Myths and reality of Russian business in Finland (part 3)
Many Russian businessmen and simply enterprising people are now considering the possibility of opening their own business in Finland. The investment attractiveness and stability of the northern country are increasingly attracting our compatriots.
Alexander Vasyukov, managing partner of the transport company Paku Vuokraus.
- Alexander, how did you come up with the idea to start a business in Finland?
- In the beginning, I would like to welcome all the readers and congratulate you on the beginning of the season, wish you good rest and profitable purchases. I invite everyone to visit Imatra and, of course, our store. Moreover, the center of Imatra is very compact, and the crossing of the border through Svetogorsk-Imatru takes a little time. My record is 15 minutes from the store before leaving the Russian post. By the way, these factors were not the last when making a decision to open a business in Imatra. My first business experience in the mid-90s was directly related to Finland, and it was a very positive experience. Then more than 10 years I worked in the domestic market of Russia, this time was quite enough to understand - for me the option of doing business in a more European way is more comfortable. About 5 years ago there was an idea to make retail stores in the format of outlet, but it did not happen to realize this idea in Russia. Since the beginning of last year, we with partners have carried out a lot of research work and came to the conclusion that Finland is the best option for implementing this idea.
- You opened a business from scratch. Have you resorted to the help of Finnish organizations that support start-ups?
- Yes, at the initial stage, we turned to specialized organizations to promote business development in Lappeenranta and Imatra. We met with consultants to discuss our idea and the possibility of its implementation in Finland. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of these organizations, namely Sampo Vekhviliainen and Ekaterina Makeeva, who have been of great assistance to us.
- In your opinion - what are the advantages for a Russian businessman working in Finland?
- This is more a question of not nationality, but philosophy. A lot of Finns do business in Russia and find advantages for themselves. On the other hand, many Russian businessmen will not find here those "advantages" to which they are accustomed in Russia. Many questions in Finland are solved much easier and faster, but these conditions, in my opinion, require a certain level of internal responsibility from the businessman. I like that it is widely practiced using Internet technologies for communication with both government agencies and commercial companies. This greatly helps to save time and resources.
- Is your main client Finns or Russian tourists?
- In our initial forecasts, we focused on the ratio: 80% of buyers from Russia and 20% of Finns, but our consultants tried to persuade us not to underestimate the buying activity of Finns and their loyalty to brands. We in our shop tried to create the level of service accepted in Finland and now with great pleasure we note the ratio of our customers 60/40. We hope that we were able to create a store of a high enough level to provoke the confidence of both Russian and Finnish buyers.
- Finns as business partners - what are they, is it convenient to work with them?
- Finns, like people of any nation, are different. But in most cases, working with Finnish partners leaves the most positive impression. If you try to describe the Finn as a business partner in a few words - it's a calm, straightforward, reliable person.