Expat Entrepreneur: Silan Kucukokur Bartel in Germany
Turkish entrepreneur Silan Kucukokur Bartel likes the high quality standards in the German business arena but finds that her clients tend to avoid risk and don't open easily to new partnerships and products.
Name: Silan Kucukokur Bartel
City of residence: Berlin, Germany
Name of company: Freelancer (Marketing Consultant)
Date of company launch: 2010
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
Before I moved to Berlin, I had been working in the International Marketing field for years. A year after moving to Berlin, I registered as a freelance Marketing Consultant and have been working for a Hungarian Company active in Amusement Sector that wants to penetrate German Market. I have been doing the Market Research, preparing Marketing Strategy and forming the first contacts with potential clients. The business has been slow until now mostly due to the effect of economic crisis as the products and services of/for Amusement Sector can be categorized as luxury, and that’s where the investors/ consumers cut the expenses first during an economic crisis.
What do you like about doing business in Germany?
The business discipline and quality standards are very high in Germany.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in Germany?
As a non-native speaker in a foreign country it is always a big challenge to do Marketing and Sales. My job requires a lot of verbal communication and good verbal presentation skills and although I have been learning German for a year, I have not reached the fluency level for business yet.
Another challenge is that German clients are not easily open to trying new products or business partnerships as they tend to avoid risk. It is a challenge for a foreign company which is not known in the market and which does not have references on where to enter into German market to make headway.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
Germany is the land of procedures and paper work and the process of setting up a new business (or even just registering yourself as freelancer) can be complicated. Probably having a tax-business consultant is the easiest solution, although not the most economical.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
As I already mentioned, the products and services of/for Amusement Sector can be categorized as luxurious items on which the investors/ consumers cut the budget first during an economic crisis. So the economic crisis had a strong effect on my business as the budgets for my products were often cut and the investors / customers were even less prone to taking risks than usual.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in Germany?
A good and detailed Market Analysis and an according Marketing Strategy should be prepared prior to taking action. The German clients and business people are mostly analytic and prefer to do business based on facts & figures & references rather than impulse behaviour. The best is to be able to present yourself and your arguments from a strong ground with some facts and references to gain credibility.
How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
I was working in Turkey before, and I can say that the Turkish market and clients can be more impulsive when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Also, the communication between business partners can vary due to cultural differences--most likely less formal than in Germany in many cases.
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