Should I take the plunge and go into business for myself?

Should I take the plunge and go into business for myself?

Starting a business ... it’s like standing at the edge of a metres-high diving board. You want to jump, but you’ve no idea how you’ll land.

However, it’s reassuring to know that we’re on hand to help dispel any lingering doubts you may have and ensure you take the plunge with confidence!

Put your questions to an expert

Is my idea viable?

You can never predict the future, but what you can do is draw up a solid business plan. It’s important for you to assess the feasibility of your idea and to win over potential investors.

Do I have enough starting capital?

You don’t require mandatory starting capital for most forms of business organisation. If you’re a sole-trader business, you only pay administration costs.

For a company, you usually require sufficient initial capital either in kind or in cash. In fact, your know-how or labour can even be contributed as capital.

Whatever form you decide on, you have to prepare a financial plan to get an idea of the costs and revenues involved, whether you’re able to break even and how to finance your plans.

Make an appointment to discuss your financial plan

Do I really have time for all this additional administrative work?

You’ll find that it’s not too bad all things considered. You’ll be required to join a business one-stop shop and social insurance fund, both of which are there to help you.

If you’re a sole-trader business, you’ll also be exempt from many administrative obligations. This is not the case for a company, although a good accountant can save you a lot of paperwork.

It is highly recommended – and is in fact mandatory for a company – to open a separate business account, as it ensures your work and private life are kept separate, you have a clear overview of customer payments and you can quickly and easily pay your suppliers.

How do I guarantee my financial stability?

The first thing to do is prepare a sound financial plan before you get started. You should do this together with a business expert if you don’t have any experience running a business.

Remember that, when you’re self-employed, you can build up all kinds of social security entitlements that protect you should you encounter difficulties both professionally and privately. You can also take out insurance to provide additional cover against loss of income, for instance, due to work disability.

If you have nagging doubts about the feasibility of your idea, you can try it out first by becoming self-employed in a secondary occupation and, if things work out, continue with it on a full-time basis.

Discuss your plan with an expert

What about my social security entitlements?

When self-employed, you have to join a social insurance fund and pay social security contributions in order to be entitled to benefits should you fall ill, have a child, become a volunteer carer or take retirement.

If you’re testing the waters first by being self-employed in a secondary occupation, you won’t accrue any additional rights apart from those built up in your salaried job. Fortunately, you also pay a lot less in solidarity contributions!

What if I fail?

The fear of failure is very common among people starting up their own business. Of course, running a business doesn’t always go without a hitch, but fortunately you’re well protected in Belgium should you start to encounter problems.

If things take a turn for the worse but you see light at the end of the tunnel, you have the Insolvency Act to help keep your head above water. However, if you reach the point where you’ve done all you can to save your business, you can file for bankruptcy and are usually entitled to interim assistance.

Sometimes you can be unlucky, but if you start your adventure properly prepared and with the right support, you won’t have too much to worry about.

So ... what's holding you back?

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If nothing is standing in the way, use this momentum to open your business account and take the first step now towards being your own boss. You never know, you could start getting cold feet again if you don’t!

If you feel you could do with some personal tips, don’t hesitate to come and talk to one of our experts. Together, we’ll look at how you can best move forward.

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