Everything you need to know about Latvian business culture

Everything you need to know about Latvian business culture

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The business culture of a country is really important when considering getting involved in its market, as this will give you a better understanding of what and how you should take certain approaches while making decisions. But some problems and difficulties may rise when researching, especially the fact that the business culture is not an invariable issue, it tends to change with the economic situation of the country, and Latvia is not an exception. Today we are going to go through some of the most important factors of the business culture in Latvia so you can have a clearer idea of how to move through the market there. A more stable market will bring a lot of investor from other countries, while instability will reduce their numbers considerably.

The things you need to know before moving to or making business in Latvia, are that it is a small country in the Baltic Sea, situated between Estonia, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. It was part of the Soviet Union and when it was disbanded they became independent and now makes part of the European Union. Its capital is Riga, one of the most important and the biggest city in the Baltic States, as well as an important center for finances, culture, industry, business and politics.

Some of the main characteristics of the Latvian business culture are business communication and etiquette for both business in general and meetings. Other aspects include the use of internships and placing students, as well as cost of living, balance between work and life and social media guidance. Business etiquette and communication for instance, one of the most important thing is to consider that Latvian are well educated and don’t like being told what to do specially with their country, so always speak to them without arrogance and in a respectful manner. Latvian tend to be really formal with both their language and their physical appearance, always keep respect and order on your priorities when dealing with Latvians and you will avoid lots of problems.

Meeting etiquette is extremely important, as meeting define the relationship between both partners, you must show them you are really interested in the subject, by sticking to the agenda, being punctual and showing real planning and compromise, remember to tackle the big issues and show knowledge of the topics. When planning, give them the choice to choose different dates, this will show them you are more open to make business with them and also your interest for both sides to benefit from the deal.

Latvia has gone through a lot of cultural changes, since they entered the global market. Latvians tend to be really dedicated and uncomplicated with business, and expect partners to be the same, for Latvians their work and personal lives are completely separated and should not be mixed. They are willing to work harder to make sure they keep their quality of life high. They usually work 8 hours between 8-9 A.M. to 4-5 P.M., the minimum wage is 255 euros and overtime must be paid, all this and more must be accorded previously when the employment contract is signed. Both elders and teens between 15 and 18 years can be employed, the later with the permission of their parents.

Image courtesy of Thomas Leuthard at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Thomas Leuthard at Flickr.com

Social media in all centered in Riga, as a small country most business and economic activities are concentrated in the capital, which makes strong use of both the internet and social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are really popular services and companies make extensive use of them for promoting their companies. Another important factor is the cost of living in Latvia, according to the European Job Mobility Portal the cost of living in Latvia is relatively low in comparison to other countries. Students from other countries usually find themselves spending less money than their countries of origin and other countries they may have lived in.

Latvian economy is also dominated by three big sectors, services, industrial and agricultural. The services sector is the biggest one, with almost 60 percent of employment and 70 percent of the gross domestic product. The second one is the Industrial, with 25 percent of employment, most it works with products like timber, construction, food processing, electronics and technology. The last big sector is the agricultural sector that provides 15 percent of employment its main products being grain, sugar, beets, potatoes, vegetables, beef, pork, milk, eggs and fish.

So to summarize, you should always keep in mind that Latvians are well educated and hardworking people, one of the most important aspects being respect to both they and their country. You should also analyze the market before you make any decisions, as it can vary from time to time. If you take all this into account you will find yourself being successful when interacting with people from Latvia and that will help you create strength businesses and business connections.

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