Are you planning to start or expand your business into Portugal? Well, there are always challenges and benefits of starting a business in a foreign country and that’s why it is important to keep the following things in mind.
Get Used to Making Phone Calls
Chances are you are used to using your phone for texting, going through social media, taking photos and playing games. However, when it comes to doing business in Portugal, you’ll want to get used to making frequent calls. If your call isn’t answered on the first attempt, keep trying and never assume that the individual will call you back. That’s because returning calls isn’t a strong quality in the country. Sometimes it takes days to get into contact with someone, making it a frustrating place for debt collectors.
Do Not Depend on Communication Through Emails
As a business person, you are probably used to communicating through emails as most people, particularly in northern Europe and the United States as it is seen as a formal means of doing so. Ideally, there are a lot of people who nowadays talk business through messaging applications like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Well, with the Portuguese, things are pretty different and e-mail isn’t an efficient means of communication. For urgent queries, it is best to use the phone as emails are not instantly seen, opened and read.
Always Confirm The Meeting
When you manage to schedule a meeting, do not assume that it is a fixed appointment. Both of you need to confirm the date and time of the meeting before being certain that it’s going to happen. Here’s an example- Let’s say it is on a Monday and a meeting is set up for 9 am the next Friday. Well, you need to confirm the meeting the day before, as it is likely the other party will not show up if you fail to do so.
Conduct Business Over Lunch
In Portugal, the initial negotiations or partnerships tend to have more weight to them if they are done over lunch. While you may feel uncomfortable talking business while interacting with the waiters and eating, it’s something that you will quickly get used to in Portugal. The Portuguese prefer to talk in a relaxed manner and with good food on the table instead of taking the formal route involving business jargon and stiff nods. At the end of the day, we are all humans and the Portuguese just like to talk business with a real individual instead of a computer screen.
Be Flexible With Time
If your contact is late for an appointment, do not stress out. As long as you’ve confirmed the appointed day before, he or she will certainly show up. As such, it is fine to give them a leeway of several minutes and give them a call after 15 minutes of still not showing up.
Be aware of the tax differences when doing business in Portugal – as tax differences are different in each country this is pivotal. This post from VATIT should help.