If you’re looking to expand your business to other locations in the world, consider Europe as one of your options. This continent might seem like the most sensible option for business owners. You’ll enjoy benefits like solid infrastructure and specialized tech hubs. Plus, businesspeople in Europe can speak English.
Expanding your business in this continent, however, has its set of challenges. Factors like meetings, decision-making and forming relationships differ a lot from other countries like the United States. When you’re in Europe, you have to take note of these differences.
Small businesses, retailers, and multinational corporations looking to set up businesses in any of the countries in Europe should take note of these essential details:
Dress Like You’re Blending in
When you’re proposing your business plans to European investors, don’t dress to impress. You need to wear something to help you blend with other businesspeople. They’re not into flashy clothing and accessories. Instead, get an outfit that’s subtle but elegant. If you’re going to wear your formal company uniform to represent your brand, check if the colors are neutral or dark. Also, you’ll want to keep the accessories at a minimum.
Behave Like You’re Attending a Wedding
Apart from looking good, it would help if you behaved properly. When doing business, you should act and sound formal. Just like at a wedding, everyone’s well-dressed and on their excellent behavior. Businesspeople in Europe prefer formal greetings, handshakes, and table manners. Make sure you familiarize yourself with proper business etiquette.
Master Your Target Market to Sell Successfully
Europe is a large continent. You need to do comprehensive market research if you want to succeed in your business venture. Since cultural and demographic factors differ from country to country, you need to equip yourself with local knowledge.
The continent has over half a billion potential consumers. You need to figure out the specific target audience of your product, the promotional messages you should create to reach that audience and an effective way to deliver quality customer service.
Take Note of the Different Currencies
Although the Euro is the official currency of the European Union, it is not the only currency in the continent. When you sell a product or a service, your customers might pay in the local currency. If you’re in Switzerland, you’ll come across locals paying for goods in Swiss Franc.
If this is the case, watch how you process your currencies. Upgrade your payment systems to accommodate less common currencies on the continent. Also, train your staff on how to process currency transactions properly.
Go Local to Get Buy-in from Locals
You need to understand the culture of the locals if you want to get local customers walking through your store. You can transition from outsider to insider by merely purchasing your ingredients or raw materials from businesses in the area. You could also hire locals to manage your shop.
Take Marks & Spencer as an example. Before the global retailer set up shop in Germany, it hired 17 German managers. The brand learned how to deliver top-quality customer service in a new market.
Avoid Getting Lost in Translation
Not everyone in Europe can speak English. Even if they can, customers would rather engage with businesses using the local language. So, make sure that you communicate properly, as this can make or break your business.
If you’re going to run marketing campaigns in various countries, get your promotional messages translated effectively with the help of a trusted translation firm. Google Translate won’t do. Also, run the finished work with native speakers for good measure.
Educate Yourself Before Going Abroad
When you do business in Europe, the important thing is what you know and not the people you know. Some businesspeople will measure your worth based on how knowledgeable you are about past and present events. Before you talk to them, catch up on the latest developments in Europe and the rest of the world.
Also, bring new information to the table. Knowledge is something that Europeans value. You’ll leave a positive impression when they leave the conversation feeling like they’ve learned something.
Money Isn’t Everything in a Business
Although money is vital in a business, it’s not everything. If you’re selling your goods in Europe, you’ll need to consider the quality of the product. When you have an excellent product, Europeans would not mind paying a lot of money — especially if it’s worth the cost.
When you do business in Europe, keep these crucial details in mind. Winning the trust and approval of European customers and investors is possible when you familiarize yourself with the culture of the region.