Doing Business with Estonia


PaulSourcing: Ten Commandments for Doing Business with Estonia

The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with Estonia for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with Estonia. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips for trade with the Baltics.

4 recommendations for entering the Baltic market during the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Market research Before starting intensive market penetration activities in the Baltic region, the differences between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia should be taken into account, which may affect the success of market entry. These are linguistic, cultural, but above all socio-economic differences, which reflect the different economic level of individual countries, as well as the price level and purchasing power of the population. The coronavirus experience may affect business processes and the needs of local firms, but representatives of these companies will find it difficult to change their way of business communication. The team of PaulSourcing’s foreign office in the Baltics (ZK Pobaltí) will inform you about the specifics of business negotiations with Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and the Russian-speaking population living in the region.
  2. Finding a business partner The differences between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia go hand in hand with the need to find a suitable business partner in each country separately. Only big players on the market, with branches in the individual Baltic states, can provide high-quality service to the entire region. Free databases (own for each country) provide a limited amount of information, a comprehensive search for suitable business partners requires the use of keywords in local national languages ​​(possibly in Russian). Estonian company websites in particular have a different language mutation than Estonian rather exceptionally. Searching for potential business partners, finding out their turnover and approaching contact persons from these companies also belong to the activities of ZK Pobaltí.
  3. Personal meetings In order to establish a long-term business partnership, personal (and repeated) meetings with representatives of local companies are often necessary. In the Baltics, you don’t do business with a company, but with a person. ZK Pobaltí monitors the current restrictions for business trips to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for you and regularly updates the situation on the website.
  4. New investment opportunities The Baltic states have announced significant investments in infrastructure and municipal projects as part of supporting their economies in the post-coronavirus era. ZK Pobaltí will publish information about these projects, announced tenders and opportunities for Czech exporters on its website.

Ten Commandments for Doing Business with Estonia

  1. Don’t underestimate Estonia Don’t underestimate the development Estonia has achieved.
  2. Be prepared to compete with Scandinavian traders Prepare to be compared with Scandinavian competitors. Estonia itself is considered to be southern Scandinavia rather than a Baltic country.
  3. Show that there are also good conditions for business elsewhere in Europe Before joining the European Union, Estonians participated in joint Baltic projects, but in recent years they tend to emphasize their differences.
  4. Be aware of the difference between Estonia and the other Baltic states. Estonians have a different mentality, lifestyle and language affiliation. Estonian belongs to the Finno-Ugric group, and Lithuanian and Latvian belong to the Baltic group of languages.
  5. Expect a good work ethic Estonians are hardworking, the government is lean, relatively flexible and transparent.
  6. Don’t be taken aback by the straightforward approach Don’t be intimidated by Estonian straightforward communication, which can seem harsh and dismissive. Estonians are just not used to small talk.
  7. Prepare thoroughly for the meeting Always be carefully prepared for the meeting and act assertively without a shadow of a doubt.
  8. Practice both English and Russian Start business negotiations in English, although you often switch to Russian later anyway. Some official documents exist only in Estonian.
  9. What’s on paper is true Pay close attention to written documents, contracts and agreed terms. In Estonia more than anywhere else, “what is written is given”.
  10. You will use Estonian Estonian society is highly digitized and open with various “smart solutions”, yet you will find many websites only in the Estonian language mutation.


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