not intended that way, but it highlights the importance of being very specific in what you expect from your colleagues and employees — and encouraging them to be specific and open as well.

Better Work-Life Balance

Hard-driving Americans are often accustomed to working sunup to sundown to get ahead, or just to make ends meet. Life couldn’t be more different in American vs. England’s business culture, where the English enjoy a better work-life balance that allows for more time off both with daily hours and with vacation time.

This means they’re more likely to take part in extracurricular activities outside of work, as well. This can be deeper involvement in their children’s and families’ lives, or more extensive community involvement.