Your business in Switzerland

Now that you made up your mind to start a company in Switzerland it is time to plan every careful step that will lead you to success. It is hard to take into consideration all necessary points and perform them in the right sequence. Nevertheless, we all remember that the most important step on the road to your dream is the first step. Therefore, the first stage of this adventure is the following manual that will give you an overall idea of how to begin your company creation in the right way.

The First Step. Business Legal Structure

Your future business structure must be relevant to your business activity. Review the next four legal forms and remember that there is no such notion as bad or good business structure – it just needs to be appropriate to your objectives:

  • Sole Proprietorship. This structure may contain only one worker and must not have a minimum capital. It has to be registered in the commercial register in case when its turnover is more than CHF 100 000. In addition, registration in OASI is required in order to get the status of self-employment.
  • Unlimited Company. Sometimes known as General Partnership. This legal form includes two or more individuals and it does not demand to have a minimum capital. Registration in the commercial register is mandatory.
  • Limited Liability Company. This legal form can be established by one or more persons. It is created at a constituent conference before a notary and requires an entry in the commercial register. The minimum capital must be CHF 20 000.
  • Limited Company. It can have one or more shareholders. CHF 100 000 is the minimum capital required for establishing this type of company, but only CHF 50 000 can be paid during the registration. Taxes are imposed on shareholders’ profits and dividends. In addition, it requires registering in the commercial register and is supposed to be formed at a constituent conference before a notary.

The Second Step. Creation of a Business Plan

Your business plan reflects the vision of your future prospective company. Once you carefully study its main aspects, you will understand whether your ideas are viable and feasible. In general, all business plans are arranged into several parts:

  • Business description. The initial stage of your business plan creation includes the description of all data that you gathered when analyzing the market.
  • Business design. The business model will let you understand what benefits and advantages you will take from those opportunities offered by the market. In addition, you will be able to see the main needs and demands of the market that in its turn will allow you to adjust your solutions respectively.
  • Team presentation. Introduce your team describing the skills of every member that will allow you to develop your company.
  • Description of activities. Characterize your services or products. Describe the rivalry.
  • Financial part. Diligently list the figures that reflect all future disbursements.

Once you are ready with your business plan you will be able to understand realistically whether your chances are high or not. In any case, prepare for possible traps and pitfalls on your way to prosperity. Do not underestimate your rivals. You must not think that they are not as skillful and clever as you are or that they do not know as much as you do. Be ready for any surprises and you will not be caught off-guarded. Try to think of anything in advance and invent a plan to solve it. Keep abreast with modern solutions taking advantage of the successful experience of other enterprises. Take into consideration every detail: social insurance, operating expenditures, employee salaries, marketing budget, rent for enterprise premises, interests, and different taxes.

The Third Step. Company Establishment

In order to start your sole proprietorship you have to do some paperwork. Namely, fill up an affiliation form, and introduce all supporting papers that include copies of invoices, signed contracts, all performed offers, full-service lease, personal letterhead, and employers liability insurance.

In the event that you want to found a Limited Liability Company or LTD you are supposed to do the following:

  • Check if the name of your company is not already used by any other legal entity in order to avoid any possible confusion.
  • Perform deposition of the capital on your bank consignment account. The minimum amount must be CHF 100 000 for LTD. As for LLC, the minimum capital is CHF 20 000. After that, the bank will confirm via a certificate that the capital has been contributed in the full required amount.
  • The founders’ signatures on the deed will be required before a notary. LTD establishment requires the appointment of the board of directors together with auditors. Nevertheless, the Opting-Out alternative allows avoiding an audit if a company includes less than ten employees. LLC should be appointed with a partner or a managing director including the auditor. The Opting-Out option is available as well.
  • Further, do the registration procedure in the Commercial Register. The director must affix his or her signature to the application and send it to the Commercial Register. Once it is done your status will be changed to legal personality.
  • In the end, the company will get the extract from the Commercial register. It means that now the enterprise can use its paid-up capital for different expenses including salaries, charges, rental payments, and so on.

The Fourth Step. Business and Social Insurance

The creation of a company requires an arrangement of employee and industrial risks insurance. You will need to be registered as an employer with an indemnification fund AVS/AHV that includes casualty insurance, earnings loss allowance, and insurance for unemployment.

In case when the total amount of salaries is higher than 21 thousand francs you will have to perform registration of your workers in a second pillar pension fund BVG/LPP.

In the event when your personnel works less than eight hours a week then all that you need is just to make a subscription to Federal Law on Occupational Accidents UVG/LAA.

You will also need public liability insurance, daily allowance insurance, legal insurance, property and casualty insurance.

The Fifth Step. Accountancy

This part of business operation has always been a bit frightening. Nevertheless, bookkeeping has always been mandatory for business management. It will be helpful with the estimation of the economic results of your company and will allow you to arrange it in the correct form. A skilled accountant is a real gift when it comes to drawing up a budget, following your disbursement history, and balancing your results that make your enterprise self-reliant. There are many other important points that must be managed by an accountant. The main of them are opening and closure of accounts, preparation of balance sheets together with profit and loss statements. All data regarding the figures must be taken into account without any exceptions. Hiring a professional accountant who takes over accounting burden will allow you to be focused on the other important features of your business.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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