Blog Article 03 Sep 2014

Whenever a new, fresh-faced Business Development executive is transferred over from Ireland to our Mountain View office they don’t understand why their new U.S. bank gives a small twenty-five page book with their name printed on the corner. Checkbooks haven’t been commonly used in Ireland for over a decade so our ‘Millennials’ struggle to understand what they are used for. In Europe, nearly all transfers of funds are made electronically online.

As we in IDA work to help West Coast companies set up successful European operations, we encounter many examples like this of how the business environments differ in Europe and the U.S. We try and explain them all to our clients as we work through each individual project, but we thought it would be useful to share these learnings in a weekly blog.

Despite the acceleration of the trend toward globalization in recent years, significant cultural, business and legal differences remain between Europe and the U.S. The differences between each of the 28 countries of the European Union (EU) can be almost as large, and this is what makes managing this market of over 500 million wealthy consumers so complex and challenging. Google’s European sales and finance teams, based in Dublin, employ people of forty different nationalities who speak over 50 different languages.

In the coming months we plan to explore areas as diverse as data privacy, regulation of medical devices,   managing multilingual sales and what to wear to meetings. It is always interesting to watch the consternation that is caused amongst seasoned, well-travelled executives from both Europe and the U.S. by the decision of whether to wear a necktie to a dinner taking place in the Valley with the Irish Prime Minister. (The correct answer is the Prime Minister will be wearing one, and you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in.)

IDA has helped over 500 U.S. companies successfully develop their international business from Ireland. We look forward to sharing some of the things that worked well, along with areas where we would like to see improvement in this weekly blog. We will try and bring some insights into the differences and challenges of successfully operating an international operation in Europe using examples from our experience where possible. The IDA West Coast team, as well as some guest client and specialist bloggers, will cover a different area each week, and we welcome your feedback on any specific topics that you would like to see covered.

Rory Mullen

Photo Caption: Rory Mullen, Director, West Coast, IDA Ireland

Photo Caption: Senan O’Riain, Paraic Hayes and Deirdre Moran of IDA Ireland

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