Many years ago I worked on a project called ‘Doing Business Safely in Russia’ together with some Nordic partners. Time passed, the headline is still vital. Just maybe it could be slightly re-worded to more general ‘Doing business in Russia’ – an issue that is kept being discussed, is kept being seen as attractive and at the same time risky thing – as is Russia itself. I was thinking about it when reading and writing my notes within the project we are now doing with the Meeting Design Institute on publishing the Meeting Architecture book in Russian. We are inviting companies interested in the Russian market, to join us, and therefore I reached out to those organisations that might have not heard yet about this exciting opportunity we offer. So, I have been reading a lot about doing business in Russia as you may imagine.
Well, we all can speculate on this topic a lot. My view, once I’ve started this post with such introduction, is that to enter the Russian market/to start doing your business in Russia (or any other foreign to you country for that matter) successfully a company/its CEO has to follow (or make sure to know there are) a few simple steps:
- learn about the country, its business culture and your area of interest from a trusted source. Don’t rely on media, really. Get local friends, ask your social circle and compare views. Comparing is important, as we all are different and may perceive same things differently. The more similarities you get on the particular issue, the truest conclusion you can get.
- you can also start to explore the country and/or the industry you’re interested in by visiting country’s booth or Russian companies booths at international exhibitions and trade shows, talking to fellow professionals and getting the feel of how the industry is being developing
- get local partners from your industry and get trusted suppliers – those with the knowledge and experience in your area of interest (those who can guide you in some situations, assist with translating your documents or website, etc)
- visit the country yourself – feel it. Don’t follow the standard route though. I don’t actually mean you should go on Trans-siberian trail, no – although if you feel like this, they say it’s a great journey. But just take your time to discover both business and usual life in the country you are going to work at.
These recommendations are not about purely business-wise steps to take to enter the new market, e.g. making up strategies, collecting analytics, etc. And perhaps, they are more suitable for SMEs. But hopefully it will be of help anyway – the rest you know yourself once you are going to enter the new market.
Speaking about collecting analytics and the like – in many cases, as far as I am aware, there is a challenge of getting business information in English. I’ve recently discovered a very useful (and well-done) resource where you can get a lot of information about Russian economy, Russian regions, its potential, industries description, rankings and some other stats. It is aimed at investors, but surely any businessman would find it useful so I advise to check it out.
Well, and if you are going to explore the Russian events & meetings industry in particular (which is now being recognised as one of the most fast developing sector despite the current economic situation) we are here for you.