DOING BUSINESS IN FINLAND
One of the largest countries in Europe, Finland continuously tops international rankings in education, research and development investment, competitiveness and transparency. The Ease of Doing Business chart parallels show Finland, along with its Scandinavian neighbours, as one of the best countries for foreign business ventures. Politically, the country is a stable parliamentary republic and has been a member of the European Union since 1995; it adopted the euro as its currency in 2002. Citizens enjoy a multitude of individual and political freedoms, with Finnish women among the first in the world allowed to vote.
Geographically, doing business in Finland offers trade links with Russia, Europe and the Baltic States, with access to the growing economies of Northern Europe rendering Finland a favourite among global organisations. A highly modernised and predominantly free market, its industrial economy boasts a thriving private sector and business environment attracting foreign investment.
Indeed, international trade remains key, with exports accounting for over one third of Finland’s GDP – notably in wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronic industries. Forests cover three quarters of the country’s surface area, making quality wood the most important export. This also provides a secondary occupation in the rural areas but is balanced by Finland’s reputation as an innovative hub for technological advancements.
Business culture for the Finns is free of flamboyance and ostentation, so avoid over-dressing or showing extravagance. Finland has long been a culturally homogenous nation, little impacted by outside influences. Therefore, investing time in familiarising oneself with the established business etiquette is essential.
While Finland certainly remains a reliable springboard into successful business, the World Business Culture website will relay the necessary information for navigating the tax and regulatory environment. It will also help to understand the cultural environment to ensure rewarding business in Finland.
Finland punches above its weight and has done for decades. For a country with a tiny population, geographically remote and with an inclement climate the fact that Finland is considered a world leader in a number of areas is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the resilience and determination of its people.
Maybe Finland’s success is down to its world famous ‘sissu’ (read the country profile to find out what that actually is) or maybe it’s just down to the fact that Finland has been able to develop an education system that is globally envied and endlessly studied. Whatever the reason, Finland is in many ways remarkable. If you are looking for a market with an affluent, sophisticated consumer base which is technologically advanced and open to new ideas, then the idea of doing business in Finland should appeal to you.
Yet Finland is in many ways an enigma. Nordic but not Scandinavian; with a seemingly endless border with Russia but definitely not Slavic. Even the Finnish language has no similarities with its near neighbours. For these reasons Finland is often referred to as a cultural ‘lone wolf’.
Doing business in Finland can bring enormous benefits but Finns are notoriously circumspect. A better knowledge of Finnish business culture can help you overcome any initial reticence you might encounter and enable you to develop deep and long-lasting relationships. Finns are interested in people who are interested in Finland – so show an interest in all things Finnish and you will reap the rewards.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Finnish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:
- Background to business
- Business Structures
- Management style
- Women in business
- Top tips