How to Expand Your Business into Ireland
If you have been keeping up with the global economic trends, you likely know that recent statistics and surveys suggest Ireland could be one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe.
According to The Independent, the past few months have shown an average Purchasing Manufacturers index score of about 60, compared to the regional average of 53.8. What's more, the unemployment rate recently stopped to 11.5%, marking a precipitous decline from the high reached in February 2012 of 15.1%.
Although total GDP growth is still 5% below its pre-recession level, many see this as an opportunity - not a hindrance. With so much potential in the Ireland economy, a number of international businesses may use this as a time to expand their international presence.
It is important that you are mindful of local business customs, read below for some of those that are unique to Ireland.
Prepare for a Cheery, Informal Meeting
Ireland has a very relaxed business culture that puts an emphasis on friendship and mutual comfort. Meetings are more relaxed than other parts of Europe. Smiling and maintaining eye contact are a signal of trust and comfort with the parties involved in the meeting.
Also, according to expat resource website Kwintessential, don't be surprised if the meeting attendees shift to using first names rather quickly. If your Irish counterpart refers to you by your first name, feel free to reciprocate. Using your business partner's first name could even be a way to show you are relaxed and confident about the deal.
The best way to begin a meeting is to shake everyone's hand, then proceed to a bit of small talk. If the meeting is at a restaurant or pub, you can expect to order food - or at the very least a drink - to accompany the discussion.
Be Comfortable with your Speech
In many countries body language, hand gestures and facial expressions are used as strong cues to establish a client’s tone and demeanor, this isn't the case in Ireland. Here, it is all about your eloquence in speech, your ability to turn a business presentation into a relatable anecdote, how in-depth you can discuss a particular topic and how quick-witted you are.
According to Kwintessential, banter and jokes integral parts of business meeting culture, so you'll need to be able to keep up with the Irish's keen knack for comedy and storytelling.
Blending in with the Corporate Culture
Despite all the informalities, there are a few unique aspects of Ireland's business culture you need to remember. For one, according to eDiplomat, it truly is about who you know. Use your network to set up business meetings, as these are often organized by a mutual third party.
While the company hosting the meeting may be a little late, as an international outsider, your punctuality is still expected. Similarly, there is no set rule for exchanging business cards, as there is in many Asian nations. However, it's still wise to have them on you, so you can be prepared if the host company's members offer them to you.
The Irish economy is heating up, and it's driving many international organizations to consider expanding to the UK. However, understanding business etiquette and attaining risk assessment in Ireland will be paramount for a successful expansion.
Want to learn more about business etiquette? Find out about business etiquette in Australia.
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