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Doing Business in Greece: 6 Tips for Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

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by Startacus Admin

doing business in Greece

Greece has been plagued by economic struggles since 2009 and the improvements have not yet been significant enough unfortunately. Does that make it a bad place for foreign investors? As it turns out, that is not quite the case at all and there are ample opportunities in the country even though its economy is not in a good condition. The likes of Thomas Cook and COSCO have invested millions of euros in 2018 already and plenty of smaller businesses from neighbouring countries are also investing in and around Greek’s booming tourism and real estate sector. If you are heading a similar project on behalf of your company, or if you have plans of starting business in the country on your own, here are six tips about how business works in Greece that should come in handy.

Greece is Still Getting Used to the New Structure

While the neighbouring countries have had a taste of both open-ended and private organisations for decades, all major organisations in Greece had traditionally been either run or controlled by the State, until the recent collapse of the system. Although many people have now realised that this system itself was a major reason behind the nation’s bankruptcy, they are still adjusting to the new ways and leaders should deal with the people and their local workers as such.

doing business in Greece

Learn the Language

You might want to read Greek language eBooks and learn at least the basics of the language even before you get to the country. Learning the local lingo is an advantage in any foreign country, but this is particularly applicable when you are trying to head a business in Greece. In the previous point, we discussed how the change in organisational structure is a big one for the local people, and as a result of that, they are still a bit sceptic towards outsiders. By learning Greek, not only will you be able to gain the confidence of the local workers, businesses, and authorities better, but you will also overcome the language barrier, which will inevitably hasten every step of the new venture’s establishment and development. Greek isn’t the most complex language in the world and given how much of a positive impact it can have in terms of relatability and communications, learning it is definitely worth it, if not a requirement as well.

Business Leaders Have All the Power in Greece

It is quite common for the higher-ups to have the necessary authority, but in Greece, there are always just a few people up top who are responsible for taking all the decisions within an organisation. Granted, it isn’t the most ideal setup, and this is partly responsible for Greece’s current condition, but it can also be advantageous to you. Chances are that you won’t have to go through too many people while dealing with other businesses, as long as you are able to identify the most authoritative figures in any organisation of interest. As a business leader, you will enjoy the same level of authority over your employees as well, which can make a company more productive. It isn’t like your subordinates won’t say anything if you are making a debatable move, it’s just that they will let you know in private, rather than in public.

doing business in Greece
Restructuring the Meetings Might be Necessary

Greek organisations do not have a structured way of presenting opinions during a meeting, because traditionally, they believe in free, emotional conversations even in office meetings and consider them to be healthy debates. As a foreign leader, this might seem inefficient to you and you may need to introduce your local employees with a structured way of conducting meetings and debating important topics, without creating a chaotic situation. This is one more reason for you to learn the language really, because doing this would be next to impossible without being proficient in the local tongue.

The Importance of the Hierarchy

As mentioned earlier, businesses in Greece are hierarchical and the leaders hold the power to take decisions at every stage. Some of it is changing, but most of it isn’t. If you have opened a new business in the country, the organisation or at least the local wing of it needs to be hierarchical in structure for the authorities and other organisations to take you seriously.

Clear Cut Instructions are Both Valued and Expected

Whether you are a manager or the owner, clear, direct instructions from you will be expected by both your subordinates and your superiors (where applicable). The work culture in Greece is such that they don’t usually mind being told what to do exactly, but rather value it.

It will take time for Greece to get back on its feet again, but there have been signs of improvement in the recent months. While that time period is not predictable as of now, what can be projected is that with each passing year, things will get better for businesses in the country and that is exactly why investing in Greece while the price and demand has not yet skyrocketed like it did in London could be the right business move.

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Published on: 4th September 2018

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