The time is now! Entering a new market like Germany and expanding your existing business there can be a very smart business move for growth if done right. The objective and target for the What’s Up Germany virtual event held on April 13th, 2021 was to share expert tips and local insights including practical case examples to – what the main ingredients are for success, it’s upsides and downsides and how to find the right partners as well as how to build a local network.
The ingredients for success in the German market
Germany offers a lot of opportunities but comes also with its share of challenges. The economy and traditions vary strongly from one federal state to another, and the various industries are located decentrally. Germany is also called the home of bureaucracy, so you need to keep in mind that most of the documentation happens on paper.
Philip Aminoff, Chairman of the Board of the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, advised on things to keep in mind when entering the German market. “Germany is culturally similar to Finland, but practically different”.
As a mature market Germany offers a lot of competition, so ensuring that there is a proper fit between the needs of the local market and the product or service offered is paramount, as is the importance of providing an outstanding customer experience.
To be successful, it is vital to understand the challenges and cultural differences before entering or expanding. The company must be present and visible through a local partner or a local office.
Trust is very important for Germans. “To establish a business relation, a German customer needs to be comfortable that that the company you represent and you as a person can both be trusted”, said Aminoff. It is very important to be well prepared when meeting the customer, especially when invited for a first formal presentation. “Be prepared for an in-depth discussion”, highlighted Aminoff.
Aminoff gave an insight of market opportunities in Germany: redesign of delivery chain to strengthen security of supply, remote health and remote learning, the green transition, smart buildings, Health Tech and Services, solutions to the problems of an aging population.
“There is a secret route to go into the German market”. Aminoff highlighted that the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce consists of 30 experts whose mission in life is to grow the bilateral trade between Finland and Germany. and who can also help to open the doors to global markets through the Chamber’s worldwide network.
Now is Always the Best Time to Start
Additionally, it was discussed how the business landscape has changed recently regarding digital transformation. The economy is growing rapidly and there is a lot of possibilities for Finnish companies. Wolf Weimer, PwC New Ventures Senior Associate highlighted that the time is now, because there is more openness in the country like never before.
Especially Covid-19 has caused a huge demand for digital services that we Finns know well. “We see demand for digitalization as high as it has never been before. We are growing faster as we never have growth before. Therefore, it’s time to come now!”, told Rusbeh Hashemian, Partner of PwC Europe New Ventures in Germany.
“We are still in a remote world. Everything is remote so the business can be done also remotely. Digitalisation is on the rise. Also, Germans are now more open for new innovations and willing to try new vendors,” encouraged Antti Partanen, Business Director at Futurice.
The participants were able to hear about Futurice’s journey to German: how the company has opened and expanded in Germany. The company started in Berlin 2010 and has expanded in Munich and Stuttgart.
Partanen told that in all their cases, the company follows always the client. “When we were opening the office, we had a discussion with the client about what kind of impact a local shop would give.“
After opening Partanen highlighted that it is very important to find a local people and take care of the company’s culture. “During the first three months we hired 5-6 people. Couple of experts coming from Finland. We had a good mix of new things and existing things in the new place.”