Start-ups in the Sun

One way to start leading the jet-setter lifestyle is to start your own business in a foreign country. This can cost from as little as a few thousand to a million pounds or more. Often, a business that creates jobs for locals will be accepted with open arms, especially in the current global economic climate.

However, it’s not all fun in the sun. Doing business in a foreign country can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the local language. The red tape can be vast and understanding official documents can be difficult if they are written in onerous business language. You must have patience and tolerance.

Before considering start-ups in the sun, you must research the market and speak to local experts for business and legal advice. Many people who open a business abroad return home without two pennies to rub together. Don’t open a business in which you have no experience, and don’t invest in a business until you fully understand what the return will be.

It can be a hard graft being self-employed, in particular with bar owners not taking a day off and working long hours in high season, with little financial reward. The joy of being self-employed is the freedom of being one’s own boss, not the money it brings. It is important that you aim for something that you can manage, rather than a huge scheme

Check the real income of a business potential, particularly bars, restaurants and shops in holiday resorts. In most areas, trade vanishes out of the main holiday season. Many businesses survive for a year on the money earned over the summer. You could be lucky to cover your costs over the winter months.

There are companies that can help you with local bureaucracy and law, organising applications and documents, acting as a go-between for officials and your potential business.

Business consultants and relocation agencies can provide invaluable local assistance. International accountants such as Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse have offices in lots of countries. They can be a valuable source of information on subjects such as forming a company, taxation company law and social security.

Businesses must also register for taxes for local sales, purchase or value added. People often require a special licence to start a business. No commitments should be made until that permission has been granted.

You should also be on the lookout for crooks, with a healthy suspicion of everyone you come across, including your fellow countrymen. Partnerships in particular have a high rate of failure, and your best friend could become your worst enemy if this happened. Don’t sign anything until you have checked it with a lawyer.

Why not try an existing business and not a new one, as this is often easier. Get the business checked out by an auditor first.

One major thing to consider is location. You may already know where you want to go, but you need to actually check of the prospects in the area. Travel to go see it. Monarch Airlines do affordable flights to many places. You need to examine transport links and communications availability in the area.

There are a range of grants for new businesses in deprived areas. Contact the local chamber of commerce for more information.

Any new business, whether home or away requires lots of hard work, a large chunk of capital for investment and running costs, and a great sense of drive. It may look easy, but don’t be fooled by the apparent laid back lifestyle in some countries. You must work hard to succeed. Two thirds of businesses fail in their first five years.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mark Nicholls .

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