If you’re looking to expand your client base and take your product to new frontiers, then taking your product to Europe could be the answer. However the difficulties you might expect to face won’t necessarily be the ones you actually do. You might be worried about something small like the language barrier and meanwhile other problems are looming that need more drastic attention.
When doing finance in business abroad, you need to remember 3 vital things:
- quality vs. speed
Well actually, it should be plural, cultures. In Europe there are many cultures that need to be understood and appreciated. The business environment in Europe is vastly different from that of the US. They have their own currency and their own entirely unique way of doing business. Be careful of trying to deal with Europe business people like you would customers back home.
Northern Europe however has a business model and style that is quite similar to America. Eastern Bloc countries are very willing to deal with Americans. Since the USA became the icon of freedom, these countries and areas are very happy to send business the way of US citizen’s businessmen.
However in the older areas of Europe, in the more traditional cities its vital that treat the business people you meet with respect and with a bit of knowledge as to how they like it done. Do some research and educate yourself on the customs and history of the people you’re meeting with. If you’ve never traveled to and spent time in the country that you’re now trying to do business in, you’ve got yourself a problem.
What is normal business practice and ethics to you might not be so to the people you’re dealing with. Granted it might be a bit outdated, but remember that you’re trying to get their business. Be prepared to do things their way. To these traditional businessman, having a product of high quality is more important than having a lower quality product at a cheaper price.
Granted it’s not the standard with all Americans, but Europeans are of the opinion that they are somewhat pushy. Americans call it business like, Europeans say pushy. Keep this in mind and try to tone things down a bit, for your sake.
Don’t fuss to much about learning the knacks of the language of the Europeans. Most business people accept English as the language of international trade. What’ll be best is if you learn the basics of the languages that your clients speak. Show that you’ve made the effort to meet them halfway. Most times they’ll thank you and tell you to continue in English…probably to both of your advantages.
The French however are very protective of their language. So if you’re dealing with the French businessman, take a few extra precautions to learn the language. Use it when you can and your effort will be rewarded by a warm smile.
Having all the language skills in the world, but sans understanding of the culture will leave you up the creek without a paddle. Learn the culture and history. People who are passionate about their country, which is pretty much most of Europe, will speak of history like it happened yesterday. Share their passion for their country.
Business is business however and it all boils down to honestly and good service and products. Tie all these facets together seamlessly and your Europe business trip will prove to be worth your while.