Forming a business is the beginning of a challenging adventure. Sometimes confusing, sometimes stressful. But a good entrepeneur should take proper precautions, otherwise the startup might be the first step into a dead end street. Good legal and tax advice therefore avoids even more costly snafus afterwards.
Which reflexions do I need to make before starting my business?
Setting up your own business can be an exciting time. Before you start, save yourself time and money by being aware of what's involved in running a business.
Operating a business needs also management skills, industry expertise, technical skills, finance and of course a long-term vision to grow and succeed.
It is also important to think about how you might protect your future business in times of crisis or change. Smart business owners prepare for potential risks and unexpected events in future, such as selling, acquisitions, retiring, business continuity and exit-events.
Before you chose your business structure and type, you should ask yourself a number of these non-exhaustive questions in order to refine your project:
- Analyse your business environment (Who are your competitors, what services do they provide, who are your potential customers, what are the potential trends in your field of activities, how might your industry evolve?);
- Market your idea (what products and services will you offer, what pricing policy will you adopt, where will your products be available, how will you promote them, how will you manage orders and deliveries, how will you manage complaints?);
- Organise your company (who will manage your company, where will it be based, are you going to recruit staff?);
- Identify the access conditions for the profession you wish to practice. Do you need to apply for specific permits or licences?
- Finance your project (what investment do you need, what will you charge, what is the minimum margin you need in order to cover your costs, what are my fixed costs, what type of financing will you choose: external or own funds?)
After the fine-tuning of your project you still have to fulfill the main business start-up steps:
- Choose a legal status: sole proprietorship or company (and type)?
- Opening a current account with a bank or other financial institution
- Articles of incorporation (notarised deed or private deed)
- To prove some basic management skills to a ‘business counter’ (guichet d’entreprises/ondernemingsloket)
- Deposit articles of incorporation with one of the FPS Finance’s registration offices.
- VAT registration
- Registering with a social security fund
- Request a licence/permit if necessary
- Insurance issues
- Register with The Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (BCE/KBO)
Am I elegible for certain subsidies and tax measures?
When you start a business, there will usually be a period when you’re investing lots of time, effort and money before you start making a profit.
Be aware in that case that you might be able to get help from a government-backed support scheme or subsidy if you need for example some initial funding to test or develop your business idea or to start-up your business.
Both Regional and Federal authorities offer support via direct subsidies and tax measures.
Tax reductions belong to the core business of the Federal Authorities (p.e. notional interest deduction and investment deduction).
The Regional Authorities and their Agencies support new and existing companies by means of subsidies and they also can provide risk capital.
You can also appeal on som private investors/ business organisations which offer these kind of services and risk capital.
On the one hand they try to encourage innovation through financial support, networking and by facilitating international cooperation.
On the other hand they might offer financing solutions to certain companies under certain conditions. They are willing to cover a company’s entire development cycle, from its earliest inception to its growth and internationalization, depending on the situation, nature or purpose of company in question.
There are many subsidies/financing solutions for different kind of (start-up) companies. To be eligible you must first find out which government/agency/organisation is responsible. Furthermore detailed application forms and financial information must be completed and discussed with these them. All these subsidies and fincancing solutions have also conditions and consequences in the further life of your company We advice you to contact specialists to help you make the right decision.Written by Johan Lemmens