Your brand name is an important decision so make sure to take the time to do it right. If you do happen to change your mind or if you find your brand in need of a change in the long run, you can still change your brand name through the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
3. Open a bank account
To be able to register as a business, you'll need a dedicated bank account. Most Belgian banks offer special accounts and discounted deals for people trying to start a business, so make sure to weigh all of the options.
This selection of Belgian banks specialises in business accounts and will not only be able to dip into their expertise to help you, they also have an English language version of their website helping you to do your own research before you see any representatives.
Although there are other on- and offline banks focused on business accounts, these well-known Belgian or international banks are more likely to keep up to date with latest developments and innovations like apps or easy-to-use online platforms.
4. Register with a social security office
Although many sources will tell you to register with a social security office further down the process of starting a business in Belgium, there's something to be said for registering early.
Even if you don't yet have a company or VAT number, starting a business in Belgium requires taking a lot of, sometimes complicated, steps. Most social security offices will help you take these steps and guide you through the different processes even if your business does not yet exist.
Your social security office's main function is to help you navigate how social security works in Belgium to make sure you're building social rights like child support and pension plans. But they don't stop there. Most of them will gladly help you choose the company form that best suits you, set you up with a bookkeeper and support you through just about everything you need to do to start your own business.
Well-known social security offices in Belgium are:
5. Choose a company type
Starting a business in Belgium requires quite a lot of thought and contemplation, not in the least about what company form you'll choose. Freelancers and other entrepreneurs face the same challenge: what type of company best suits my needs? What's best for right now? How could it evolve in the future? What effect will all this have on my taxes?
The most prominent company types in Belgian law are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, co-operative, partnership, assisting spouse and payrolling.
6. Draft a business plan
Drafting a business plan, like making a financial plan, are not required to start every business in Belgium. Sole proprietors and partners, which are 2 of the most frequently chosen company forms for freelancers, don't need any of this. But it is incredibly helpful to make anyway, especially for when you will register your company at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
Your business plan will help you determine your goals and get insights in how your company will evolve over the years.
It contains, among other things:
- Description of your company that describes what you do
- Market and competitor analysis
- Business and management structure (internal organisational structure)
- The offer you defined earlier on (products, services)
- How you will handle marketing and sales initially and over the coming months/years
- Other information like an elevator pitch
- Many consider a financial plan part of the business plan.
7. Design a financial plan
Your financial plan will help you consider everything you need to stay in the black and to make sure everything runs smoothly. It will also greatly help your bookkeeper to see where you want to go and how financially healthy your company is and what you need to keep it that way.
By gaining insights on the short and long term financial state of your company, you can always keep an eye on your progress and see if you're where you wanted to be by now. If not, you can make the required changes on time to make sure you still get where you're going.
A financial plan contains:
- Money you have invested in your company for professional purchases and investment
- Assets you have invested in your business, such as a laptop or even an office space you already owned
- Possible existing debts
- Projected costs
- Projected earnings
8. Set your freelancing rates
After finishing your financial plan, you will have a clear view of how much you need to make to be able to make your business profitable. You can use this information to calculate what rate you should set as a freelancer to make sure that you make enough money.