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Business in Montenegro


Montenegrians prefer to do business with people who are down-to-earth and do not brag about their accomplishments or financial achievements.

They pride themselves on using proper etiquette in all situations and expect others to do the same.

When in doubt, start out in a formal style and allow your business colleagues to progress the relationship to a more personal level.
As long as you are considered an outsider (someone who is not family or a friend), you will be treated with utmost formality.

Once your Montenegrian colleagues get to know you, they will think of you as an insider, which lets them treat you more informally.
This is not a process that can be rushed.

Once a relationship has been developed, it is with you personally, not necessarily to the company you represent. Therefore, if you leave the company, your replacement will need to build their own relationship. If at all possible in this situation, introduce your replacement to those with whom you do business.

Business Meeting Etiquette

In general, the code of business conduct is similar in Serbia and Montenegro to that in the rest of Europe and the USA. A handshake at the beginning and end of a meeting is the accepted custom. Care should be taken to shake the hand of everyone present at the meeting. In the presence of a woman, her hand should be shaken before shaking hands with men.

The accepted form of dress for a business meeting in Serbia and Montenegro is a formal suit for men and women are recommended to dress fashionably but not loudly.

It is very important at a business meeting to indicate your colleague's title first and then his surname. Use of first names is intended only for private meetings, after a personal relationship has been established.
If you are invited to your colleague's home in Serbia and Montenegro, it is customary to bring a small gift, such as a selected wine, a box of chocolates, etc. Most business people in Serbia and Montenegro have a good command of English.

Because of the ethnic tension that exists in Serbia and Montenegro, it is advisable to follow the media, in particular in all that concerns Kosovo.
It is worth knowing that there are extremely severe penalties in all that concerns drug offences. It is also forbidden to photograph military and police installations in Serbia and Montenegro.

You are recommended to avoid making business appointments for the months of July and August as well as around the dates of national holidays in Serbia and Montenegro.

Negotiating

Business is hierarchical. Decision-making power is held at the top of the company. Most decisions require several layers of approval. At times it may appear that no one wants to accept responsibility for making the decision.

It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task.
Montenegrians can be tough negotiators.
Montenegrians are concerned about being taken advantage of by foreigners.

Hire your own interpreters for meetings and negotiations.
Base sales on confirmed, irrevocable letters of credit. Use local banks that are correspondents of western banks.
Montenegrians have a tendency to tell others what they think they want to hear.

Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure sales tactics.
Decisions are easily reversed.
Use an indirect negotiating style. Being too direct is viewed as poor manners.
Contracts function as statements of intent. It is expected that if circumstances change, the contract will accommodate the revised conditions.

Do not change members of a negotiating team before a decision is reached or the relationship-building process will have to begin anew.

Business Card Etiquette:

Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
If your company has been in business for more than 50 years, include the founding date on your business card. Montenegrians are impressed by stability.

Include any advanced university degrees on your card.
Have one side of your business card translated into Montenegrian.