Background To Business in Finland
Finland is very much a country of paradoxes. It is Nordic and yet not Scandinavian (its language is totally unrelated to Swedish, Norwegian or Danish). Finland is heavily dependent on traditional industries such as pulp and paper but, at the same time, is at the leading edge in many hi-tech sectors. The people of the country are notoriously limited communicators but very proficient in foreign languages. Finns are very proud of their nation's history and achievements but swift to criticise any perceived national flaws.
These paradoxes are often mirrored in the Finnish approach to business and result in the Finns appearing, in the eyes of many other nationalities, to be an enigma. It can be very difficult to get to know Finnish colleagues well; it can seem impossible to understand the drivers behind business propositions. It is, therefore, extremely important when doing business in Finland to have a good grasp of the cultural background of the Finns. It is definitely true that in Finland a little knowledge can go a long way.
Finnish history is that of triumph over adversity. Triumph over the climate, triumph over more powerful, wealthier neighbours and more latterly triumphs in many international niche markets. This fortitude makes the Finn a very strong and able business person. Do not underestimate the Finns.