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7 steps… Setting up your business in Poland
Opublikowano: 11 marca 2016

Many aspects of Poland’s economic reality can seem too complex or even incomprehensible to foreigners coming to our country as investors or with an intention to commence business activity. Where to start? What to pay close attention to, and what should one be wary of? Which people or institutions can be helpful in the journey to a successful business in Poland?

Alain Kaj, the French director of Inventage Polska and Pegasus Solutions, for the last 26 years doing business on the Polish market and well familiar with its nuances, talks about 7 vital steps to be taken by a foreigner wishing to become a successful businessman in Poland:
1. Knowledge of the language
– it is only natural that running a business in a foreign country leads to a number of communication barriers. Therefore, if we do not know the native language in the country where we work, we should employ a trusted translator or interpreter, who will assist in business contacts. In a longer term, however, it is worthwhile to learn Polish – acquiring this skill is fundamental for doing business in the country. Learning basic phrases and words helps remove barriers between people – managing staff only in English creates unnecessary and purely formal complications.

2. Market research
– when we are trying to implement a new concept, product, service or business which does not yet exist on Polish market (or we do not have any knowledge of it), we need to conduct effective, meticulous and operational market research. It should involve an analysis of key players, of indirect and direct competitors, as well as of clients. It’s worth focusing principally on potential clients, so that there are 5 to 15 buyers already interested in our product before we set up the company.

3. Matching the offer to the market
– while building the company’s offer, consider the market requirements as well as the purchasing power. The offer should be prepared in a way that it accelerates the trade cycle (signing contracts).
4. Efficient sales manager
– it pays off to find a sales manager with experience in Polish trade. Obviously, practice most frequently shows that one person is at the same time a sales manager, an accountant and additionally – dabbles with telesales. In the long term, however, hiring a person with experience in sales would be advantageous. The following steps involve finding a trusted legal advisor and a reliable accounts person. Why are the sales manager, the lawyer and the accountant so essential? Because very often people whose sole orientation is business development forget about financial matters. Unfortunately, any negligence in this area can result in repercussions inflicted by the tax office and/or ZUS (the Social Security Institution).

5. Working out the development strategy
– a well constructed development strategy should be based on the company’s plan to achieve the selected objectives within 3 years. It must be coupled with a business plan, an underlying framework to all the company’s development-related decisions. In the initial phase of development, the company needs to react as if it was a living organism, an consequently – it has to adjust itself to the market conditions. That is possible due to a short chain of procedures, owing to which we can implement different options relating to further operations. Companies on Polish market have only just started learning about the importance of a business strategy, therefore these issues are not really that obvious. Remember that the ability to create a business strategy constitutes only 5% of the task – the remaining 95% is the implementation. Many people define their objectives incorrectly, mistaking actual numbers with the imprecision of wishful thinking. For example, substantial revenue is not a strategic objective, but reaching a specifically determined revenue threshold, calculated on the basis of investments made – is.

6. Networking: new connections
– it sounds like a truism, however, the fact that business relies on networking is valid. For a foreigner, a  perspective of learning about the culture of the country where the business is conducted is normally very appealing. It is a good idea not only to get to know people from the industry, but also to maintain contacts with businessmen in areas other than your own – such as scientists, or politicians. Chambers of commerce also appear to be really helpful when conducting business activity abroad (e.g. French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland). These large organisations are tasked with co-creating favourable conditions for development of companies in Poland. Contacts with embassies (both in the given country of work and in the motherland) and with representatives of local government, e.g. mayors, are also of great significance.

7. Knowledge of the culture and tradition
– working in Poland is a great occasion to find out about the country’s colourful culture and tradition, as well as to consider Poland’s tumultuous history and economic transformation, which shaped the nation and influenced its development. Poland is a beautiful country where doing business can be a genuine pleasure.

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