Top 5 mistakes in Monaco & How to avoid them



Most of the people dream about success and getting rich, a balanced life without financial difficulties, especially when they see the accomplished residents of the Principality of Monaco. Fame, wealth and respect are all in the air of beautiful Monaco, but can you actually achieve this by your own as well?

“Capitalization of our personal and business potential highly depends on our willingness to learn and improve.” – says Zsolt Szemerszky, Revenue specialist & Author

Present article is written for all those people who have a strong desire to improve the quality of their life and their businesses with the help of the Principality of Monaco and its accomplished residents. During the past seven years Monaco Wealth Management has helped many people to achieve their aims, however we have also observed many people who fail because of their lack of knowledge and/or understanding of the local specialities of the Principality of Monaco. So let’s learn from their mistakes and do things better in order to achieve visible results in Monaco.

To ensure you some role examples we have collected the Top 5 mistakes we repeatedly see from foreign brands coming to Monaco. We have also asked some of the Top experts from Monaco as well as from the UHNWI fields to share their personal views, experiences and to offer their advices in order to fulfil your goals. So let’s see the Top 5 mistakes.

Mistake #1: Monaco is not a “Make a wish foundation” or a get rich program

Monaco has a strong business sector thanks to its internationally accomplished residents. Living in a zero debt, green and superb wealthy country is quite a privilege. It is something which will motivate you as well to create and maintain a living quality for yourself and your beloved ones.

Monaco has the most high net worth individuals in the World, one in three people are millionaires in the country of 37,800 people.

Although exactly this is why some people have the misconception that by simply arriving to Monaco they can become immediately rich by gaining millions of funds from the residents. So for this reason people often bomb residents with countless “investment offers”.

“All that glitters is not gold. However, most never take heed of that advice and expect that the wealth of Monaco is shining bright to be taken advantage of and for most, it never works out as there seems to be a feeling that Monaco is easy-pickings but it is far from that. Like any business plan or any entrepreneurial venture into a new market, planning is essential, choosing the right professional partners, a suitable location for a business or a launch, the correct target market; planning is vital to success. Plan your work then work your plan, it is key and in Monaco, because it is such a small place where news travels fast, you have normally one chance to get it right and so you have to get it right from off-set.” – says Bradley Mitton, founder of Club Vivanova

People in Monaco are smart and they often have earned their wealth with hard work therefore there is no such thing as a “Get rich program” in the Principality. It also often happens that residents just ignore these emails without even taking the energy to reply or consider them. Sending in advance your offers is one of the greatest way to demolish your chances in Monaco.

Out of the Box Innovation by Dodo NewmanOut of the Box Innovation by Dodo Newman, a Presentation extract from the International University of Monaco (

Few year ago Artist, Innovator and Author Dodo Newman held an inspirational lecture for the MBA students of the International University of Monaco where she said that usually many people think that success is a straight line, from one point to the other. Starts from A and it ends up in B. Just straight, logical steps without any break or turns. Newman talked about the fact that many people try to reach their aims with an ideal picture in their mind without understanding the local specialities of a luxury market such as The Principality of Monaco as well.

“Theories are only good and valid if you can really use them.” – Dodo Newman, Artist, Innovator and Author

On the positive side you can meet with influential people and you can learn from them, you can be inspired and you might find the right partners. But partnership in Monaco is like a marriage, it has to be based on mutual respect and appreciation towards the aims of the others.


Be part of the Monaco community, try to get involved with as many events you can and build up the trust step-by-step instead of bombing people with funding requests. Once they will get to know you as a person, they will be much flexible to listen out your visions. Monaco will help you to accomplish your highest ambitions and you will see that Monaco has some world class programs to do that. To be more precise Monaco has more than 700 events in a year.

“The first step is about stopping to find excuses and to focus on what steps we can actually take. An excuse is worse than a mistake because it effects everything around us and drains down all possible solutions. There is always a way, a wrong way ahead is much better than a no way at all anywhere…” – Dodo Newman, Artist, Innovator and Author

And if you still need some guidance you can always contact the Monaco Welcome Office and they will help you to find the right directions.

This was the most common mistake of foreign brands coming to Monaco, so let’s see Mistake #2.

Mistake #2: Never underestimate the value of Monaco’s small and niche community

In a country where there are approximately 37,800 people only, people talk. It is a friendly and closed community whereby 120 nationalities came together creating a platform to unite diverse interests.

“When a company contacts me and asks how many subscribers… I know immediately I am dealing with someone that is not experienced in the elite end of the luxury sector! In Luxury Marketing it is about WHO, not How MANY. One person that can afford your product or service is more valuable than a million that cannot.” – says Lorre White, the Luxury Guru

In this unique business society with high profile people one of the biggest mistake that brands coming to Monaco do is aiming to expect to get everything “discounted”. For instance working for commission is a typical request we receive every day, which gives us the following impression:

  1. the brand has no sufficient funds to live and breath in the Monaco market
  2. the brand has no understanding about dealing with the luxury clientele

Being cheap in mentality but trying to sell for ultrahigh amounts is one of the worse thing you can do in this community. Trust is a very important factor in reaching Monaco’s UHNWI and many years of hard work to gain that trust comes with a price tag.

“If an event, just like any brand, disappoints the expectations of the consumer, the brand decreases in value. Not only does that consumer not return, they will prevent others in their sphere of influence from attending either. If the brand deflates, the event can’t get the quality sponsors, thus they can’t raise as much money to continue to innovate and expand. Thus they can’t attract the VIP attendees, and without the wealthy attending to purchase, they lose the quality level in art shown because of the lack of buyers.” – says Lorre White, the The Luxury Guru


The luxury market is expensive. It is. If you do not have the funds to bear its costs then do not come. If you the right amount of funds, then think about this: One person who can afford your product or service is more valuable than a million who cannot.

“It costs a lot more money to land a whale than it does a minnow.” – says Lorre White, the The Luxury Guru

Mistake #3: Lack of time to build up relationships

It often happen in Monaco that people stay only for a few days and try to do as many meetings as they can. Managing as many meetings as possible during a few days of stay usually causes frustration and pressure.

“Time and trust are the two most important factors in reaching the wealthy. The uber riche have the unique opportunity to experience everything at the best level – not pick and choose what they can afford – and saving time has even a larger incentive. There are two aspects of time: quality and quantity.” – says Lorre White, the Luxury Guru

The concept of “let’s have a coffee and then we close the deal via e-mail” usually never works out with Monaco residents. It is also a kind of disrespectful message that you only need their money.

“If you are not willing to pay for quality in luxury marketing and branding, do not expect others to be willing to pay the premium for your products and services.” – says Lorre White, the Luxury Guru


It is very important to be prepared and focused in a meeting. Respect your companion with a treat that their level of influence requires. Do not invite someone for a quick coffee between three other meetings, instead invite them out for a lunch or a dinner and take the time to make a proper impression of you and your business.

“Club Vivanova offers member partners the chance to break into the local market and promote and market to a selected group of individuals that can help to grow and build brands through targeted marketing and well-planned launches. We have contracts with restaurants, clubs and hotels where we can professionally manage events to provide success in how brands want to showcase themselves in and around the Principality. It all stems from hard work, knowing the right people and building experience and we have a proven track record, we succeed in this.” – says Bradley Mitton, founder of Club Vivanova

Monaco is a very small place and a good impression creates a positive buzz, shortening the road to achieve your personal or business goals. We also highly recommend for companies and business professionals to contact the Monaco Government Tourist Office before they arrive to the Principality since their role is to drive more business (meaning leisure and business tourism) to the Principality. 

“The Monaco Government Tourist Office can introduce businesses to the most appropriate local vendors in Monaco who can help them execute their program.” – says Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco Government Tourist Office

The Monaco Government Tourist Office is not there to represent your product or to raise funds for you, however they can help you to identify the right partners, agencies, hotels, restaurants and meeting locations. They can offer an invaluable help for you to impress your targets and guests in the Principality of Monaco. We also suggest you to discover for your UHNWI meetings the most iconic restaurants of the Principality by reading the Signature Dishes of the Principality of Monaco book. (

Mistake #4: Dealing with the wrong partners

Monaco is a wonderful environment, which is already the base of high quality and glamour. Therefore we always suggest a little bit of background check to avoid “expensive” experiences. It seems everybody lives in Monaco (but actually most of them live in France). It is amazing to see how Monaco attracts the desire of people. The glamour, the extraordinary lifestyle, the wealth and all the related benefits evoke the emotions in people and everyone wants to be part of the luxurious World offered by the Principality of Monaco. It is important to be a little cautious because in Monaco “everyone knows the Prince” and one of the most used sentence is “the Prince is my best friend”. Obviously… The experienced people in Monaco know that there are big differences between event and event.

“Companies considering the Principality of Monaco as a locale for a product launch, board of directors meeting, user conference or motivational trip will find the Monaco Government Tourist Office to be an invaluable source of information.” – says Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco Government Tourist Office

Also there are many similarities between the French and the Monegasque legal systems and a SARL company formation is not necessarily a Monegasque company.

“In the luxury sector, marketing is much more crucial than in the mass market. Luxury startups need substantially larger marketing budgets than mass-market brands. A luxury brand will never be higher than where they launch. That takes more initial capital to enter the luxury market. It is harder to break into the luxury sector than it is the mass market. Everything is more expensive, from the talent to accomplish it, to the media sources that reach this niche. The luxury market is far less forgiving than the mass market that allows failed products relaunch as “new and improved” and slowly work their way toward the top of the mass sector. When I see business plans for startup luxury companies, they almost always have insufficient marketing budgets, because the person who wrote their business plan was used to working with mass-market companies.” – says Lorre White, the The Luxury Guru

April and May are two very interesting months in the Principality because the so-called seasonal advisors start to appear. Many fortune hunters come to Monaco during these months to advice on events, locations, investments and all other money related topics. We call them seasonal advisors because they leave Monaco after a few months.

“It takes more than just pretty pictures to reach the wealthiest demographic. It takes bringing them information that is relative to them by someone that they trust and that is why media sources hire me.” – says Lorre White, the Luxury Guru

Many seasonal advisors are in Monaco in the hope of fast money. They work for extra high fees, sometimes charging even ten times higher than any local business. Since these seasonal folks are pushing their messages in an extremely aggressive way in all kinds of social platforms they are able to catch some small fish.


It is always good to make a little background check whether a business partner really exists or not in the Principality of Monaco. For this you can use sources such as the Chambre de Développement Économique de MonacoDirection Expansion Economique or Monaco Wealth Management. To avoid surprises we also recommend you to read the “Living in Monaco” book by Zsolt Szemerszky, it will be your greatest asset to understand Monaco and its daily breathing. (

Mistake #5: Not involving the local partners

You can find amazing local partners in Monaco to achieve your aims. No matter whether you are seeking for PR, marketing, sales, event organisation, etc. help there are multiple accomplished companies who can be at your service.

“Our role is to help drive tourism to the Principality and to those companies rendering services in this sector therefore we only promote Monegasque companies in this area.” – says Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco Government Tourist Office

Many people believe that they can do the work themselves however they underestimate the value of a local partner. This is a huge and costly mistake.

“In any location, if you’re going to develop business, you have to have a local contact or connections into the market and you need to work with someone or a company that knows how things work. Monaco is like any other location around the world, if not sometimes more special and Monaco is an established hub of international business and. It is impossible just to arrive and set-up shop as so many think they can and they simply fail.” – says Bradley Mitton, founder of Club Vivanova

Local businesses have a rich knowledge of possibilities, often better and discounted prices and more importantly the social capital.

“The attitude “I will spend money on marketing after I have made money,” just will not fly in the true luxury market.” – quote by Lorre White, the Luxury Guru

Yes, the social capital is the highest importance when you come to Monaco, because you need to target the right people. This is why our event partner’s first question is always “Who will invite the guests”?


Having the right local partner next to you can be really costly for the first sight, however it is never as expensive as doing things in an amateur way. Let’s put it this way: Working with a Monaco based PR or marketing partner is costly because it brings you the requested result.

“Everything that brings you result can not be considered expensive. The only thing that you can call expensive are those things that do not bring you any result, like a simple coffee without business order at the end.” – says Zsolt Szemerszky, Revenue specialist & Author

When you are aiming to plan something in Monaco look for result oriented solutions instead of cheap ones.

“Club Vivanova ensures that the right people attend the events we host, bringing international business leaders and local business owners together to build relationships for the member partners we promote whether they be wine brands, financial houses, yacht brokers, marketing and advertising agents, interior designers, art dealers and in fact any business from any sector as we work on bringing the target clientele in that is required. The location and the invited guests are key, the branding of the events are important and most of all the execution of the marketing plan. It all stems down to one maxim that our club lives by; there are two ways of doing something in life, the hard way or the easy way and the hard way is always the right way.” – says Bradley Mitton, founder of Club Vivanova

There are many people who can help you starting from the Monaco Welcome Office to the Monaco Government Tourist Office.

Quoted experts in alphabetical order:

Bradley Mitton . Founder of Club Vivanova

Europe’s culinary and preeminent gourmet wine expert Bradley Mitton offers his unique insight on the fine dining scene of the Principality of Monaco. Providing gourmet wines to many of the finest restaurants in Monaco and the French Riviera and bringing people together through his lifestyle and gourmet club Club Vivanova, Bradley is a respected and established member of the fine dining scene of the Principality.

Cindy Hoddeson . Director, North America Monaco Government Tourist Office

All staff at the Monaco Tourist Office speak English. The role of the Monaco Government Tourist Office North America is to drive more business (meaning leisure and business tourism) to the Principality. In doing so, we they to drive more business to our hotels, restaurants, agencies.

Dodo Newman . Artist, Innovator and Author

Whenever Dodo Newman finds time she likes to share her thoughts and experiences with her audience. She is not just an internationally published author, but she also publishes various articles on LinkedIn. Her favourite topics are acceptance of art in the modern society, including appreciation, motivation and admiration. In 2013 Dodo published her International University of Monaco lecture notes, called “Out of the Box Innovation”.

Lorre White . The Luxury Guru

Lorre White is founder president/CEO of White Light Consulting, a luxury marketing consultancy focused on the ultra-high-net-worth market and a top international luxury influencer. Lorre is the only internationally recognized luxury media personality appearing on TV, radio, web and all forms of social media. NetBase 2015 luxury industry report ranks her blog #1 globally for reaching the UHNW consumer, and #3 of all luxury blogs including professional luxury industry blogs.

Zsolt Szemerszky . Revenue specialist & Author

Zsolt Szemerszky is a revenue specialist and the author of multiple internationally published books as well as a passionate admirer of the Principality of Monaco. Since 2010 he has managed the unbiased relocation itinerary Monaco Wealth Management and he is the author of „Living in Monaco“. Both of these accomplishments are dedicated to those who are looking to relocate to the Principality of Monaco offering them reliable information and trusted service providers.

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One of the interesting part of the book is the second part which focuses on the people, the opportunities, and the traps in Monaco. It offers a first hand guidance to avoid to fell for the catchy workings and the illusions of luxury. Understanding the real-life examples one can truly enjoy the Principality with all its safety and protective legal systems for families and businesses.

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