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Doing business in Slovenia - Market Entry and Negotiations

Posted by Matej GRABROVEC on May 21, 2018 6:26:19 AM
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Slovenia is a rather small market. Although small in a geographical and economic sense, it is quite developed in terms of adopting new technologies and innovative concepts. Anyhow, if you wish to enter Slovenian market, you need to understand Slovenian business style.

Slovenian Business Style

Southeastern Europe, as a whole region, is a very interesting bundle of different stories involving history, conflicts, and politics. Entering Southeastern Europe as a business is not an easy task.

In general, when entering a foreign market and doing business in a certain country, it is very important to reflect on that country’s cultural background

If you are interested in Slovenian market entry or if you wish to do business in Slovenia, you need to understand Slovenian business and Slovenian negotiation style. In this blog post, you will find out what you need to know before entering Slovenian market. You will read useful tips on how to do business in Slovenia.



Slovenian Communication Style

Slovenians use both formal and informal behavior and communication.

They are quite formal at the beginning of the business relationship. Slovenians as business partners don't share their private information. After a while, when the trust is built, they might open up. In any case, later on during the relationship, they will openly talk about many subjects, but rarely about private topics.

Slovenian people are polite and well-informed. So, during their negotiations, they would be willing to engage in a range of conversational topics, including sports and leisure, holidays and technology, to ease up the atmosphere and get familiar. However, they will stay on the course and circle back the conversation to the business related discussion.

Slovenians highly value honest and truthful business relationships. Namely, people in Slovenia prefer long-lasting business deals and relationships in comparison to one-time deals. They are aware of the fact that loyal customers and business partners are worth so much more.  



Slovenian Business Meeting

A common practice in Slovenia is to meet your business partner at their or your place of business.

Lunches and dinners might be arranged later on, usually when the deal is closed or successfully done. If a partner comes from a location that is far away, let's say a couple of hours of drive, then it goes without saying that he or she will be invited for a lunch or a dinner.

Slovenians enjoy good food, as well as quality wine. So, if invited for a meal, you can expect a restaurant with the quality food either locally colored or with an international menu. In any case, the meal will be paired with a glass of nice wine. 

Slovenian companies are generous when it's holiday season - Christmas time. They send or give their business partners small gifts (a nice bottle of wine, some special food or delicates, useful gadgets, etc). Very often they organize annual dinner parties and invite their business partners and clients to these events. They organize similar events on special occasions like anniversaries, new building openings or milestones reached (company developments).

Even when doing business for the first time, Slovenian partners usually try to negotiate a deal.

In the business meetings, Slovenian negotiators introduce business discussion rather sooner than later. They do use the first meeting to get to know their potential partners, but they address the deal in question quite quickly after that. For this reason, they enjoy the comfort of their own office when choosing the location of the first business meeting. With old business partners, the place of the meeting is one time the first partner's and the other time the second partner's headquarters.


Slovenian Business Ethics

If you are a foreigner negotiating or doing business in Slovenia, you will be treated with respect.

Slovenia is a small country. So, since their separation from Yugoslavia, Slovenia always wanted to do more export and import. Slovenian business people are aware that within their borders they can do business only as much. If they want to increase sale and expand their business, they need to do business abroad or with foreign partners.

Slovenians respect the reached agreement and contractual obligations. In comparison to quite some other more elusive cultures, Slovenian culture, especially in business terms, has quite high morals. 

In short, Slovenian business ethics is high, since Slovenians are happy to do international business and they value foreign business partners.   



Slovenian Business Manners

Slovenian business dress code is professional with the touch of casual in more creative sectors. So, business people from Slovenia always dress appropriately for the business situation or event they are attending.

Slovenian people are mostly punctual and respectful towards their business partner’s location and time preferences.

Regarding both business and everyday manners (when eating, greeting, etc.), Slovenians do not differ from Western cultures. Thus, nice manners and Bonton are practiced and in order.


Slovenian Negotiation Style

Slovenians don't have a super strong negotiation style. Their stands in negotiations are usually steady, but not too strong. They lean towards complying. The reason for this lays in Slovenia's historical and cultural background.

As said, Slovenia is a small and not a very powerful country. Throughout history, it has been often forced to be submissive. This historical and cultural background translates to doing business and negotiations. Slovenian business negotiators tend to find a solution in most negotiations. Slovenian negotiation style goes for a win-win scenario when negotiating. Sometimes Slovenian negotiators go even a step further and offer more, just to close the deal. However they need to save their face. They don't want to feel used.

Raising voice and being emotional is not a common practice in Slovenian negotiation style.

Concerning foreign languages, American English is widely spoken due to the presence of American movies and American culture through mass media.  Slovenians are also quite fluent in German because of the proximity to Austria and tendency to do business with German-speaking regions.


Are you thinking about entering Slovenian market

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Tags: market entry, south east europe, business culture, slovenia, slovenia market entry, doing business in slovenia, slovenian market entry, how to do business in slovenia