There are plenty of reasons to do business in Europe, but also unique intricacies to make sure you have a handle on before doing so. Some of the benefits of doing business in Europe, particularly if you’re a US or Australian-based business include the fact that language isn’t often an issue, many of the processes are similar in these locations, and the infrastructure is strong.
Of course, there are differences as well, and there are things you should keep in mind to ensure it goes smoothly.
The following are some things to know about doing business in Europe.
Choose the Right Expense Management Software
When you’re expanding your business to Europe, one of the first things you should do is find the right global expense management solutions.
You’ll need an expense management platform that can handle the tax complexities in Europe, language issues, and currency conversions. It’s best to look for a platform that automates all of these processes to make it as simple as possible. Also, when you’re operating across geographic borders you want to ensure everything is centralized and visibility is robust, and also that employees can track expenses from anywhere at any time.
Be Ready for Face-to-Face Interactions
Despite the widespread availability of digital communication tools, in Europe, face-to-face interactions are extremely valued and important. If you’re setting up shop at any scale in Europe, you should be prepared to meet this expectation.
You’ll of course also want to learn about local customers, cultural considerations, and business practices, but you need to go beyond considering the EU as a whole, and instead look at individual regions and countries because it can vary significantly even among countries that are part of the European Union.
While there are many localized rules and regulations for doing business in the EU, there are also centralized ones as well.
As an example, there’s a new one that goes into effect on May 25, 2018 called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This one is an extension of existing data protection regulations, and it’s going to put more stringent rules on how data is handled. It will dictate important rules on how businesses and organizations use and store personal information, and businesses operating in Europe will be required to create the right infrastructure and processes to adhere to what’s outlined by this.
Consider a Partnership
In Europe the concepts of bright new ideas, products, and services are welcome, and sometimes the best thing companies from abroad can do to break into Europe is create a partnership or merge with an existing company. Acquisitions can also be a good route. The European startup scene is currently booming, making it a great time to start exploring these opportunities.
If you’re a corporation that’s looking for international expansion, keep your ear to the ground regarding promising new European startups that could offer you a valuable opportunity. Right now it seems like the sectors to really watch include healthcare and environmental.