Gladiator Spirit

As an expat, whether you are just starting a new business in Italy, or if you are already a business owner, many of the challenges that you face running a company in Italy day-to-day are the same, and will, in many cases, require what I call gladiator spirit, if you really want to build a thriving business in the land of La Dolce Vita. Here are some important things to think about.

Given that Italy is much different to operate in than other markets, please consider working with a business coach as well as a savvy accountant and lawyer. This is especially advisable when it comes to taxes, so you can sleep much better at night.

Banks are quite conservative in Italy when it comes to lending money, especially if you have no collateral. It is normal in Italy is to get paid after 90–120 days, even if, your invoice clearly states 30 or 60-day payment terms.

Cold calling in Italy to sell your product or service is extremely challenging, as it is very difficult to get through to the decision maker. Having an introduction goes a long way in making inroads.

Hiring employees in Italy can be costly, and given the labor laws, it is challenging to fire someone, that may need to be let go. Therefore, before hiring anyone, think it through, and ask yourself if you really need this person on the payroll, of if the job can be done by a contractor or yourself, especially when you are starting out.

There is a myriad of Italian events, conferences, trade shows, and networking groups in Italy where you can connect with other professionals in Italy. These are much better to attend than expat events.

Build an eye-catching LinkedIn profile — Make sure you have a great photo, optimized headline, and engaging summary. LinkedIn is becoming more and more a go-to resource for HR, buyers, and other professional in Italy. If you would like to work with a great LinkedIn expert, please reach out to Mindi Rosser — she really is the go-to thought leader on LinkedIn.

Learn the Language — This may seem obvious, but without an upper-intermediate / advanced level of Italian, building a business in Italy will be very challenging. Work with an Italian teacher like Simone Serra who specializes in business Italian for foreigners working in Italy.

The rewards are there for those that bring their A-game to Italy and who understand their value — stay clear of online sites that put you on a race to the bottom through pricing. Skilled professionals know their value in the marketplace and so do the people who are lucky enough to avail of their services — Italy is no exception.

Sign Up for A VIP Strategy Hour

A VIP Strategy Hour is custom designed by me to meet the client’s needs and to assist them in catapulting their business in Italy. At the end of our time together, the client will feel energized, and will leave with a clear path to follow in order to reach their business goals. For more details, please feel free to contact me.

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Damien O'Farrell

Global Mobility Specialist and Expat Coach with thirty plus years’ experience in Global Mobility.