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Expand Your Business into Europe – What you Need to Know

With all the negative talk surrounding the state of the European economy and growing Euroscepticism, is now a good time to expand your business into Europe?

As the largest economy in the world with an annual revenue of €500,000,000 and over 731,000,000 people, the prospect of setting up a business in Europe is certainly an attractive one! However, establishing a bigger market share, let alone an international presence, is easier said than done.

Business is different

Despite the use of a common currency across many of the EU member states, each state has its own business regulations that you must comply with. The markets, cultures and procedures will also be different from those in the UK.

Conduct market research for the country you intend to expand into. This will help you to operate efficiently and avoid any pitfalls when preparing a business plan.

Adapt your business structure

Once you’ve made the decision to move part of your business abroad and have identified the markets you would like to sell to, you’ll need to decide on the best structure for your business.

For example, where will your HQ be based? A local office will help represent your interests in the local market but it won’t be legally registered to carry out certain types of business.

Legal Requirements

As an EU citizen you are entitled to set up your own business (even as a sole trader) in any EU country. However, if you are not from within the EU, you will need to ensure that the visa you have allows you to run a business and if there are any restrictions.

Costs & Finance

You don’t start a business abroad in the hope of making money to fund the project – make you sure you have the money first to help establish your business! The cost of relocating to another country can be hugely expensive!

The actual requirements vary by country but the EU encourages its member countries to meet the following requirements:

  • €100 admin fee
  • Maximum 3 day turnaround
  • Online registration for all new businesses

Whatever your financing requirements are, you will need to understand the local banking sector and differences in trade finance arrangements. There are also many opportunities for expats who seek to set up a business abroad.

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