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5 Tips for Doing Business in Switzerland


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Although Switzerland is not one of the European Union (EU) member states, the local authorities have applied a similar type of legal system that harmonizes EU law. Therefore, European businessmen are able to invest in the market, which is one of the area’s most solid. It is very important knowing that local authorities encourage foreign entrepreneurs to open businesses here through a number of different bilateral agreements that are signed by Switzerland and the county’s partners. It is recommended that those wanting to establish a business presence in the local market should apply several different methods that can help to develop the company’s value; our Swiss company team of formation representatives can provide help with these matters.

1. Address consumer needs

One of the most essential aspects that can grow a Switzerland-based business is addressing the needs of consumers. The management of the company should conduct studies that offer a clear picture of the major requirements that consumers have, and that refer to the characteristics and prices of the products or services that are sold in the local market.  It is also necessary to consider the brand when accounting for the needs mentioned above.      

2. Analyze the competition

When trying to access a certain type of business in Switzerland, it is mandatory to analyze the industry overall, the business prospects and how the company may develop, along with the competition and their characteristics as well. You should also know tax rates when performing analysis – here they are from VATGlobal. This will help you evaluate how lucrative your product is potentially.

3. Evaluate the risks

The company’s management can create different business strategies to apply to the local Swiss market.  In these cases, investors will need to evaluate all of the risks that might arise during this process.  These actions can help to prevent different kinds of crises or provide solutions in the event that they arise; our Swiss company team of incorporation agents are able to provide assistance for these issues.

4. Provide quality products or services

Another important aspect to consider is the quality of products or services sold to individual or corporate Swiss customers. Higher quality products do have higher production costs as well, but these measures can help to increase the company’s overall value. 

5. Select well-suited Swiss employees

One of the major assets of all businesses is their human resources, no matter what their main activity is or the country they are established in.  The Swiss workforce has a 99% literacy rate and high education level.

Individuals who are interested in getting more tips on growing a business in Switzerland can contact our Swiss company team of incorporation consultants for help. 

Before conducting any business with people in Switzerland, the following points need to be noted:

Making appointments

In Switzerland, meetings are not made spontaneously but by appointment.  That is also true for social occasions, especially in German-speaking cantons.  Arrive five minutes early at least and make sure you call if you are thinking you will be late. The Swiss will be impressed if you arrive 15 to 20 minutes early. 

It is necessary to be punctual for all occasions, whether it is social or business.  This is particularly true in German-speaking areas, where it can be a serious offense to arrive just five minutes late for a social or business engagement.  Although it tends to be more relaxed about time in the Italian- and French-speaking areas, punctuality is very much appreciated there as well. 

Swiss dress code

It is definitely within your best interest to always remain police and be well presented (i.e. conservative).

Don’t wear casual clothing or jeans to a first-time business meeting unless that is something standard for the industry, like the arts or IT.

Dress well, yet modestly; the Swiss appreciate clothing that is in good condition, well pressed, clean and simple and dislike ostentatious displays of money or wealth. 

Any jewelry (including Swiss watches) should be elegant, yet understated and simple. 

Swiss Conversations

The Swiss are extremely private people, so you should avoid asking them personal questions.  For instance, do not ask them questions concerning their religion, marital status, age, occupation or other related subjects. Your Swiss colleagues will also not attempt to pry into your personal affairs during a conversation. However, it does seem that in certain circles that some of topics discussed above are talked about more openly so that asking a person’s marital status, occupation, or age isn’t all that unusual.    

The independence of the Swiss is attributed to their military preparedness, that also involves universal military conscription. This is a subject you should avoid mentioning, since it may lead to some bitter arguments and stirs up a lot of passionate opinions. 

The Swiss are rather earnest at time, so it is recommend that you avoid making jokes unless you are sure of where you stand; your gentle banter can easily be interpreted as mockery at times. 

In debate and conversations, the French have the reputation for their charismatic presence and rhetorical abilities, but those characteristics tend to not be as obvious with the French-Swiss. 

Compared to other Swiss, the Italian Swiss tend to be more open, although more reserved compared to native Italians. 

Don’t interrupt Swiss colleagues with comments or remarks. Wait until their point of view has been exhausted and then provide yours, but only if you are asked.

Due to their reticence, the Swiss are very attentive, so be careful about what you say. The Swiss rarely will forget things that have been said.

In general, the Swiss have conservative options and don’t easily change their minds.  However, it is wrong to consider them as being needlessly arrogant or stubborn.   

Discussions with Swiss colleagues

Safe topics

Work; however, don’t open a conversation asking “what do you do?”

The Swiss Federation founding.

The Romansch culture.

Sports, especially winter sports.

Swiss cuisine.

Positive aspects about Switzerland.

Your travels throughout Switzerland.

Economics and world politics.

Topics to avoid

Any personal questions.

Industry monopolies

Voting rights for women in modern-day Switzerland.

The Swiss military.

The role of Switzerland in both world wars.

Swiss neutrality.


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