The effects of Brexit on U.K. trade are still indistinct and likely to remain so for some time to come. The pandemic crisis will continue to obscure the situation for the foreseeable future; however, many entrepreneurs are looking at the possible benefits of starting a business abroad because of the trading difficulties which Brexit may create.
A survey by the Institute of Directors published two years ago, found that even at that early stage, one-third of the companies surveyed were considering moving operations abroad.
The old adage about one’s neighbour’s grass always looking greener, needs to be borne in mind, starting a business in an unfamiliar country and culture is not something to rush into. Business regulations will be unfamiliar, and language and culture may be an obstacle, but there may also be very definite advantages, so consider your move carefully.
Cheaper Office Space
The U.K. has the highest cost of prime office space in Europe, at an average of €1,513 per square metre, per year. France is next at €890 and Ireland third at €673. By contrast, Portugal has one of the lowest costs for office space in Europe, at an average of €288 per square metre, per year. Clearly, the potential for savings is considerable.
Access to a Skilled Labour Force
Depending on the nature of your business, access to a skilled labour force will be a key factor in deciding where to locate your business. Cities like Zurich and Berlin have a well-established reputation for attracting a pool of international talent and their economic and political stability make them attractive to start-ups. In Lisbon, STEM fields are very popular: 53% of 20-30-year-olds are STEM graduates. Therefore, employees for these types of jobs can easily be found for a fraction of the costs compared with most other European cities.
Expansion into a New Market
Locating your business outside of the U.K. could well enable you to tap into new markets. A move to Europe, for example, would make it far easier to trade goods and resources within the E.U. and in many areas of Europe, English language businesses have already established a strong community ethic.
It is well worth exploring whether your country of choice provides any incentives for established businesses or start-ups. Portugal has been particularly adept at encouraging foreign investment by offering preferential tax rates to foreign businesses in strategic industries and government grants for foreign companies relocating to Portugal. As a result, Google, Amazon, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have all established tech hubs in the country.
The Opportunity for a Change of Lifestyle
The pandemic has caused us all to re-evaluate our priorities and a move abroad brings with it the opportunity to change the way in which we live and work. Moving your business abroad creates the chance to look at the business world with new eyes, to spot new markets and new trends and to reinvigorate your business vision. Sunshine and the shock of the new might turn out to be just what you and your business need.