12 Essentials to Open a Business in Germany … and how to succeed with it

12 Essentials to Open a Business in Germany … and how to succeed with it

Here you will find all the necessary Informations to open a Company or get self-employed while being in German, with a visa which allows you to work and open a business or after finishing your studies.

If you want to open a business from abroad and need a visa to do so, contact our partner in Berlin.


Check if you might want to start as a part-time business

Starting in part-time is always possible and need to be addressed at the first registration. It will save you lot’s of money for health insurance, pention funds and might save you from expensive membership at the chamber of commerce (IHK). Sometimes it might even be a visa requirement, if you already work full-time.


Check if you need to pay VAT tax

If you make less than 17.500 Euro revenue, you can opt-out of paying VAT. That’s often a good way to go, but remember if you don’t pay it, you have no right to get VAT back from all your business purchases too. In general it means that you can offer your product or service to a smaller price than your competition or operate with the same prices but a higher profit margin. Don’t freak out if you might make more money, as long as you stay under 50.000 Euro revenue a year, you don’t have to pay the VAT on that years revenue. It is a complicated issue, where the help of a consultant like me or a tax advicer might me recommented.


Don’t lose out on Subsidies from the Government

As a start-upor just a normal new company there will be plenty of subsidies for you, even or essecially because you are a foreigner. For example: my help as a professional consultant for founders is subsidized between 80% to 100% depending on the specific government program. This program includes me checking other subsides for you as well. Just call and explain your situation and in less than 10 minutes I might already have an idea what subsidies your business could aquire. My number is +49 – 351 – 41886876. My telefon service for potentialnew clients is always free of charge.


Choose the right legal form

In some cases you might start as a single person company extremly easy and just register with the tax authority (Finanzamt). In most case you have to register yourself or your company at the company registration office (Gewerbeamt). You also need to choose between a private company or partnership with full liability or a company limited to shares (which is in most ways more expensive and complicated). You shouldn’t make this decision without help which can see all four dimensions of the decision: one time and monthly cost of that legal form, differences in taxation matters and legal obligations which come from your decision.


Take the right professional to help you

Businessconsultant Dipl.-Ökon. & MBA Toni Großmann

Dipl.-Ökon. & MBA Toni Großmann Business Consultant for Start-Ups, Founders and New Businesses – info@dresden-beratung.de

Try to find a consultant which is qualitied for the “Förderung Unternehmerischen Knowhows” subsidy from the ministry of ecomony (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft) which pays 80% of his bill by the way. This insures that you save money but also is a hint that this consultant has the quality requirements for the program and therefore is definitively more qualified than consultants who don’t. In Germany everyone can just name himself a business consultant. Looking at academic achievements should be also on your list, so that you don’t end up with a “consultant” who just sold insurances before. If you are in Saxony or start your company here, check if the consaltant qualifies for a specific consultancy program for founders (Gründerberatung) from the SAB (Saxon Development Bank).


Start with enough funding

There are just too many ways to get funding, no matter if from banks, crowdfunding, private investors or else, to start with too little money! Bootstrapping is hard, takes often forever and often isn’t really necessary if you know how to get a loan (often governement backed) in germany. Ask my help early on and I will make sure that we find out how much money you actually needto be sucessful in an appropriate time frameand will get the funding with and for you!


Don’t waste your money or time on unnecessary things, services or tasks

It seems a very easy advise, which everyone should be easily able to follow through without any help, but my experience showed meall to often how much money people can waste on overpriced services if they don’t know there business environment and the local community of companies who support start-ups and small businesses. On the other hand: doing everything yourself to save money will leave you wasting your valuable time while mostly producing mediocre outcomes! Let’s find a good balanceand find competent partners for the necessary help, that you need.


Your income / revenue stream needs to be sufficient

Seems to be a no-brainer in itself, but how to actually do it? You need to anayse your market and customer segment and design a problem solving product or service for them! This needs huge amounts of time, if you want to do it right. It also need to be done smart and not just by asking friends if they like your idea / service/ potential product! If you already startet and realize that your revenue isn’t enough, you have to react fast. This could mean everything from just more adverticement to addressing a new costumer segment to a complete pivot of your offering.


Your costumer and his needs count, not your fancy idea!

It’s allabout what you can do for your costumer and the fulfillment of his needs. Don’t get into technial details of your product, whcih no one might need in the first place. Don’t offer services who are not atrative to potential clients. Sk potential clients in the early stages of your idea and do it in the right way to figure out how you and your service or product can make a difference in the costumers life so that he will pay the price tag you have to offer. On the other hand: don’t choose a line of business only because there is a costumer need and money to make, if you have no experience or even worst no desire to work in this field for a long time. Your business need to fit you in the first place, not only because it will make you more successful but also because you really only live once!


Get yourself some business skills and knowledge or get it externally

Don’t be the guy who has a great idea but just isn’t that great with numbers and money and stuff! Read some books about managment that are relevant for your upcoming experience and don’t focus only on all the motivational and inspirational startup books out there. Learn some real skills or your idea will die as fast as million others do every week! If you just can’t or don’t want tolearn all kind of different difficult new skills: hire or otherwise ask professionals. In Germany our work is even paid up to 100% by the government so that we are able to help you succeed!


Get your Ego straight

While self-esteem is important, self-awareness is the real key to success! People need to believe in themself, but overestimating your own capabilities (personal, financial or otherwise) or the potential of your idea / product / service will bring you into bankruptcy faster than you can say: “But when Steve Jobs…”


Plan ahead and get yourself some help

Plan every aspect of your business adventure and review it critical, if possible with the help of a lot of neutral people and some experts. Do a new and fanzy Business Model Canvas and a old fashioned Business Plan. Do market research and develop a Marketing Plan ahead of your start.

I’m a consultant who obviously specialized on this kind of help here in Germany and you will find my vita here and my conatct informations here.


Don’t wait. Just send an Email or call me with any question which came up after reading this text.


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