expat network

How To Start A Business As An Expatriate

start a business as an expatriate


Moving to a new country brings with it a lot of excitement and opportunities. For those who want to start a business as an expatriate, relocating can mean a lower cost of living, as well as lower business-related taxes. However, there are some unique challenges that come with living as an expat that can make the process more work than you anticipated.



Here are some tips for overcoming those hurdles and starting a business in your new home.


  1. Do Your (Legal) Research

It can be incredibly exciting, not to mention time-consuming, to plan a move to a new country and start a life there. But if your intention is to start a business when you’re there, it’s important to take some time to do your research before you start looking into automotive SEO for your car shop in Singapore. Some countries make it easier than others, but each one has its own regulations and laws when it comes to starting businesses and an expatriate’s place in that process.

If you’re applying for a specific visa, you’ll need to know what restrictions the visa has in terms of business dealings and employment. It’s always a good idea to choose the most flexible possible visa if you’re planning to stay somewhere for an extended period of time because it can become a real nightmare when your visa prevents you from freely pursuing your life in a new country.

You’re almost guaranteed to come up against unexpected obstacles on this journey, so it’s a good idea to eliminate as many surprises as possible before you even purchase your plane ticket. Tax reporting regulations are also important to understand since it’s likely that your new home will have a different tax season and laws than your current home. If you can speak with an expert local to the area you’re planning to move to, that might be the best way to ensure that you have the full picture before you get started.


  1. Understand the Costs

Chances are, if you’re planning to manufacture and sell or buy a product, you’re going to do some importing and exporting as part of your business. There are other “hidden” costs you’ll need to consider, as well, such as materials, labor, duty fees, and equipment. When you create your business plan, you need to make space for these costs so you won’t be blindsided by the real cost and be unprepared to meet it. You may have intended to sell a great product for cheap when you chose to live somewhere with a low cost of living but importing and exporting costs might make a higher price necessary.


  1. Consider Other Options

You might have one idea about how you want your new business to look, but due to obstacles or just a change in perspective, you might decide to take another direction. One popular option is for expats to purchase an existing business in their new country. That way, the business has already been set up and established, and all you have to do is step in and take over operations. Alternatively, you can hire someone else to manage while you invest from afar. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to remember that whatever venture you undertake, you should be as responsible as possible with every aspect.


  1. Get Solid on the Basics

Once you’re in the middle of tax laws, visas, exporting and importing fees, and all the other considerations you’ll have when starting your business, it can be easy to lose sight of the fundamentals of running a business. But the basics are there because they don’t change between countries, languages, time zones, etc. Part of getting the basics right is ensuring that you have a solid business plan in place before anything else happens. Exciting stories about businesses that started overseas often leave out this crucial (but sometimes boring) part. By being extremely solid on the basics of business, you’ll have a great foundation to build on when you’re in your new home.