Greece

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DOING BUSINESS IN GREECE

A vital origin of European civilisation, the historical and cultural heritage of Greece resonates throughout the West to this day. It created concepts such as democracy, political science and Western philosophy, to name a few. Made up of the mainland and over 1,400 smaller islands, Greece is well situated in the southern Balkan Peninsula. Doing business in this central location offers a gateway to Asia, Africa and Europe. However, the devastating effects of the global financial crisis in the late 2000s left the Greek economy in turmoil. With an ongoing sovereign debt crisis, doing business in Greece is certainly a challenge.

Unsurprisingly, Greece’s weak economic position has impacted its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, which continue to decline each year. Furthermore, an inconsistent and non-business-friendly taxation system and fruitless attempts at reform by an ineffective bureaucracy could further impede those doing business in Greece. Corruption persists at many levels: therefore, an understanding of these practices is also important.

Despite these problems, there are potential advantages of doing business in Greece, including a highly educated and skilled workforce and low labour costs, combined with strong entrepreneurial tradition. The largest industries are energy, food processing, agriculture, retail and tourism, with over 20 million tourists each year. With recovery on the horizon, now could be the time to invest in business here.

Greece’s culture shapes its business practice, with strong links to family and personal ties, meaning it can be time-consuming to establish successful relationships. Emphasis on the traditions of democracy and honour render trust and respect the key characteristics of business encounters, while experience and professionalism will gain foreign investors the confidence of local business people.

OVERVIEW

To say that Greece has been through some troubled times in the twenty-first century would be an understatement. The banking crisis of 2008 possibly hit Greece harder than any other European country and resulted in its well-documented financial meltdown and subsequent massive tripartite bailout. The long-suffering people of Greece are still reeling from the austerity measures which were the price demanded by the international financial community in return for long-term fiscal support and they will be feeling that pain for a number of years to come.

Despite those difficulties, life continues in Greece and the country has a great deal to offer for those people who can see the potential of a country rich in history and full of future promise. Can you do business in Greece? Of course you can – the country remains one of the world’s great tourist destinations, its geographic position makes it an important staging post between Western Europe and the Middle East and Greece’s economy can only improve going forward.

As with any other country, one of the key considerations when doing business in Greece is to get a thorough understanding of the business culture you are likely to encounter when you arrive. Despite its membership of the European Union, Greece remains a traditional culture and business structures reflect age-old concepts of hierarchy and the importance of relationship networks. Making the right impression with the right people can be the difference between success and failure and we very strongly recommend that you do your research before entering into the Greek market. The age old maxim of ‘who you know is more important than what you know’ could definitely be applied to modern-day Greece.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Greek business culture 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

 

While this may not be an obvious location for business ventures, local knowledge can ensure success. With expert advice in navigating this tricky terrain, World Business Culture can reduce the risks of doing business in Greece.