Doing business in Malta… how?

Do you want to discover how to start a business in Malta? This article is for you!

Malta, what’s and why?

 

“If you make the wrong step in Malta…you’re dead!”.

This is the first thing the Director of one of the most important international entrepreneurship organisations in Malta tells their new members when they join the organisation and come to Malta to do business.
Indeed, coming to Malta from continental Europe (and not only), you suddenly realize that you have to look at your right while crossing the street otherwise… you’re dead! This is in life… and the same is in business.

If you heard someone speaking in Maltese you will find yourself wondering… am I hearing Italian words? Or English words? No, wait… some sounds remember me Arabic words… or is it a Sicilian dialect? What’s this language? What’s this tiny beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea?

Strategic position and beautiful weather. Malta is a peculiar Mediterranean country, an interesting mix of Arab, British, Italian culture and much more.

And this is why you should invest in yourself and be prepared. Malta is probably not like your country and neither like any other countries you are used to. There are many differences you want to be aware of if you don’t want to fail!

Malta is a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, but it is nowadays one of the most international and diverse place in Europe,

The most surprising country of the world

 

as the famous vlogger and entrepreneur Nuseir Yassin (Nas Daily) called it in one of his videos, so surprising that he decided to close in Malta his 1000-days journey around the world.

Malta is indeed a very special place. It is a world of its own not only because of its history, language and culture or because of the tourists and the students coming all the year round for studying English. But also because of the many international companies which have now decided to make Malta their European/MENA hub.
This is why it is extremely difficult to decode the Maltese people and this is why even some of my Maltese clients ask me to help them to understand their own fellow co-nationals.
And this is also why it is extremely important to be cultural aware and develop what is called cultural intelligence.

It is not only about do’s and don’t’s, it is much more than that. It is understanding the why, it is developing a Global Mindset.

The wrong steps

 

“When we did the first inauguration of our boutique in Sliema we organised it on a Sunday evening. It worked in Italy, we have always done that, Sunday late afternoon/evening is the best time for a grand opening. But here nobody showed up and nobody stopped to take a drink and it was offered for free! We were wondering what mistake we made…”

Doing the official inauguration of a new business on a Sunday? Only if you have built personal relationships with your Maltese clients, if they consider you as part of the family. Sunday in Malta is the day dedicated to the family and the society is extremely based on family ties. Due to the islands’ tiny size, Malta’s business-world is fairly tight-knit.

For this reason, coming and investing in Malta without building relationships and involving the locals in the business, it is not a winning strategy. You will probably fail even if the idea is extremely good.

Sunday is not only the day of the family, but it is also the day dedicated to religion and, especially in summer, to the feasts. Also in this case, it is not only religion but the feasts play a role in reinforcing community ties. It is celebrating not only the saint but the community in itself and their pride in being part of it.

The community dimension influences businesses, the work environment is more human and friendly, especially in the smaller companies and

trust is based on personal relationships and connections.

How to be prepared?

 

So how can you prepare yourself avoiding cultural shock and doing business successfully in Malta?

Nowadays, you have to consider more and more culture(s) as a part of your business strategy.

The more you are cultural aware the more you will be able to understand what is going on in front of you managing it at your advantage.

Be prepared with training and consultancy programmes can help you and your company to identify critical aspects to be considered when starting a new business in Malta and potential issues and clashes with the local culture.

Also, a cultural relocation support programme can help employees and their families to relocate to Malta and to avoid cultural shock.

A pre-departure orientation session can be extremely important in providing information about life in Malta. It is important to be able to prevent challenges and avoid an investment in time and money if the employee recognises that he/she will not fit in the new country.

This summer I was called too late for a cultural orientation programme. This because a group of foreign students, coming from a big city in South-East Asia to Malta for a summer internship, already hated everything about the island.  They found it too small, too crowded, too hot and too expensive. Nothing worked for them.

Sometimes are the little things that make a big difference. Being prepared on what to expect before coming could have avoided them a cultural shock helping them to enjoy their experience in our beautiful island.

If you want to know more about our cultural awareness training and our relocation and internationalisation programmes have a look at this page or get in touch: viviana@gmdmalta.com