Being your own boss.

AuteurDonnellon, Brien
Fonction Business: finance column

The uncertain economic outlook that dominates the media is not the kind of news an aspiring entrepreneur wants to hear. However, a downturn can provide as many opportunities as a boom. Let us explore the key factors in geeing started.

Create a business plan

As poor planning is one of the main reasons why so many small businesses fall within the first year, it is essential that you invest time in putting together a business plan This will force you to analyse your idea in an objective and critical way. A business plan defines purpose, competition, management, and workforce. It may also include an integrated S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Through such a document, your chance of success can be better determined. A business plan may serve as an operational guide and provide the basis for a financial proposal

Understand business entities

Sole proprietors: Setting up a business under sole trader status is the least complicated for income tax and insurance purposes. This status also renders it relatively easy to set up and close down a business. However, you are personally liable, if the business gets into debt. Following an application to the state (AHV/AVS), you will receive a written decision upon whether sole trader status has been granted. To apply, you must provide a list of at least three prospective and legitimate customers.

Private limited liability company (GmbH/Sarl/Sagl): A company representative, who may also be a manager or director, must be domiciled in Switzerland. A minimum of CHF 20,000 equity share capital must be paid and liability is limited to the share capital. The equity share capital is no longer capped. Names of the company owners and their financial participation are publicised, Mandatory insurance must be set up for employees. Regular auditing is required for large companies, but limited auditing is sufficient for most. The law for limited liability companies was modified in 2008. so founding and maintaining a GmbH with only one person is now permitted

Joint stock company (AG/SA/SA): This is the most practical option for larger companies. Liability is limited to the corporation's assets, investors can remain anonymous, and shareholders' obligations to contribute further capital are limited. The minimum share capital for a Swiss corporation is CHF 100,000. The share capital must be fully subscribed, but not necessarily fully paid. Formation involves legal acts leading to...

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