Doing Business in Turkey and the Middle East

CHICAGO — A panel of business leaders and Baker & McKenzie partners shared insights this afternoon on the risks and opportunities related to doing business in Turkey and the Middle East.

Some key takeaways:

  • In-bound business activity into Turkey was estimated at $3.7 billion in 2014, and is expected to grow significantly in 2015.
  • The feature of Middle East markets is that often the economies are run by a small group of well-connected and wealthy families.
  • When you buy a business in Turkey, make sure it has certain distance to government.
  • It’s generally easier to enter the market in the United Arab Emirates, as they are making efforts to attract foreign investment.
  • Turkey has many highly-trained engineers doing interesting work in Turkey, and that can be a big opportunity.

Overcoming Third-Party Risk Globally

CHICAGO — At our session this afternoon examining third party risks,  a panel of Baker & McKenzie partners shared insights on overcoming third-party risks related to corruption, supply chain and commercial issues.

Some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • The anti-corruption enforcement surge that began a decade ago is still ongoing and shows no sign of abating.
  • The definition of “third party” is broader than you may think – it includes channel partners, dealers, re-sellers, distributors, as well as vendors who act on a company’s behalf.
  • A recent study found 31 percent of US/UK companies do not consider corruption issues when conducting transactional due diligence.
  • On commercial supply chain risks, many companies are still content to do business with purchase orders rather than contracts or agreements. There are risks associated with doing business that way.
  • In a recent report by the University of Tennessee on managing risks in the supply chain, supply chain managers were asked to list their top supply chain risks. The top three answers were: Quality Issues, Increased Inventory Handling, and Natural Disasters — none of which are really legal issues. But the legal risks should likely be closer to top of mind in managers’ minds.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage

CHICAGO — Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor-at-Large of Fortune Magazine, provided keynote remarks to a full room of business leaders at our Doing Business Globally program this morning.

Mr. Colvin discussed corporate culture, competition, and how companies can position themselves to gain a competitive advantage.

Geoff Colvin delivers keynote remarks at Doing Business Globally.

Geoff Colvin delivers keynote remarks at Doing Business Globally.

Some key takeaways:

  • Corporate culture is highly important. What is corporate culture? It’s what people do when no one is telling them what to do.
  • We are in an era where it is increasingly difficult for businesses of all types to gain a competitive advantage that is sustainable.
  • High performing businesses do the following  — they innovate their business model, they integrate the elements of their business to create a fabulous customer experience, and they build new high-value skills.
  • What are those high-value skills? They are changing, and not what they used to be, Mr. Colvin said. They are the skills of deep human interaction – empathy and solving problems creatively.
  • For example, software engineers need to be empathetic so they can feel the experience that the user of their software is having, and they need to be collaborative, because the complex problems they often face can only be solved by a team.
  • Companies that do these three things will be out of the mainstream. It takes courage to do them, but if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re not going to be an outstanding performer, Mr. Colvin said.

Learn more about Mr. Colvin.