Starting a business in Europe as an American
Successful entrepreneurs are continually looking for new opportunities
and fresh markets in which to expand their products and services.
And since Europe is comprised of so many countries with large consumer
bases, the continent is both lucrative and appealing. For an American,
it may seem like the perfect way to branch out. But how easy or how difficult is the reality of
starting a business in Europe as an American?
While in the research stages and before doing anything specific,
- one should obtain and read the EU Country Commercial Guide, published yearly by the European Union’s US Mission Staff. The guide identifies trends, political and economic situations, as well as, provides information on each member state of the EU.
- Another document that will prove useful is the IPR Toolkit, a set of chapters created by The Department of Commerce to assist in understanding intellectual property rights and their protection in the European Union.
- In addition, one should contact both the The European Investment Bank (EEIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to inquire about financing for qualified projects.
Moreover, there are two distinct ways in which an American might
start a business in Europe. One might consider a business at arm's
length living in the US and completing all requirements from the
comfort of home or one might actually move to a desired country
in Europe and begin business as a resident of the continent. When starting up a business in a foreign country, you can think about Asset Based Lending. 1st Commercial Credit can offer higher advance rates on asset based lending .
Living in United States:
- When thinking about expanding an existing business or starting a new business, it may be prudent to find a development company in Europe that can facilitate the process of registering the business, and possibly promoting the products as well.
- A distribution partner may be helpful as he/she would have local knowledge and might be able to move the products faster with existing contacts.
- In order to quickly assimilate and to avoid legal issues, outsourcing to a capable firm that already deals with international companies may be an intelligent way to expand into the European market. You can also incorporate in nevada to avoid some legal requirements.
- Find a knowledgeable liaison who can help with providing information regarding taxes when doing business from afar.
- Americans registering trademarks or designs not residing in the EU will require a legal representative for all proceedings. The OHIM (Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market) provides a free database to help find qualified representatives.
Living in Europe:
- It has been implied that Europeans are much more formal with manners, dress, and business practices. Americans, on the other hand, are more informal in the way they address people, how they answer corporate telephones, and how they dress for work. And what appears to be efficiency by Americans who multi-task using their electronics while in meetings or talking to others, this practice is seen as very abrupt by Europeans, even rude, as the person appears uninterested and insincere. Needless to say, when conducting business in any country of Europe, one should determine how the local business community conducts itself and then assimilate into the environment. If you need help, get a Euro business consultant through the consolate.
- Before moving to a specific country, investigate tax concessions and incentives, minimum wage laws and mandated benefits, and any other expenses that directly relate to the cost of doing business or cost of goods sold.
- Do not assume that everyone will speak English. Learning the language may be required.
- Understand what system of legal tender is being used. Not all EU countries use the Euro. For example, the UK still uses the pound.