Doing Business In Slovenia

  1. Slovenia is ranked 35th out of 185 economies in Doing Business 2013 report, remaining unchanged from last year’s ranking. Slovenia improved significantly in the Paying Taxes indicator, jumping 17 spots. However, this increase was offset by decreases in six other indicators.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2009), the top 3 obstacles to running a business include Tax Rates, Access to Finance and Practices of the Informal Sector. Despite naming Access to Finance as an obstacle, 71.2% of firms report having a loan or line of credit from a financial institution, significantly higher than the 43.7% reported for the region.
  3. According to the latest World Bank’s Worldwide Report (2011), Slovenia ranks around the75th percentile for all Worldwide Governance Indicators
  4. Slovenia’s economic freedom score is 61.7, making its economy the 76th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score has decreased by 1.2 points since last year, with declines in half of the 10 economic freedoms, including substantial drops in scores for government spending and freedom from corruption. Slovenia is ranked 34th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is still above the world average.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Virtually everyone entering Slovenia must have a valid passport, although citizens of the EU as well as Switzerland need only produce their national identity card on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. It’s a good idea to carry your passport or other identification at all times.
Citizens of virtually all European countries as well as Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA do not require visas to visit Slovenia for stays of up to 90 days. Those who do require visas (including South Africans) can get them at any Slovenian embassy or consulate for up to 90 days. They cost €35 regardless of the type or length of validity. You’ll need confirmation of a hotel booking plus one photo and may have to show a return or onward ticket.
Your hotel, hostel, camping ground or private room arranged through an agency will register your name and address with the municipal občina (government) office as required by law. That’s why they have to take your passport away – at least for the first night. If you are staying elsewhere (eg with relatives or friends), your host is supposed to take care of this for you within three days.
If you want to stay in Slovenia longer than three months, you will have to apply for a Schengen area extension - be aware that since joining the Schengen area, requirements for travel have increased and it is no longer as simple as stepping outside the country and back in again - check with your local government authority to determine how stringent these requirements are for individuals of your nationality. The alternative is to apply for a temporary residence permit at the Foreigners Office (Urad za Tujce; 01-306 30 00; Proletarska ulica 1; 8am-3pm Mon, 8am-5pm Wed, 8am-1pm Fri) in Moste, northeast of Center in Ljubljana.
Contact any Slovenian embassy, consulate or tourist office abroad for any recent changes in the above regulations or check the website of the Foreign Ministry (

Business Etiquette

Meeting people

  • Slovenians are somewhat reserved and may not initially appear friendly to people from informal cultures.
  • This reserve disappears rapidly once they a relationship is built.
  • Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings. It is customary to shake hands with women first.
  • Handshakes should be firm and confident.
  • Maintain direct eye contact during the greeting.
  • Professional or academic titles are commonly used with the surname as they denote personal achievement.
  • If someone does not have a professional or academic title, use the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam) or “Gospod” (Sir) with the surname.
  • There is an emerging trend to move quickly to the use of first names. However, it is a good idea to wait until your Slovenian colleague recommends using his/her first name.
  • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual after introductions.
  • It is a nice touch to have one side of your card translated into Slovenian.


Communication Style

Slovenians are egalitarian, yet interestingly their natural communication style tends to be indirect. However, at the same time their polycentricity means they are willing to adapt their communication style to the person with whom they are conversing.

They prefer to communicate indirectly with people whom they do not know well. This can be demonstrated by offering vague, roundabout, or non-committed explanations rather than offer a negative response. They tend to prefer non-confrontational business dealings when possible. This means that even when giving a straightforward response, they will generally proceed cautiously rather than hurt another person’s feelings.

Business decisions are often based on personal sentiments about the other person. Therefore, it is a good idea to spend time in relationship building.

Slovenians admire modesty and humility in business associates. They dislike people who boast about their accomplishments and achievements.

Slovenians are naturally soft-spoken and do not raise their voices when conversing. They are also polite, courteous, and respectful of others. They do not interrupt a speaker, preferring to wait for their turn to enter the conversation. They are very tolerant of differences and view it as rude behaviour to publicly criticize or complain about people.

Although Slovenians have a good sense of humour, they do not always understand self-deprecating humour. Be cautious when teasing others, as such behaviour may be interpreted as putting them down.

Business Meetings

Meetings typically start after a brief period of social chit chat. Make sure this is not rushed as it is all part of the relationship building process. Although not a relationship-driven culture in the classic sense, Slovenes prefer to do business with those they know and trust. When meeting with a company for the first time, this period of social interchange may be somewhat extended so that your Slovene colleagues get the opportunity to learn something about you as a person and make judgments about your character.

Expect your Slovene business colleagues to be somewhat reserved and formal initially. It may take several meetings to establish a sense of rapport and relaxed attitude between people. The Slovene business culture is a mix of German efficiency and Italian gusto for life; however, this second attribute is not always readily apparent. It takes time for Slovenes to shed their reserve, although they generally do, especially after a few glasses of wine.

Business decision-making processes are often based on hierarchy, and many decisions are still reached at the highest echelons of the company. Final decisions tend to be translated into comprehensive action plans that are followed explicitly.

When meeting with peers or in teams, Slovenes’ egalitarianism is apparent. The hierarchy is relatively flat. Although the team leader is considered to be the expert, all members are deemed to have something to contribute. With a culture based on tolerance, disagreements are based on different interpretation of information. Actual decisions may be based more on personal viewpoints than concrete facts.

General Business Hours

With rare exceptions, the delovni čas (opening times) of any concern are posted on the door. Odprto means ‘open’ while zaprto is ‘closed’.


Grocery stores and supermarkets are usually open from 8am to 7pm on weekdays and 8am until 1pm on Saturday. In winter they may close an hour earlier. Some branches of the Mercator supermarket chain open from 8am to 11am on Sunday.


Restaurant hours vary tremendously across the country but essentially are from 10am or 11am to 10pm or 11pm daily. Bars are equally variable but are usually open 11am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and to 1am or 2am on Friday and Saturday.


Bank hours vary, but generally they’re from 8am or 8.30am to 5pm weekdays (often with a lunchtime break from 12.30pm to 2pm) and (rarely these days) from 8am until noon or 1pm on Saturday. The main post office in any city or town (almost always the ones listed in this book in the Information sections of the individual towns and cities) is open from 8am to 7pm weekdays and 8am until noon or 1pm on Saturday.


Museums are usually open from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday. Winter opening hours may be shorter (or at weekends only) outside the big cities and towns.