Albania Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

Negotiations with Albanian business partners are somewhat different from the style of business negotiations in the Czech Republic and especially from the style of negotiations in Western and Northern Europe. The local specifics are similar to the specifics of other Southern European nations, i.e. greater temperament in dealings, emphasis on personal relationships, a different concept of time and a certain slowness in fulfilling duties.

Addressing

According to allunitconverters, Albania has several chambers of commerce and business associations. Basic information and contacts for possible business partners can be obtained through these institutions. The first contact with the selected partner can be made via email, if the partner does not respond to the email, we recommend alerting him to the email by calling, preferably on a mobile phone. However, if it is the first time to approach an unknown partner without the recommendation of a person close to him, e.g. based on obtaining a contact from a website or database, establishing communication is not always easy.

Business relations in Albania are largely based on the knowledge or recommendation of someone who occupies an important position in the local business and official (political) hierarchy. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the commercial section of the embassy, ​​which can mediate the establishment of business communication with the new partner and positively motivate the partner for subsequent communication with the Czech company.

Business meeting

As the place of the first meeting, it is best to choose the headquarters of the partner, which allows you to get an idea of ​​the technical background and capacities of his company. During this meeting, mutual introduction of the companies will take place and interest in cooperation in the proposed areas will be expressed. The use of business cards is widespread, but representatives of state institutions often do not have them. Giving gifts at the first business meeting is not common. However, if the company’s promotional items (pencils, diaries, etc.) are involved, handing them over together with the company’s catalogs will please the partner.

  • Programingplease: Yearbook 2010 of nation Albania, including population, politics, and abbreviations.

It is advisable to schedule the meeting for ten or eleven o’clock. If the conversation develops in a positive direction, it is likely that the partner will invite us to lunch or dinner.

Albanians often shake hands, not only when introducing themselves, but also when meeting and saying goodbye. Among friends, men and women often kiss on both cheeks, it is often combined with placing a hand on the shoulder. Although Albanians maintain a certain distance from their business partners, an informal and even friendly approach can be observed here as well. Albanians do not differentiate between work role and working hours and their free time. Therefore, work matters are often solved in cafes, even in the evening or on weekends.

For Albanians, what is characteristic of the Balkans applies: acquiring a business partner on the human side, e.g. by pointing out common interests, history, closeness of mentality, etc. It is not out of place to have a conversation with the partner and his close environment (family, friends), but always with courtesy and a sense of privacy. If this part of the negotiation is handled well, the technical and business parts of the negotiation go much easier.

When closing a deal, it is essential to be prepared to provide a discount. The Albanians will conduct the negotiations in the spirit of win-win tactics, and if they are in the position of the buyer, they must feel that they have been successful in the negotiations. In any case, we recommend giving your partner time to build trust and not rushing the deal.

Non-verbal communication is different in the case of expressing agreement and disagreement. Shaking your head from side to side is not the “no” we are used to, but rather “yes”. Shaking the head from side to side is used during a conversation to express not only agreement with what the other person is saying, but also to indicate that the addressee is listening. On the contrary, the gesture for “no” is a slight raising of the eyebrows, sometimes accompanied by a slight clicking of the tongue.

Religious differences do not greatly affect business relations, as most Albanian Muslims do not practice religion.

Punctuality is not a strong point of Albanians, but they will expect it from us. Business negotiations will often take longer than we expected and contain a lot of information that is not essential for us. Albanians like to brag about the success of their company, which is why it is advisable to listen to your partner with patience.

Albanians are very temperamental and often get carried away by emotions when dealing. This is also due to the fact that they consider business matters to be part of their family life, which is very important to them. Raising your voice during meetings and passionate outbursts are therefore common. It is recommended, however, to keep calm and not get carried away.

Central and especially southern Albania are traditional trade areas, people here are more open, communicative and business-savvy. This is also true for most traders from the south. The exception is the city of Shodra in the north of Albania, where trade, especially with Italy, was and is at a very high level. In general, it can be said that people from the north of the country, especially from mountainous areas, are more closed and dealing with them is more difficult. This is due to the historical closure of these hard-to-reach areas from the outside world.

No alcohol is offered during the meeting, only coffee, water and cookies. In the case of a successful conclusion of the negotiations, alcohol is usually offered to celebrate the start of cooperation and its possible success. If our partner invites us to a meeting connected with lunch or dinner, drinking alcohol in reasonable quantities is common. Although the drinking of rakija is widespread in Albania, successful businessmen consider it a drink of the poorer classes and prefer to drink cognac, whiskey, champagne or good wine.

In the case of meetings at public institutions, casual clothing is appropriate, in the case of B2B meetings, less formal clothing is also possible.

Albanian negotiating teams will be composed mostly of men and, if we are discussing important issues, they will be led by the business owner. The negotiation team usually does not exceed the number of 3 people, but if it is a complex negotiation with technical aspects, it can contain even 5 people. If our negotiating team is mixed and women are represented in it, it can also be a certain advantage, as the male counterpart will be more positive in the negotiations.

There is considerable centralization of authority in Albanian authorities and in companies. Therefore, even the representative of the Czech company should be equipped with the appropriate powers, e.g. to grant a discount. Establishing personal contacts at the level of company management is always a great advantage for the subsequent development of a business relationship.

An invitation to the family after a business meeting is not common. However, it can occur if the business relationship has been going on for a long time, i.e. for several years. A visitor to the family should shake hands with the host at the door and shake hands with everyone present inside, starting with the oldest. It is customary, especially in Muslim families, to take off our shoes and put on the plastic slippers that the host prepared for us. The guest is first offered coffee with water and a cigarette, often also the local brandy “raki”. The whole family is then introduced, starting with the men. When invited to a family, it is appropriate to bring flowers to the hostess and a bottle of alcohol to the host.

Communication

An interpreter is usually not needed during negotiations, representatives of companies capable of doing business with foreign countries can communicate in English. An interpreter is sometimes useful for meetings at state offices, however, even here there is always a younger official who knows English, who is able to interpret the meeting.

Many Albanians speak several languages. The younger generation speaks English and Italian, the middle and older generations speak Italian and Russian. In the countryside, in the suburbs and in contact with less educated people, it is unfortunately impossible to communicate in any other way than Albanian.

There is generally no communication taboo, but it is advisable to avoid evaluating the political situation. If our opinion is different from the opinion of the partner, it could jeopardize the success of the negotiations. It is also advisable to avoid the topic of the so-called Kanun, i.e. the orally handed down law originating from mountainous regions, which also includes blood feuds. Another inappropriate topic is the evaluation of possible discrimination against women and national minorities.

Personal negotiations are irreplaceable in Albania, as gaining the trust of the partner is crucial for the success of the business. In the initial phase of communication, it is good to use both email and telephone. If we agree on something over the phone, it is important to have everything confirmed by email. When the partner does this, it will be evidence of his continued interest and the positive development of the business relationship.

Recommendation

Entrepreneurs planning to travel to Albania are strongly advised to learn some basic words and short phrases in Albanian. Even with this very little knowledge of the language, one can facilitate the initial meeting and please the local partner, e.g. with the phrase “Mirdita, si jeni”? (Hello how are you?). Albanians will also be pleased with at least a general knowledge of the local history and natural beauty of the country, which they are very proud of. Albanians feel intrinsically part of Europe and the Western world, and therefore will greatly appreciate expressions of admiration for the progress the country has made on its way to the European Union.

During negotiations, it is necessary to be calm and patient, even in the case of a higher temperament of our partner. It is good not to give in immediately after the first pressure to reduce the price, to be principled and insist on your point. However, it is good to have any discounts in advance and tie their provision to “painless” concessions on the part of the partner. In this way, the partner will not feel that we tried to offer him a higher price than usual.

In order to gain a business partner also from a human point of view, it is good to try to establish a friendship during a joint business lunch or dinner. We can also invite our partner to a good restaurant ourselves, if it is appropriate and the partner does not invite us himself. This particularly applies to public sector officials.

Before organizing a trip, it is useful to contact the commercial section of the embassy, ​​which can provide information about the partner from the local business register and inquire about it at chambers of commerce and business associations.

Public Holidays

Public holidays in 2022

  • January 1 and 2 – New Year’s Day (January 3 and 4 – replacement holiday for the New Year – Monday, Tuesday)
  • March 14 – Summer Day
  • March 22 – Nevruz day
  • 17.-18. April – Easter (Catholic), public holiday on April 17 only *
  • 23-25 April – Easter (Orthodox), public holiday only on April 24 *
  • May 1 – Labor Day (replacement day off May 2 – Monday)
  • May 3 – Id al-Fitr *
  • July 10 – Eid al-Adha *
  • September 5 – Mother Teresa’s Beatification Day
  • November 28 – Flag and Independence Day
  • November 29 – Liberation Day
  • December 8 – National Youth Day
  • December 25 – Christmas (replacement day off December 26 – Monday)

*date changes every year according to the lunar calendar

Note: if a national holiday falls on a weekend, the following working day is free.

Usual working hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00-16:30, Friday 8:00-14:00. Banks are open from 8:30am to 3:30pm and most shops from 9:00am to 8:00-10:00pm. Individual shops set their opening hours individually according to the subject of sale. Retail stores are often open all day on Saturdays and Sundays. Private companies also work on Saturdays, except for banks.

Albania Culture of Business