Culture eats strategy for breakfast
Strategy is far from indifferent. However, a powerful and empowering cultural understanding is the path to organizational success.
How to act in a German business context?
The German Federation, as it stands now, was founded in 1990 and has now a population of around 83 million. The country is centrally located in Europe, bordering nine countries. In recent years, Germany has become known as a major export nation, with many family businesses specializing in various niche products. With its large population and strong purchasing power, the market has huge potential for Danish companies. As a Danish company, however, you must be prepared for some differences when entering the German market.
What you need to know before expanding your business to Germany.
1. Relationships are important
Trade in Germany is very relationship-based. It is always important to be prepared before you make the initial contact. It generally takes longer to build relationships in Germany than in Denmark.
2. “Mit englisch kommt man durch, mit deutsch kommt man weiter”
Translated into English, this phrase means that you can get by with English, but you will get further if you speak German. Only 12.5% of Germans said in 2022 that they have "very good English skills": When you need to reach a decision-maker, you cannot expect them to speak English. Therefore, you need a contact person to communicate your message in German.
3. 16 states in one country
The Germany is a federal state with 16 states, each with its own federal government. Each state has its own culture and history. The country, therefore, has more significant cultural differences compared to Denmark.
4. Be careful with the German flag
German flag does not have the same status as the Danish flag and is not often used. If you use it for business, you may be misunderstood.
5. Trade in Germany
Communication in Germany is typically more direct than in Denmark. People are often addressed by titles and the formal "Sie" equivalent to the formal "you" in English. It is essential to show up in nice clothes, be punctual and be more willing to talk about your professional qualities.