I've been in Sweden for 2 weeks now and I've grown accustom to the major differences, and now I'm starting to notice the smaller differences between cultures.
People don't really tip here.
There are barely any stop signs.
People drink a LOT of coffee here, and I don't see alot of people drinking milk.
My host family likes viking metal rock music. I am just going to assume that everyone likes viking metal rock music.
There are a lot of hatchback cars here, not many trucks. The US has a ton of trucks and SUVS, Italy has a ton of hatchbacks and smartcars, and china is full of minivans and sedans.
Food from the USA is expensive here (like Burger King and Pizza Hut).
Credit cards are not swiped, they are inserted and held in the machine while the user types away at the pad. I have not seen a single credit card swiped, even though they still have the magnetic strip for swiping.
Subways and trollies work the same way that they do in Italy, and the trains are just as inconsistent. In Italy, I faced a train strike that held us in Cinque Terre all day long, in Stockholm, I faced a snowstorm that cancelled all the trains. We were lucky in that we took what was seemingly the only train out of the town.
Stockholm is an awesome city for business because it is so large, easy to get to by train, plane, bus, boat, etc., and you can find virtually any business there already.
I saw many established businesses as well as small businesses that look like they get by from day to day and I want to lay down some standards that I think are key for any business to be successful and grow:
- Product Quality is key. Sell the best of what you are trying to sell.
Customer Service is important to get customers to come back time after time. The customer service at the train station was awful, but given that it was the cheapest option (and the only train option), we had to use it. But if other methods of transportation could drop their prices and maintain a higher level of kindness, I would opt for that option.
Design, Originality, and consistency are important for branding. That is something that will distinguish a business from competitors and leave an lasting impression on consumers