It is no surprise that you are considering a business proposition in Poland; its strategic positioning as a gateway to central and eastern Europe and the relentless increase of its GDP make for a great opportunity for the ambitious.

What do I need to consider?

Every Business project takes careful planning and consideration, cross country relations adds another dimension. Here are my top tips for doing business in Poland:

Communication

The Polish language is complex and pronunciation can be an issue. However English language is widely spoken in Poland which is an advantage for a business partnership. To avoid any complications or delays in making your business a success, it might be worthwhile to consider engaging a professional interpreter or translator with business understanding who could help to progress a business relationship.

Culture

Initially, you may find the business culture to be direct and formal in comparison to England. Small talk such as weather, travel etc. is mainly avoided and business talk is the first topic on the agenda. When asked ‘How are you?’ in England, most would respond positively even if that isn’t true. In Poland expect to hear exactly how your counterpart is as they answer truthfully, good or bad.

Non verbal cues

A handshake can be a quick way to get a business relationship off to the right start. In fact, earlier generations may kiss hands as part of their greeting. Direct eye contact is important to build trust and show honesty. Trust is really important in any business connection and this may take longer to build in Poland.

Technology

In the UK (whether we like it or not) emails are increasingly used as a form of business communication, however in Poland more often than not we meet face-to face to discuss business matters. When you’re about to click send think about if you could possibly meet in person or pick up the phone instead.

Familiarity

If you were going to do a big presentation you might visualise your surroundings while you practice, even better would be to have access to the venue to familiarise yourself before the day. In business, starting out in a new country is unfamiliar however you can help yourself by organising a short trip (i.e. combining the visit with some trade shows from your sector might be a great idea) to familiarise yourself and give yourself an edge, knowing what to expect. There is an excellent publication that provides some essential information on doing business in Poland – you can access it on http://www.poland.doingbusinessguide.co.uk

Formalities

In the UK, setting up a business is somewhat straightforward but in Poland, be prepared for challenges as the process will not be as easy to complete. Having a partner who can help with that would be advantageous, especially someone who knows the system well and can act on your behalf. In particular, the tax system can pose a real problem and is well known as being unfriendly to users. The business events organised by the Polish Business Link in the UK can be a great opportunity to meet a potential partner. More details on upcoming events on http://www.pblink.co.uk

Practice makes perfect

Being familiar and having an understanding of a situation beforehand increases the overall chance of success of any project. If you are considering a business proposition in Poland this is pivotal, and an advisor who understand the culture, surroundings, who can direct and manoeuvre your business project would be even more beneficial! Otherwise, being prepared and having all the information you need to aid your project would be a great place to start.

If you are considering doing business in Poland and have some questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on ewa@pblink.co.uk.