Looking to become self-employed?

Be properly prepared when starting your own business

Looking to become self-employed?

Be properly prepared when starting your own business

Planning to set up your own business? If so, you’re about to start out on a great adventure, one that’s full of challenges. If you’re to make your business venture a success, however, you have to get your preparations right. But what exactly do you need to consider?

Is your project feasible?

Start by taking a really close look at all aspects of your business. This will give you a good idea of the feasibility of your plans. What does the market and competition look like? How do you want to commercialise your idea? What are the costs involved and how are you going to finance your plans?

Tip: Be critical and above all realistic. The Business Model Canvas helps you turn ideas into a structured model. It is the perfect basis for your business plan and the first step on the journey to starting your own business..

Ready for the off!

It doesn’t take too long to start your own business in Belgium and the administrative formalities aren’t too cumbersome either. With good preparation, things should go without a hitch.

However, you have to meet certain basic conditions:
• You are at least 18 years old
• You are a Belgian national or a national of a European Union country

In practical terms, there are no differences between setting up a business as a main occupation or setting one up as a secondary occupation. Calculating your social security contribution may be a little more complex if the business is your secondary occupation, because account also has to be taken of your contribution as an employee.

Sole-trader business or company?

The first important task you have to do is decide on the company form. Is it better to operate as a sole-trader or as some form of legal entity? This is important because your choice largely determines how you will operate, what your obligations are and what you can or cannot do. Weigh up the pros and cons and preferably talk to a specialist, as well.

Start your own business in six steps

1Open a business account

Open a current account for your business to keep your business and personal transactions separate.

2Ensure you have a financial plan and a deed of incorporation

If you’re setting up a company, sit down with your accountant and draw up a financial plan and task a notary public to draw up a deed of incorporation.

3Apply for your company number

Register in the ‘Crossroads Bank for Enterprises’ (CBE) database. You can easily apply for your company number yourself at a one-stop shop of your choice (or through your accountant).

4Activate your VAT number

You can easily arrange this yourself electronically or at your local VAT office. It can also be arranged by your one-stop shop for a fee.

5Choose a social insurance fund

Join a social insurance fund for paying in your social security contributions (pension, sickness and invalidity benefits, etc.).

6Join a health insurance fund

Join a health insurance fund too (or notify your current one), so that you and your family are insured against minor risks (GP, medication and other related expenses) and major risks (expenses related to certain illnesses, hospitalisation, childbirth, etc.).

Up and running

Now that you’ve finally got started, you also need to think about taking out insurance cover. Some cover is compulsory (car insurance, third-party liability fire & explosion insurance, industrial accident insurance) and others are optional (directors' and officers' liability insurance, product liability insurance, business interruption insurance, etc.). Be sure to visit your insurance agent for advice tailored to your line of business.

Lastly, proper accounting is an essential part of running a business. It not only keeps your business healthy, but also ensures you comply with the law (simple or double-entry accounting, depending on your company form).

Open a business account

If you’ve made up your mind to start your own business, take the first step now and open your business account below.

Open your business account