Interview with Larissa Kirsch
Larissa Kirsch has known Central Asia since childhood. In the interview, she talks about the particularities of the business culture there.
“I’m always amazed at the rapid development of these countries and I’m extremely happy with what we can do.”
Larissa Kirsch, Area Sales Manager at Schrack Seconet.
fire&care — What’s different about project planning and implementation in Central Asia than in Europe?
Larissa Kirsch — As in other regions, our projects in Central Asia are often planned several years in advance, but often things need to move really fast, and a solution must be ready yesterday ... I can remember one project where up to 28 planes landed on the site every day to deliver building materials. With such tight deadlines, there is a huge responsibility for completing projects on time. So, we too had to mobilise all our resources to finish the fire protection – finally we did it in time.
fire&care — What’s the business etiquette in Central Asia?
Larissa Kirsch — It’s important to maintain friendly relations. You won’t be successful if you only think about business. The right balance between business and communication skills is the key to success – it’s often a fine line. Another issue is clothing: Business casual or even casual are not considered appropriate at a high-level meeting in Central Asia, for example. Formal dress is important – a blouse and nice shoes are called for. This shows respect for the people you are meeting.
fire&care — What are the particular challenges of market development in Central Asia?
Larissa Kirsch — The climatic differences are difficult at first – the winters are really cold and the summers are scorching. Moreover, the distances and time differences are huge. From a logistical point of view, the foreign trade missions of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber were really important for our market development. They allowed us to save a lot of time. We were able to visit lots of cities and maximize our contacts. Because of that, I can only recommend the trade missions for entering the market in Central Asia.
fire&care — How was the market set up in concrete terms?
Larissa Kirsch — In the beginning, we actively researched projects ourselves and brought them to the attention of our partners. We’ve worked hand in hand to develop the market – the highly qualified, local companies on the ground are crucial. Without them, the dozens of projects that we’ve successfully realised in the meantime wouldn’t have been possible.