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Doing Business, the Italian Way

June 2, 2017

 

Are you looking to expand your business to Italy? Or maybe you already have clients based in Italy but struggle to communicate with the language and culture barriers?

 

After receiving a few enquiries about my international business support and customer/supplier account management services I thought it would be a good idea to write a short blog about doing business in Italy.

 

Although I have lived in the UK for the past 20 years, I am originally from Sardinia, Italy. I moved here a young, culture-hungry 20-something wanting to improve my English and learn about the British culture. I loved it so much, I never left! And I still love everything about it here (except perhaps the weather!) 

 

So how does doing business in Italy differ from the UK? Well the answer is actually, ‘not much’. However, there are some subtle differences in both business and cultural etiquette and knowing them could mean the difference between a favourable outcome and a complete disaster.

 

Cultural Etiquette

Italians are very laid back and sociable. So, my number one tip for doing business with Italians is to relax and enjoy it! Very often the lines between business and social become blurred, so don’t worry too much about meetings starting on time, or the fact that there is no agenda. Food is of utmost importance to Italians, and 2-hour lunch meetings are the norm. Grab-and-go lunches and fast-food are just not an option, the outrage Romans felt when McDonalds opened its first restaurant there will tell you all you need to know abou