Which reflexions do I need to make before starting my business?

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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)