“All beginnings are hard, and most so the beginnings of business” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hermann und Dorothea)

We all recognise the principle from election forecasts. Sophisticated statistical methods are used to apply the findings from a carefully selected sample to the basic population, with amazingly reliable results. When assessing national markets, however, we fail to use even easily available information, such as personal experience and observations derived from our own microcosm that can be applied to the macro-level. After all, if you plan to move to a new neighbourhood, you first examine the area very thoroughly. What schools are there, where can the children play, where’s the nearest corner-shop, supermarket or fitness studio? There will be many different things to find out before the move, exactly what depends on your own individual requirements.

When seeking answers to your questions, you are unlikely to rely only on information that is officially available. You hold conversations, talk to residents, ask people you know – all of which involves making use of specialist knowledge.

But when assessing the potential of new markets and opportunities for breaking into them, we often see a contrasting scenario. It is naive to think that strategies that function in Great Britain can be duplicated for market entry to continental Europe. Each market follows its own rules, and many companies fail to gain a foothold in the German-speaking countries.

We have been doing business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for many years and are extremely well-acquainted with the specific characteristics of these markets.