Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, which has prompted European countries to actively court entrepreneurs from the UK, running a European business is becoming more enticing than ever. As the startup scene explodes across Europe, entrepreneurs have plenty of opportunity to tap into the vibrant European marketplace. But if you do choose to make such a decision for your business, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Here are just a few.
Don’t let language be a barrier to your business
Entrepreneurs who are looking to start a Europe-wide business from home will likely be aware of how complicated and costly it can be to choose an international location to establish your business. This is especially true if it’s a country where English is not the native language, which is the case for almost everywhere in Europe; yet, in an increasingly connected world, entrepreneurs need to be able to accommodate their foreign customers.
First and foremost, your new customers will need to understand what your business does. Yet, as tempting as it may be to rely on translation apps, which have made it much easier to access European languages at the touch of a button, hiring a professional translator could be the key to your business’s future. For startups whose primary concern is capital, many companies offer budget business translation. These are provided by professional translators who are able to translate correspondence, journals and financial requests in other languages, with an expert eye for sector context and local custom.
Then, there are the more expensive translation services that could be crucial to your communications with customers. As these advertising translation disasters show, it’s not worth taking any chances when it comes to translating marketing materials. If you get it wrong, you could scupper your potential, and turn your newly-expanded business into a laughing stock before you even get off the ground.
Know the legalities of starting a business in Europe
Entrepreneurs should make sure they are versed in the legal requirements of running a European business from home. The EU is the biggest trader in the world, officially responsible for 16.5% of exports and imports globally, which makes the continent an ideal place in which to expand. Though UK businesses can currently trade tariff-free with any other EU member state, trading in another country does require knowledge of that nation’s corporate law.
For example, knowing the rate of corporation tax is important where business revenue is concerned. Many European countries have a reduced rate of corporate tax—as low as 10-15%—while in other countries it can be much higher. Entrepreneurs should also be aware of European trade laws, which are subject to change in the wake of Brexit; it is important to keep up to date to ensure you avoid breaching the law and potentially ruining your business.
After putting time and energy into creating and promoting your brand, taking the step to register your trademark overseas is another valuable move in protecting your business. Each country will have its own set of procedures and regulation services, so entrepreneurs should always check the rules of the nation in which they plan to trademark themselves before registering. However, the Community Trademark (CTM) provides protection across all member states of the EU via one application process, which reduces administration and costs compared to making separate applications for each country.
Have a good research strategy in place
Regardless of how established your business is, or where in Europe you are planning to expand, having a good research strategy is a vital step to making the move over the Channel.
Entrepreneurs cannot expect to launch their product or service in every European nation without taking time to plan how they will do this, country by country. A significant amount of time should be spent researching on the chosen market. Entrepreneurs should be clear how much time and money will need to be spent on marketing and promoting the business in each area, and budget for this accordingly.
Then there is the matter of whether your company will actually find success in a foreign market. You might be selling a hugely popular product in the UK, only to find that another company has that niche covered in France, or that people in Germany don’t even see the need for it. Market research is essential to circumvent these potential problems.
Running a business in Europe will have its challenges, so it is important for entrepreneurs to take as much time needed to plan ahead for European success.