My experience shows that most foreign companies willing to enter the Russian food market try to contact their fellow countrymen living in Russia to get consulting on how to start their operation on the Russian market.
As a Russian, I am very pleased that there are so many people who have come to Russia for various reasons, fallen in love with it and stayed here. And now they help their countrymen to work on the Russian market.
I know many Frenchmen, Italians, Germans, Britons and Americans for whom Russia has become their second home. They have learned the language and how to communicate in Russia, but there is one thing no foreigner, no matter how long he/she has been living in Russia, will ever understand. This thing is how to do business in Russia in a right way.
My name is Aleksander Sinyansky, I am Russian, and I am a unique expert in the Russian food industry. In the past I used to be a professional top manager. Now I have my own business and provide diverse business and consulting services to food business owners. I am also the author of the book “Your First 50 Right Steps To Enter The Russian Food Market”. It is the only book for foreigners that tells you in detail how to start operating in Russia without losing your money or time.
And today I will give you 7 reasons why you should work with Russians if you want to work on the Russian food market:
1. Russian mentality is behind all spheres of life in Russia. Customs, traditions and habits make up Russian business reality. There are many institutes and universities in Russia, so all managers have different backgrounds and experience.
However, all Russians find common grounds very easily because it is not education or experience that unites them. They are united by the manner of speaking and listening, as well as Russian mentality, habits and customs.
You could have 30 or 50 years of experience in food industry of your country or around the world, you could be a super specialist in your home country and have dozens of recommendations in LinkedIn, but in Russia you would fail the easiest negotiation and would not get the conditions you want to achieve. It happens because you will always be a stranger to Russia, and it doesn’t even matter how well you speak the Russian language.
A young Russian manager with 2-3 years of experience will be more successful in such negotiations and will achieve more, he will be able to sign a contract on terms that are favorable to him/her.
Why? Because negotiations in Russia are communication of people who are united by much more than a common business.
2. A Russian manager will always know better how to solve a certain issue in Russia. You were not born in Russia, so you are not aware of the simplest ways to survive in Russia.
In some situations, a foreigner may need to spend thousands of dollars, but a Russian will be able to solve an issue with one phone call. It does not have to be a call to a friend or an acquaintance. Unlike with foreigners, Russian people can always find a common language and agree even by telephone.
In Russia, a lot of cases are solved in ways different from the ones people usually use throughout the world. For all foreigners, such ways may seem strange and stupid, but in Russia they work because we live like that.
3. No Russian partner will fully trust a foreign company. If you want to achieve something significant on the Russian market, hire a Russian manager who will represent your company and communicate with your customers. This will ensure your success on the Russian market.
4. If your business has problems with the law (tax or police), then you as a foreigner will not have any leniency, and most likely you will be punished as severely as possible under the Russian laws.
A Russian manager, if not completely forgiven, can be punished verbally (conditionally) or minimally because there are dozens of people like him/her every day. Whereas a foreign company with a foreign manager will have special attention.
5. A foreigner cannot just come and work in Russia. He/she needs to have a work permit. It is quite expensive, and the application procedure takes a lot of time.
A Russian manager can start working right away and represent your interests in a legal way.
While foreigners will be punished with very serious fines and deportation in case of working or doing business illegally.
6. A citizen of Russia always has more rights. This applies to all aspects of doing business.
7. A very important feature and probably the most important difference between a Russian hired manager and a fellow countryman you want to employ in Russia are that a Russian person with have both his/her personal experience and business experience in Russia.
A Russian manager will have established relationships with your potential buyers in Russia. Moreover, he/she will know what companies you should not work with, he/she will know the best places to store your goods and the best ways to transport your products since he/she has already done all that in Russia.
In my career, I have communicated with many foreigners who provide various consulting services on the Russian market to their fellow countrymen. I could always see the mistakes they made because of their lack of knowledge of Russian realities.
For example, they rented offices in places where rent is two to three times more expensive than the average price in the city. Or they opened representative offices in places where no one goes. Why? Because they saw a lot of advertisements of these places, but they did not have experience of working in those places. Foreign consultants based in Russia could hire employees that began to steal, or they selected buyers or customers that would not pay for the goods. And I can share a few dozens of such examples.
Do you know how I met those foreign consultants? They were in trouble and they needed help to save their reputation and save face in front of their fellow countrymen. So, they found me and asked me for help.
As a result, if you plan to enter the Russian food market and you work with your fellow countrymen, you will get only one advantage – you will speak the same language. It will be comfortable for you to conduct dialogues, but you will not run a good business.
If you work via a Russian company or a Russian manager, you will have to speak English or Russian. It may not be very comfortable at the beginning, but you will also get the seven advantages I described above.
You can always hire a translator into your native language, which is not expensive in our modern world. But you cannot “hire” Russian mentality, as well as business experience and professional and personal connections of a Russian manager.
Therefore, when planning to work on the Russian market, you need to decide what is more important: your personal comfort in communication or real results for your business, its fast development, and your future profit. You have the potential to get profits that are more than the sales of your products in your home country. Otherwise, why to enter the Russian food market?
If you want to really successfully work on the Russian food market in, do not to make mistakes or not lose money, I can free reading mybook “Your first 50 Right Steps to Enter the Russian Food Market” .
Business Adviser on the Russian Food Market