Managing your business in Europe

Planning how to expand your business across European boundaries

There are many advantages to expanding your business within Europe. The European Union (EU) has introduced a number of laws to reduce bureaucracy, harmonise standards, increase cross-border co-operation and enable the free movement of people. Combined with a common currency across many member states, the EU's markets are now more open to businesses from other member states than ever before.

However, each EU member state still has its own business regulations that you must comply with. The markets, cultures and procedures will also be different from those in the UK.

The more research you do in advance, the better prepared you will be to operate efficiently and avoid the pitfalls. Before preparing a business plan, you should consider market research for the country you intend to expand into or set up in.

Requirements for setting up in an EU country

If you have decided to set up your own operation in an EU country, there are a number of requirements you must meet. Make sure to check:

  • you have all necessary authorisations and qualifications
  • you can meet the country's tax requirements
  • you will follow any professional codes of ethics

If you are planning to open a branch - or subsidiary - you must additionally register with:

  • tax and VAT authorities
  • social security offices
  • national companies' register