Doing Business In Poland

  1. Poland is ranked 55th out of 185 economies in Doing Business 2013, recording a 19 point improvement compared to last year. This reflects a 54 point jump in the Resolving Insolvency indicator and a 28 point improvement in the Enforcing Contracts indicator.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2009), the three top obstacles to running a business in Poland to be Tax Rates, Inadequately Educated Workforce and Practices of the Informal Sector.
  3. According to the latest World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Report (2010), Poland ranks near the 80th percentile for the Voice and Accountability and Political Stability indicators. For the indicators of Government Effectiveness, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption, Poland ranks near the 70th percentile. For Regulatory Quality, Poland ranks near the 80th percentile.
  4. Foreign ownership of companies in Poland is limited in 5 of the 33 industry sectors measured by the Investing Across Sectors indicators. In particular, as in other EU countries, Polish laws impose a maximum share of 49% for foreign capital in air transportation companies. In addition, foreign capital participation is limited to 49% in the airport and port operation sectors.
  5. Poland’s economic freedom score is 64.2, making its economy the 64th freest in the 2012 Index. Its score is 0.1 point better than last year, reflecting an improvement in freedom from corruption that is offset by a lower score for government spending. Poland is ranked 29th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the world average.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Business Etiquette

Meeting & Greeting

Polish businesspeople initially take a formal approach to business. This may come across as quite distanced but is not the intention. You may also notice differences in style between government officials who maintain formality and entrepreneurs who willingly dispense with formality. It is best to let your colleagues determine the level of formality used. General tips include: 
. Shake hands with everyone upon arriving and leaving.
. Handshakes are quite firm and eye contact is valued. 
. Wait for a woman to extend her hand. 
. Some older businessmen may kiss a woman's hand upon meeting. Do not imitate this behaviour as it may be seen as you poking fun. 
. Titles are considered prestigious. Academic or professional titles are used with the honorific titles with or without the surname.
. Wait to be invited before moving to first names. You may do business with people for years and not be on a first name basis.
. Business cards are exchanged without formal rituals. 
. Try and have one side of your card translated into Polish. 
. Include advanced university degrees and titles on your business card; qualifications are impressive. 

Communication Styles

. Generally speaking, Poles judge others by their personal qualities. They therefore like to spend time getting to know people as individuals. This allows them to size people up.
. Honesty is highly valued in Poland since trust is the cornerstone of business relationships. Building personal relationships is essential for successful business dealings, especially if you are looking for a long-term business relationship.
. Poles are known for being direct communicators, i.e. they say what they are thinking. However they are also very sensitive to other’s feelings and let that determine how and what they say.
. While direct communication is valued in Poland, there is also emphasis on finessing what is said in order to deliver information in a diplomatic way. 
. The level of the relationship mostly determines how direct someone can be.
. For newly established and more formal relationships, a great deal of emphasis is placed on diplomacy. Once a relationship has passed through the initial phases, people feel more comfortable speaking frankly with each other and animated exchanges become more common. 

Business Meetings

. The most senior Pole generally opens the meeting and sets the groundwork for what is to be discussed.

. He may also verbally offer a recommended agenda for the discussions.
. Small talk is the norm at the start of meetings; do not rush proceedings as this is part of the relationship building process.
. The first few meetings may in fact seem to be more small talk than business discussions. If this is the case it means that your Polish colleagues are still sizing you up and have not yet made up their minds. 
. You may want to consider this as an opportunity to get more personal and try and form that relationship.
. Lunch and dinner meetings are often used to further the personal relationship.
. Meetings tend to be relatively relaxed once the personal relationship has been established. 
. Hard facts are important so participants come well-prepared with facts and figures to back up their statements. Foreigners would be expected to do the same.
. Business decision-making processes tend to have a hierarchical basis, and therefore many decisions will be taken at the top echelons of the company. 
. Final decisions are translated into rigorous, comprehensive action steps that you can expect will be carried out to the letter. 

General Business Hours

Consider the following as a rough guide only; hours can vary considerably from shop to shop (or office to office) and from the city to the village.
Most grocery shops open from 7am or 8am to 6pm or 7pm on weekdays and to around 2pm on Saturday. Delicatessens and supermarkets usually stay open longer, until 8pm or 9pm (and are often open on Sunday from 9am to 7pm), and there’s at least one food shop in every major town and every district of the city that opens for 24 hours. Shops normally open at 10am and close at 6pm (at 2pm or 3pm on Saturday). The office working day is theoretically eight hours long, Monday to Friday, and there’s usually no lunch break.
In the larger towns and cities, banks keep their doors open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday, and in smaller hamlets from 9am to around 4.30pm weekdays only.
Larger city post offices are normally open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and 8am to 1pm Saturday, and one will usually stay open 24 hours. In smaller localities, business hours may only be until 4pm weekdays.
Restaurants tend to open between 11am and 11pm, while opening hours for bars vary greatly; it is, however, a given that most stay open well after midnight on Friday and Saturday.
There are no standard opening hours for museums and other attractions. Most museums are closed on Monday; some of them also stay closed on the day following a public holiday. Many museums close one or two hours earlier in the low season, and usually stop selling tickets half an hour (sometimes even one hour) before their official closing time.
Churches are a bigger puzzle. The major churches in the main cities are often open all day long. On the other hand, rural churches in small villages will almost always be locked except during Mass, which may be only on Sunday morning.