For many years, Poland has been enjoying steady economic growth in the heart of Europe. In 2018, FTSE Russell promoted Poland to developed market status. This was in view of Poland’s “continuous improvements to its capital market infrastructure, supported by the country’s steady economic progress”. If you want to conquer the Polish market, you need to know what to pay attention to so that everything goes to plan.
International expansion – what barriers are worth preparing for?
When considering expanding in Poland, you must prepare well in advance. As Kenny Morgan suggests, companies that want to build their presence in Poland should:
– talk to companies that are already present in the Polish market
– choose the geographical location wisely, since Poland is a large country
– take time to choose the legal-entity type that will best suit their business model.
International expansion is a bold decision that poses a huge opportunity for your brand. However, remember that every market is different.
What can hinder international expansion in Poland?
Your product or service will start operating in a different environment. It will have to meet customers’ new expectations and needs. According to a recent survey conducted by Episerver, as many as 73% of consumers get their shopping done online. Interaction with the brand affects their purchase decision. The content that customers see and their experience when interacting with the brand on the website are fundamental to shaping their buying behaviour. This means that you have an important task ahead of you: you should look at your offer with fresh eyes and find items that will attract customers and contractors in Poland.
Also, don’t forget that your international customers may have different preferences and shopping habits. In Poland, many consumers are most drawn to a product based on a personalised approach, rather than recommendations from influencers. If the content of communication isn’t authentic, this will have a negative impact on consumer trust. Today, communication based on credibility and genuine commitment is growing in importance. Polish consumers say that they want to buy from brands that support the values of social corporate responsibility.
Administrative and legal barriers
According to wGospdarce.pl, the biggest obstacles to international expansion are various product standards or regulations (51%) and bureaucracy (49%). Administrative barriers may hinder the growth of both new and existing companies.
International tax and customs regulations, import restrictions and labour law terrify entrepreneurs who are uncertain of their legal knowledge. If you are afraid of them, too, look for reliable online sources such as the Business in Poland platform – or, if you’re located in the UK, the website of the Department for International Trade. There you will find a lot of information, advice and training to help you with entering the Polish market.
You should also learn more about Polish authorities so that you know what to expect and how to meet the obligations they impose. Feel free to jump to my article on the biggest Polish business authorities.
Cultural and language barriers
Different countries have different business etiquette and expectations regarding negotiating. Poland is no different in this respect. It puts a lot of emphasis on the formality of meetings, adherence to protocol, and properly addressing your counterparts. Knowing the differences will assist your successful cooperation with international contractors because it’s easy to make a mistake. It is difficult to build a rapport if you start off on the wrong foot by being too friendly too soon. It will be seen as impolite and met with distrust.
Finally, you cannot conduct business talks or promotional activities without knowing the language. You can start by adding a Polish version of your company page. This will help prospective Polish clients make strategic decisions faster. Invest in a translator that will help you get to the client with the right message, provide translated documents or accompany you to business discussions.
International expansion – how do you overcome business barriers?
First of all, believe in success. Even if you are a small or medium-sized entrepreneur, do not assume that expanding in Poland means high costs and high risk.
What can you do to establish your presence in the Polish market?
- Investigate the needs of the market
- Perform a competition analysis
- Determine the unique features of your offer
- Develop a long-term business strategy
- Learn about Polish culture
- Learn the basics of economic law in force in Poland
- Invest in developing your employees’ language skills
- Hire a professional translator
Contact me if you want support with building your presence in Poland. I will translate your corporate documents and make sure your message is effectively conveyed. Learn the rules of cooperation and enter the Polish market.