Ultimate Guide to Relocating Your Business to Europe – According to an Institute of Directors survey, published in February 2019, a third of British companies are considering opening operations abroad. Post-Brexit, British companies wanting to trade with Europe, are still evaluating the hindrances to trade and the potential advantages of relocating. Ease of access to European markets may be the main incentive for relocating to Europe but there are other possible advantages to be considered. Relocation may also provide the opportunity to recalibrate your work/lifestyle balance. A new location may bring with it a more relaxed pace of life, the invigoration of working in a new culture and the pleasure of living in a sunnier climate.
An opportunity to reduce business costs
London office space is the most expensive in Europe, averaging out at a cost of 1513 euros, per square metre, per year. Paris is the second most expensive European office space at 890 euros, per square metre, whilst Lisbon is a mere 300 euros per square metre. Low property prices have resulted in several years of substantial foreign investment in Portugal. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have all established tech hubs in the country. In addition to cheap office space, a further incentive for businesses to relocate to Portugal is access to high quality, low-cost expertise. Around 53% of the Lisbon workforce, aged between 20 and 30, are STEM graduates and they can be hired for half the cost of most European cities.
An opportunity to grow
Zurich’s central European location is a key factor in its significance to the business world. Its excellent education and research institutions and its economic and political stability have attracted a range of multinationals, the downside of course is that although it is not as expensive as London, it is an expensive location. Paris is also expensive, but its conference and exhibition centres attract around 9 million visitors a year and it has the highest research and development expenditure in Europe. A less expensive option, for start-ups, is Berlin, which attracts a pool of international talent to its stable economy and legislation. An even cheaper destination for start-ups is Portugal, which has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe. The Portuguese government has set up a simple online process for start-up founders and created a 200-million-euro pot to aid foreign companies relocating to Portugal.
Relocating your business is a significant undertaking, so be very sure that you are fully aware of the potential problems, as well as the advantages. Even if you are moving your business into an environment where English is widely spoken, you will be operating in a culture that is unfamiliar to you. Subtle nuances of language can lead to confusion and misunderstanding when negotiations are being conducted by non-native English speakers. You will need to be sensitive to cultural behaviours with which you are not familiar, so as not to inadvertently cause offence. It may even be necessary to consider significant rebranding in order to make your product more appealing to your new markets. Most importantly, develop a secure understanding of the legal constraints within which you will be operating.