Updated: Sep 6
If you are running a small or medium sized enterprise in the UK, you now have the chance to bypass post-Brexit trade barriers by incorporating in Europe. EU legislation allows you to establish and run a company without being there in person. If you think this strategy does not apply to your business model you may be surprised (read ‘How to bypass EU trade barriers‘).
What is the optimal EU country?
Let's assume you‘d like to go ahead with your European operation. One of the first steps is to decide on the ideal country and region. We've compiled a list of questions to help you establish the place for your business and a second list covering business specifics that need to be considered:
Does the country provide stability and legal certainty?
What is the level of corruption/organised crime?
What is the level of disposable consumer income?
What is the level of disposable business budgets?
Language barrier: Is English widely spoken?
Cultural barriers: Spoken and written communication aside, can I identify with the mentality and ethics?
Working times: How do the daily working hours and holidays harmonise with those in the UK?
How easy, quick and costly is it to get there?
Are there bilateral tax agreements in place with the UK (i.e. a double-taxation treaty)?
Is it among the few EU countries offering VAT deferment (to increase your investment capital)?
What are the specifics of my business?
IP rights: Are there any trademarks in the way?
Would the infrastructure (traffic, communication etc.) be sufficient?
Geographical position: Is it a good distribution hub for my markets?
Do I easily find professional service providers?
Could potential competition become a problem?
Are there any national taxes/duties on the products I sell?
Distilling the best business locations
By answering these questions, you will be able to filter the best choice out of the 27 EU countries. If you end up with more than one country, distil the result further with a) more questions relating to your business/situation and/or b) seek expert advice for a more refined selection process. Once you have found the ideal country, apply the same process for the best region or city.
Play it safe!
Many countries and regions try to attract businesses with low cost of labour, properties, rates etc. as well as generous tax reliefs. A word of advice - select a well-established, professional environment, even if it looks more costly at first glance. Safeguard your decision by drawing up a detailed business plan with the help of professional consultants/tax advisors. If the projected profits should not be in your comfort zone rethink your business model. Once your operation has become a success, you can still choose to expand to a more exotic location.
For more information on trading from and to Europe please get in touch.
Trade with Europe Ltd helps UK businesses to export. Our cross-border services include a network of service providers, such as fulfilment warehouses , e-commerce specialists, accountants, lawyers, etc. in the UK, but also in the Netherlands and Germany. We also offer readymade solutions for UK businesses to legally trade in the EU, even after Brexit.