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Business Culture

Croatia - Business Culture

Croatia remains a fairly poor country, with slow economic growth and poor infrastructure. However, a liberal foreign investment regime is increasingly attracting foreign businesses. Croation is the official language, but since English and German are widely spoken, communications are not generally a problem.

Personal contacts and networking are far more important in Croation business culture than formal marketing techniques. You should therefore consider appointing a local intermediary to promote your product or service, or to arrange introductions.

You'll find that Croations are very proud of their country and its achievements, and you may need to work hard to convince them that your product is worthy of them or better than anything already available in the country.

The business culture is quite formal and conservative, although this varies between organizations. Smaller companies run by Croations who have lived overseas are more likely to take risks and be open to innovative ideas, while larger organizations tend to be dominated by rules and procedures.

In general, there is a lot of red tape in Croatia, which can be a considerable hindrance in business. Beware of officials who promise favours, as corruption is reportedly widespread.

Meetings should be arranged in advance, and punctuality will be expected, although not necessarily observed by the Croation hosts. Normal office hours are 8.00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays (8.30 to 4.30 for public services).

Normal business dress is a smart and conservative suit and tie, and firm handshakes are the common form of greeting. Business cards are usually exchanged at the start of meetings, and should include professional or academic titles. People should be addressed by their title and surname, unless you are invited to use first names. Women are generally accorded equal status with men in Croatia, and many hold senior positions in the country.

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