Requirements for Setting-Up a Business in Europe

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I don’t know about you, but as a fellow small business owner, the idea of “going viral” and becoming an international sensation sounds like a dream come true. So, why don’t you plan for it? Yes, YOU! The awesome entrepreneur reading this article. Much of your destiny is determined by your mindset. So, go big or go home. Put on your visionary thinking cap, picture your smashingly successful business, and envision how it will feel when your brand is a household name around the globe. Are you there? Excellent. Now, since we have determined that everyone will be clamoring for your products or services, let’s consider the first international location where you will expand your business.

One frequent destination for American business expansions is Europe. So that you can best evaluate the pros and cons of locating in such geographic area, read on for issues you should consider between now and becoming a global sensation.

Differing Rules & Regulations

Firstly, you should determine in which European country you will introduce your brand to the international world. This is because each country has unique rules or laws applicable to foreign business owners establishing a company within its borders. Although the European Union has established some overarching regulations, not all countries are part of the Union, and regardless, each country is unique, meaning it may have its own rules applicable to one or more aspects of your business operations.

Showing how greatly these laws can differ, some European countries make it fairly easy to immigrate, get residency, and open a business. Others, however, make it much harder for a non-European to either live or start a business within its territory. So, doing your due diligence to study the various rules and options to determine which location is most favorable for you is a must.

Immigration Laws

As a part of such evaluation, you should consider what documentation your seemingly ideal European country requires to do business as a foreigner. According to Transitions Abroad, the good news is that, “[d]espite the different laws regarding business permits for foreigners, there is one regulation most European countries share: foreigners intending to open a business do not need a work permit or any other type of visa. They simply need a residency permit in the country where they intend to establish their business.” With this kind of permit, you will qualify to set-up your business as a sole trader, partnership, branch or office of a foreign company, or company registered in your host country. Given the number of questions that may arise during this process, you may want to consult an immigration attorney or other legal counsel to ensure all requirements are met to properly open your business.

Global Banking

Banking outside of the U.S. can be difficult, especially given American laws aimed at curtailing money laundering and preventing tax evasion, currency differences, volatility in exchange markets, additional fees, longer float times, and more. Such issues can complicate Americans opening bank accounts in non-U.S. countries where they do business. As a result, everything from accessing cash, to replacing lost or stolen cards, to running payroll may become more difficult. Using something like CloudPay's payroll software in the EU could therefore be a good idea. The more remote systems you can use to help your business run smoothly, the more time you can devote to the quality of your products or services instead of battling red tape.

Tax Implications

As with banking, there are several tax implications and requirements associated with doing business overseas, including, without limitation, understanding whether your foreign income is subject to U.S. taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes on your business profits. So that you can properly plan and budget, you likely want to engage a knowledgeable tax professional to help you navigate such intricacies before taking your brand global.


When I first transitioned from practicing law full-time to also owning a products and services small business, it was realized that I needed additional mentors. Although the professionals who guided me through the first part of my career were wonderful counselors regarding building a successful law practice, they had little knowledge about the small business world I had newly entered. I therefore needed to connect with entrepreneurs who could assist me with the ins and outs of founding a small business. Likewise, here, launching a global brand is a massive undertaking with which your current mentors may be unfamiliar. If so, you will avoid several mistakes and achieve faster success if you cultivate relationships with international business owners who can share their experiences with you.

Concluding Thoughts

While the idea of becoming an international giant is exhilarating, as shown by this discussion, it is a significant undertaking with many moving parts. As we have discussed, it is therefore important that before you embark on such an adventure, you do your homework and lean into professionals who can help you thoroughly think through such a big decision.

And, do YOU have additional tips that will help the SYS community?! We’re sure you do, so please share your advice by emailing or by sending Spread Your Sunshine a message via FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter. We love hearing from you, as together we perform our best.

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