Close

Your best business development ideas in Hungary

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Hungary is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Hungary? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.
Priscilla

I wouldn't know otherwise I would work as a business consultant and make some money myself on the side.
We have owned several businesses in the US and some paid the bills and others were losers.
All took a investment to start and some we lost on or barely broke even.
I figure if I didn't have a business mind in my own backyard, how can I expect success in a strange land without the know how or the skills, even just having Hungarian street smarts  is  a major obstacle.
Besides If anyone has a great idea they probably shouldn't be advertising it here and give it away. Dog eat dog and all.
We once had a import/export business between the US and HU, this was in 89-90.
Some of the shops we sold to are still in business and others are long gone. It was very hard to collect payment for goods. Everyone wanted what we had to sell but no one wanted to pay up in the end.
Had several HU/US investors, my husband ran the whole thing traveling every couple of months from Ca. to HU.
Had all the proper papers between each country etc. Did the invoices,kept perfect books detailing every expense to show the investors. Hard with little return in the end.
He was never in business school but did a great job in every way with study and a good mind, that is often not enough to find success though.
In the US over the years we owned and operated 3 machine shops, one beauty salon and one carpet cleaning business in which we hired several Hungarians to do the work, bought trucks and equipment husband also was working in the field, overseeing operations.He was hands on, did jobs himself, I answered phones and make appointments with clients. Had very expensive advertising and still had issues. Many workers were sloppy, did damages inside homes, wasted product or stole cleaning material, pricey professional products.
Had business partners who on paper clocked into work but actually didn't produce, only took.
One should only do business with people they can trust, that may be the hardest part of opening any business.

Priscilla :

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Hungary?

Any goods or services that you can export.

Priscilla :

What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

For an expat, very few. First, there is the language barrier. Second, there is a lot of cronyism here, so you have to "know a guy" to get a lot done, and this makes "new" ideas difficult to implement locally. And very little local development happens here now without a grant. And you can imagine who gets most of the grants.

Priscilla :

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Hate to say this, but any business that includes a Hungarian partner. Not just my personal experience, but a view also experienced from other expats I know. Which of course also clarifies a bit my second answer above.

And this is not just for Expats. Most successful Hungarian businesses I know are family businesses, with no non family partners (or at least no people they have not known for decades). A rule of thumb is to avoid collaborating with "outsiders" in business here except at a distance.

My words exactly, Hungarians in general do not make good partners.
Even some people we had business with we had known for decades and helped over the years with everything from finding them jobs to helping them move across the US.
Even family can do one over on you, when we had some or our import goods stored in a family home, they sort of thought it was Christmas time, helped themselves to goods without asking first.

I would echo all of those sentiments. 

Mrs Fluffy herself, a Hungarian national,  has noted that she would never go into business with anyone here and moreover, no-one in the family except absolute close blood relations, like siblings. 

We know from experience and anecdotally anything as "simple" as joint ownership of a property is a recipe for disaster.  The stupid squabbling is ridiculous and the more people  there are involved the more chaotic and irrational it all becomes. 

Mrs Fluffy has joint ownership on a couple of pieces of property - including one in Balaton - but the numbers of others involved has increased over the years to the point where the parties are split into two factions - the "changers" and the "stick in the muds".  The "changers" want to modernise but the "stick in the muds" impose so many conditions, nothing moves forward.   

I've seen all this in action for years and we've just about wrung our hands of it. Heaven help anyone doing this sort of thing outside of the family where people can just be utterly intransigent.

Mrs Fluffy now advises that there's no point in trying to win them over (as they are irrational) and we'd be better of getting our own Balaton property we can do anything with.

My mother sold her house before she died, she new it was a recipe  for disaster with 6 kids fighting over this or that.
She actually cut a cashiers check with the money she wanted for us to share, it had all 6 names on it,all but one of us went to the bank together just to get it cashed out.
One sister lived out of state and wanted us to mail her her share. One sister promised to mail it, said she wanted and expected to be seen as honest and would mail it out to the other sis ASAP.
Years later when we talked about it we found out she only got about half of what they rest of us got.
Seems one sister double dipped.

fluffy2560 :

The stupid squabbling is ridiculous and the more people  there are involved the more chaotic and irrational it all becomes.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

― Sun Tzu


Two squabbling siblings. Each owned adjacent properties. Each property too small to build on. Refused to sell to each other, or combine the properties so it could be built on, for fear the "other" would benefit more.

So I quietly bought them both out. The combined property is now worth more than I paid for each.  ;)

My step-father never wanted the house sold, thought it would be a safe haven for all of us if anyone every was down on their luck.
My mom knew her kids allot better then he did.
She sold out about a year before she passed.
She knew we never would get along well enough to share a small house and some of my siblings seemed to always be down on their luck.
I did feel a bit bad for my eldest sister when I found out the other sis had taken about half of her money from the cashiers check.
At the bank she made a big deal of it to me, saying doesn't anyone trust me, tears in her innocent eyes and all.
What could I do, start WW3 in the bank.besides the eldest didn't bother coming to the funeral so tough luck.
I think the one sis had a great time for a short while, fixed up her little red sports car, went dinning out and for sure must of bought herself a 8 ball of coke. So 80's so LA.

klsallee :

....
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

― Sun Tzu


Two squabbling siblings. Each owned adjacent properties. .....So I quietly bought them both out. The combined property is now worth more than I paid for each.  ;)

Oh, if only. Mrs Fluffy and I discussed stabbing the "stick in the muds" in the back but it was simply too stupid for words for a postage stamp bit of land with a rickety old (and barely habitable) house on it.

My mom was a child of the depression years so she was frugal and always had a plan in an emergency.
What surprised us a bit was in her last year she spent like a mad women, sort of glad she did however  as long as it was on herself.My 3rd step-dad who never had a claim on her house also spent like a madman.
More then $120,000 gone in a year and she was living in a RV in N. Cal and not eating much those last months. This was 25 or more years ago when that was real money too.
Think he had become the "Man" at his local bar, buying rounds of drinks to make bar buddies.
My 1st. step-dad must of been rolling in his grave.

fluffy2560 :

was simply too stupid for words for a postage stamp bit of land with a rickety old (and barely habitable) house on it.

Reminds me of the saying:

Academic Politics Is So Vicious Because the Stakes Are So Small

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Hungary

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Hungary

Moving to Hungary

Find tips from professionals about moving to Hungary

Travel insurance in Hungary

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Hungary

Flights to Hungary

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Hungary