5 Top Tips for Doing Business in India

Frank talk on mistakes outsiders make when attempting to enter this polyglot market.

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First, realize there is no one “India.” This vast country is home to 23 official languages, six major religions, and 29 states, each with its own government.

And if you hear a “yes,” question and verify. You may be experiencing “Indian deference symdrome,” in which someone is telling you what they think you want to hear — rather than the truth.

These are just a few of the tips the India Business Initiative gleaned from our recent visit to Mumbai, where we interviewed a cross-section of business leaders to find out how to crack the huge, lucrative market. Interviews include:

  • Arif Padaria ’00, Founder and CEO, Faris Capital
  • Niyati Shah Bhatia ’09, Chapter Leader, Columbia Business School Alumni India
  • Keith Riberio, Consultant, Elrhino Eco Industries
  • Tarana Lalwani ’09, Principal, Seedfund
  • Vishal Bakshi ’00, Founder and Managing Partner, Avatar Growth Capital Partners
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