Great Britain

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DOING BUSINESS IN GREAT BRITAIN

Doing business in Great Britain is often viewed as a good choice, with the mature nation being deemed extremely business friendly for its accountable democracy and free market economy, which imposes few restrictions and no exchange controls. These positive traits have earned the county a ranking of 7th in the World Bank’s list of nations that are easy to do business in and 8th in the Index of Economic Freedom.

While there are many advantages to doing business in Great Britain, such as Corporate Tax Rates being set to be lowered to 17% in 2020, contracts and private property rights enjoying high security and UK economic growth remaining modest, expanding by an estimated 1.6% in 2019 (somewhat lagging behind that of other developed countries), there are also many uncertainties.

The realm of the unknown can make even the boldest professional take a cautious approach. Following Britain’s historical 2016 referendum to leave the EU, much ambiguity surrounds Britain’s future as the world waits to see how the nation will cope as it navigates Brexit negotiations and seeks to develop new partnerships outside its customary markets within the European Union.

What does remain certain and steadfast is British culture and values. Managers tend to boast a more generalised skillset as opposed to a specialism, with relevant hands-on experience being more prized than academic educational accomplishments. There is a strong theme among British professionals to be self-depreciating over self-promotional and humour is overwhelmingly utilised in most business situations, not because matters are not being taken seriously, but because it is viewed as a respected communication asset employed to maintain calmness in business exchanges. British professionals also favour a friendly atmosphere among teams and prioritise people’s feelings and diplomacy over direct and open confrontation.

The World Business Culture website contains key information and practical advice to help those doing business in Great Britain stay abreast of how the country reacts to a post-Brexit environment, so they are well-informed about the nation’s multifaceted social and economic environment.

OVERVIEW

The United Kingdom remains one of the largest, most competitive markets in the world. It is a global centre of excellence across a wide range of business sectors as well as being a world-leader in higher education. The City of London, along with New York, continues to dominate international finance and UK-based legal firms retain their pre-eminence as global players.

Despite these massive positive factors, the UK faces a number of challenges going forward. How will the UK cope with a post-Brexit world as it navigates its way through the Brexit negotiations and looks to forge new partnerships outside it traditional markets within the EU? Will the UK be able to improve its notoriously poor productivity levels and will the City of London be able to retain its leadership role in global finance?

All of these questions will be answered in the coming decade but in the intervening period the UK remains open for business and the prospects for doing successful business in the UK remain positive. The UK actively seeks overseas companies who see the country as an attractive market and world-class incentives are in place to help you take advantage of a sophisticated consumer base and a highly educated workforce.

If you are considering doing business in the UK, you need to consider the cultural issues you are likely to encounter. Put simply, the British are quick to take offence. Your communication style might be viewed as aggressive, when you thought you were merely being helpfully direct or your negotiating style could appear confrontational when you thought you were offering useful alternatives. Study the UK approach to business in advance – it will pay dividends.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of business culture in the UK in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips