Europe has some of the world’s richest and most successful countries. It is also one of the world’s largest markets. If you want to start a business, then there’s nowhere better than there. However, as one might expect from one of the wealthiest continents in the world, starting a business isn’t easy – and there’s lots of competition.
If you want to start your own business in Europe, then you have your work cut out for you. Here are nine useful tips that you can use to get started:
If you want to start or conduct business in any of Europe’s Schengen countries, then you will need to apply for a specialized visa first. The Schengen Visa application process is very straightforward. The documentation required for an initial application includes information about the business that you intend to start, a trade license, and other information relevant to your business. You will also need to supply standard identity documents, such as your passport and potentially birth certificate. You should also provide evidence of any meetings or appointments scheduled with European businesspeople. Evidence of this nature gives weight to your application. You may additionally need to apply for a residency permit if you want to stay for a long period of time.
One of the first things that you need to do is to find a location that’s right for you. In order to do this, you have to determine where your customers are. While it might be tempting to go to random European countries and cities in order to start your business, it won’t really benefit you. You need to be decisive and meticulous. If you haven’t got any customers yet then you should sit down and work out where your customers are likely to be, and how you can reach them. Outreach is a very important part of starting a business, so it’s a concept that you should familiarize yourself with.
Another thing that you need to think about is European tax and how it will affect you. Tax in Europe is different than it is in many nations. Many European countries have very low corporate tax rates. You may want to do your research and find a country with low tax rates for you to base yourself on when you first start. Money is usually uncertain when a business is first started, but nonetheless, you will have to pay tax. For this reason, find somewhere that doesn’t charge extremely high corporation tax rates.
You also need to register your company in Europe, if it is going to be a European company. If you are going to base yourself in your home nation, but advertise, market, and do business in Europe then you won’t need to register there. If you don’t register in Europe, you won’t have to pay tax there, because you will have non-domicile status. However, you may be restricted on how long you can spend in Europe if you aren’t a resident or staying on any long-term visa. Registering a company in Europe is very simple and is more or less the same process in all EU nations. It takes around two weeks to complete.
Unless you speak the language of the nation that you are traveling to, it’s very likely that you are going to get confused from time to time. European nations have very good infrastructure, at all levels. Most European nations have a government-backed entity that provides advice to business people and ordinary people on business matters. In the United Kingdom, for example, this is called the “Citizens Advice Bureau.” If you struggle with anything related to starting or registering your business in the nation that you are staying in, then you should contact the country’s relevant organization and ask them for advice.
You also need to familiarize yourself with Europe’s business culture. Unlike in the United States and in other countries, most meetings are conducted at pubs or bars. Drinking plays a very prominent role in Europe’s business culture, especially in countries like Poland, Hungary, and Germany. If you are going to be meeting with new clients and potential business partners, be prepared to be expected to drink. It is a bonding experience that will ingratiate you to your colleagues and clients. The EU drinking culture is very similar to the Japanese drinking culture, which you may have heard about previously.
In Europe, appearance and reputation are everything. If you don’t present yourself well then people won’t want to do business with you. Make sure that you go to each meeting with new clients formally dressed and groomed. Unlike in the United States where business people dress casually and wear shorts and T-shirts to meetings, in Europe people expect you to be wearing a suit or formal attire. Turning up to a meeting casually dressed could result in business clients refusing to work with you because they feel as though you have disrespected them by not making the effort to dress formally.
As mentioned, your appearance and reputation are everything. However, there’s a lot more to one’s appearance than just the physical aspects. You must also be as well-mannered as you can and sophisticated. Manners are very important in European culture. If you appear brash or rude, you will annoy the people with whom you are meeting. Manners are more important in nations like France and the United Kingdom, but wherever you are, you do not want to appear disrespectful to the people you are meeting.
If you want to start a business in Europe, then you need to market your business properly. As already mentioned, there’s lots of competition in Europe. If you don’t market yourself and your business, then it won’t ever get off the ground. You need to market yourself on social media, through SEO, and with the use of influencers. Influencer marketing is extremely popular in the EU.
Starting a business in Europe might seem challenging, but in practice, it’s actually quite straightforward. If you want to take control of your future and achieve financial independence, then starting up a business in Europe is a great idea. Make sure to conduct extensive research into the market that you are trying to breach, so that you are prepared.