Go virtual – how a virtual office can support the success of your UK business

International expansion is the goal of many businesses and while launching your business in a new marketplace is very exciting, it’s critical that you spend your time doing the things that bring value to your business. For companies, and startups in particular, the most important resources you have to play with for the new market launch is time and money. A virtual office solution is one of the many ways in which you can reduce your costs, and save yourself time, so you can’t afford NOT to consider it when you are starting a UK business.

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is a cost-effective solution for creating a UK presence without renting a physical office space and employing office staff. It provides all the benefits of your own office space, but for a fraction of the cost. You might disregard these tasks as trivial, but they really can eat your time and be a distraction from the activities you should be focusing on to grow your business.

Virtual office solutions can cover a range of different services. Some of the most common virtual office services include:

  • Telephone answering
  • Post handling
  • Customer support
  • Meeting room hire

How can a virtual office support the success of you UK business?

A virtual office brings several benefits and could increase the chances of your success in the UK market. Here are some of the main reasons our clients choose to use a virtual office solution to ensure their UK business thrives.

Focus on your core strength

A virtual office gives small businesses that are entering the UK market access to the support functions needed to run the business operations without having to employ someone to do it. When you establish in a new market and only have a few employees you need them to add direct value, at all times, and contribute to growing the business. A virtual office is a great solution to maximise your resources before the business warrants creating a permanent job for tasks like answering the phone and other administrative tasks.

Flexibility

Finding the perfect office takes time, especially in London where office rents are exceptionally high. Jump too soon and you might find yourself caught up with an expensive lease that is not fit for your longer-term growth plan. And even if the goal is of course a successful UK expansion, unforeseen situations can occur that might result in that you want to exit the market.

It’s just simply not worth risking the cost and investment for an office when you just start out in a market, as your key to a successful market launch is flexibility. A virtual office gives you just that – flexibility, while at the same time offering all the benefits and processes needed to give you a head start on the UK market.

A good impression

But a virtual office also offers another very important advantage for companies operating in UK– it gives the impression of an established and more serious presence in the UK. Business is all about relationships and a UK phone number and address gives you credibility as a business as it shows commitment to the market.

A UK presence sends an important message to potential clients and suppliers. Just think for yourself –would you rather do business with a company that is in the same country, or someone who is elsewhere in the world (and likely a different time zone).

So is a Virtual Office only for companies launching on the UK market?

Not necessarily! Businesses of any size and at any stage of growth can reap the benefits from using a virtual office solution. It all depends on your business’ needs and what services you require. Virtual office services provide the flexibility to grow with your business while always maintaining a high level of professionalism, so it’s an excellent solution also for scaling businesses. By outsourcing your non-core business activities, you give yourself more time to focus on growing your business, regardless if you are just starting out or if you are more established on the UK market.

So as you can see, a virtual office solution gives you both a better chance at impressing potential clients, as well as more time and money on your hands. If you are just starting up in the UK and want your UK business to get a head start without involving too much risk and capital, or if you are a more established business that want to streamline your operations and maximise resources, then a virtual office is definitely something you should consider.

Goodwille’s Virtual Office service, available in both London & Warwick, provides you with a selection of services to suit your needs at any stage of your business’ growth. Read more about our Virtual Office services here or contact our Front of House Manager Evy Rune to find out how we can help create a UK presence for your business.

Differences in business culture in London, Berlin and Oslo

London, Berlin and Oslo – three European capital cities all considered to be great places for business. One might think that if you are successful in one of the cities, you can plug and play your strategy if you plan to expand to a new market. It’s Northern Europe after all! However, in some aspects the business culture and how business is conducted differ significantly between the cities. Below are just two of the aspects that work differently in London, Berlin and Oslo.

Employment

In London, most of the employment is based on a permanent and pensionable format. Employees’ health and safety, insurance, pension and statutory deductions are borne directly by the employer.

However, in Berlin, the trend of freelance and agency workers has taken hold. Many companies prefer this sort of arrangement as opposed to full-time employees. Germany has a strict policy on employee welfare and labour laws to safeguard the working environment, workplace safety and regulations.

Oslo, as Norway is not part of the EU, has its own governing structure on labour regulations. Their culture and Jante law is the reference point of most business decisions. Norwegian are also thorough in their prior research, pre-prep and screening of potential employees. Once you get into the system, your future is safeguarded with laws protecting from arbitrary firing and dismissal.

Contractual Agreements

In London, when it comes to drawing agreements, it is considered prudent to have everything in black and white with lengthy contracts and contractual processes that safeguard the welfare of both parties in the business and working environment.

Comparatively, in Berlin, “a short contract is a good contract” as long as it covers the legal bases and the parties involved are well aware of the consequences of a breached contract and the laws that abide.

In Oslo, however, their general culture has a big influence on how they conduct business. They take time to go through the documents, do in-depth research and checks before making business decisions or having ink on paper.

Goodwille help businesses mainly from the Nordic and Germanic regions with expanding to the UK. Our extensive knowledge of working in the intersection of these cultures makes us a great partner when launching on the UK market. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you in the UK!

Three things to consider before joining the UK market

If your business has been successful in your home country and your services and products have also received some interest from UK consumers, congratulations! However, before setting up an office in a foreign country, ensure you consider all aspects. Here are three questions to ask yourself before entering the UK market.

What are your objectives and why the UK?

Goal setting and having clear objectives must be a priority for every business to be successful, but especially when entering a new market. You will need to know how your business is currently operating and ask yourself some key questions:

• What are my long-term and short-term goals?
• How does my business compare to others in the UK market?
• What are my business’ current profit margins?

Next, you need to ask yourself how the UK helps you achieve these. The final decision to open a UK office should hinge on how well it meets the key objectives of your overall business plan and not on specific factors in isolation such as tax, employment conditions and legal aspects.

Of course, while achieving business objectives is paramount, you also need to consider where in the UK would best meet your needs. While London may seem the obvious choice, other major cities such as Manchester, Aberdeen and Cambridge might pose specific benefits for your business’ skills niche or industry.

What type of entity do you need?

Deciding what business entity you will operate under is not to be taken lightly as it can have implications both in the short term and the long term, particularly with regards legal aspects such as paying tax, sharing out profits, making company decisions and liabilities.

The three most common ways foreign investors set up a UK company include:

I. Registering as a UK establishment – commonly referred to as a UK branch

II. Incorporating a UK subsidiary, where the most common is a private limited company

III. Incorporating a limited liability partnership

Finding the most suitable business entity may require expert help, and seeking advice from an expert can be very useful. An adviser with experience of helping companies setup in the UK can help you make the decision by asking all the relevant questions. Before you make the decision of the type of business entity, we recommend considering the below aspects with your adviser;

• The business’ nature and likelihood of prosperity in the UK
• The period you expect to be in the UK
• The challenges that you might face in establishing your business in the UK
• Administrative costs and disclosure requirements
• Tax implications

What legal implications will you face?

Next, you will have to deal with the legal side of things. The business entity you have chosen will determine your duties and responsibilities. In either case, you will have to register your business with Companies House and with HMRC, the UK tax Authority. In addition to this you will also have to factor in the necessary time for completing all the required registrations and paperwork before you can legally start trading in the UK.

Once you have considered the above and decided to enter the UK market, you will be in a position to enjoy the many benefits that the UK has to offer, including good infrastructure, specialist skills bases, a healthy business environment and a diverse yet skilled workforce. If you need advice on how to set up a UK company, you should speak to the experts at Goodwille. We can advice on the most suitable business entity to your business and your legal responsibilities in the UK. Read more about our Corporate Legal services or contact us today for more information.

UK Investment Support Directory

Goodwille is one of the best service providers to support inward investment to the UK!

Department for International Trade (DIT) launched the UK Investment Support Directory in May 2019, to help overseas businesses with finding the right support when setting up or expanding in the UK. We are honoured to announce that Goodwille is one of the UK specialist firms listed in the Directory as experts in helping foreign businesses establish on the UK market!

About the UK Investment Support Directory

The UK Investment Support Directory is a collection of companies with skills and experience in helping overseas businesses establish or expand in the UK. The Directory includes service providers carefully selected by DIT based on their experience and expertise in the UK marketplace.

The aim of the Directory is to provide a link between foreign businesses and local experts; it helps overseas businesses to find the most appropriate local support by listing UK service providers by industry and experience, all in one place. If you need specialist advice within a specific sector or with specific language skills, the Directory makes it easy for you to find British businesses with just the expertise and experience you are looking for!

Goodwille is in a good position to assist foreign businesses with navigating the UK market. We have over 20 years of experience helping businesses mainly from the Nordics to set up an run successful UK operations. With clients ranging from tech startups to retail chains, we are well equipped to support businesses in any sector.

On our Business Profile Page you can read more about the services we provide for overseas companies thinking about expanding to the UK, as well as some examples of companies we have helped to achieve UK success.

The full UK Investment Support Directory is accessible on DIT’s website.

Are you looking to set up or expand your business in the UK? Contact Goodwille today to hear more about how we have helped over 1,800 businesses set up and run a successful UK operation. We are happy to share our experience and help businesses from abroad off to a flying start in the UK!

Goodwille Joins the Regional Jury for Nordic Startup Awards

Press release 13 May 2019

Following a successful first year, Goodwille are excited to announce that they have strengthened their strategic partnership with Nordic Startup Awards (NSAwards), and joined the Regional Jury for the NSAwards Grand Finale 2019.

For the 6th year running, the NSAwards will be recognising the individuals, startups and ecosystem supporters that contribute to the boiling hot Nordic startup scene. The prestigious startup competition and events series culminates in the Grand Finale that not only celebrates and showcases the great achievements in the region, but also provides the network and connections to go further. The winners of the Nordic Grand Finale will compete in the Global Finale to be crowned the best talents of the global startup ecosystem in 2019.

Kim Balle, Co-Founder & CEO of the Nordic Startup Awards says “We’re very pleased to have Goodwille on the Regional Jury this year. Their experience helping Nordic businesses to get a foothold in the UK where many Nordic startups begin their international expansion makes them a great addition to the jury, as they know what the world outside the Nordic region is looking for in startups”.

Goodwille has vast experience helping startups and tech businesses, including previous NSAwards nominees and winners, with expanding to the UK from the Nordics. Goodwille first became a Nordic Partner to the NSAwards in 2018 to strengthen their position as the leader in helping businesses from the Nordic region with their expansion to the UK.

James Service, Marketing Manager of Goodwille says “We’re excited to continue our partnership with NSAwards and to offer our support to Nordic startups with the ambition to expand globally. We’re proud to share our experience of helping startups and tech businesses establish in the UK and provide invaluable insight to what’s needed to succeed internationally”.

Show your support for the actors that will shape our future – nominate your startup superhero to Nordic Startup Awards 2019! The national nominations for NSAwards open mid-May and the nomination deadline is 26th August. Seize the opportunity to apply yourself or nominate the individuals, startups and ecosystem supporters that you think deserve it the most.

CLICK HERE to get to the nomination page – and remember! Anyone can nominate anyone in any category, so spread the love and may be the best ones win!

Press Contacts

Kim Balle, Co-Founder & CEO, Nordic Startup Awards
kim@globalstartupawards.com

James Service, Marketing Manager, Goodwille
james.service@goodwille.com

Goodwille sponsors London Bootcamp

Sweden is great at producing innovative startups, many that have grown to become unicorns! The international opportunity is great for Swedish startups, if only they dare to take the leap!

Goodwille, who has supported Swedish tech businesses like iZettle, Readly and Tobii in the UK, have a special love for Swedish startups with the ambition to conquer the world outside the homeland. That’s why we are happy to sponsor London Bootcamp that gives selected Swedish startups the boost they need to take the step!

About London Bootcamp, Tech Forum and Tech Fest

London Bootcamp is a newly introduced accelerator programme for Swedish startups, organised by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket). The one-week programme takes place in London, Europe’s hotbed for startups and tech businesses, and coincides with London Tech Week. It offers selected startups the opportunity to learn everything the need to know about scaling up their business.

London is one of the top destinations for ambitious and innovative Swedish startups that want to expand internationally. The tech delegation of startups will during London Bootcamp meet with leading experts in scaling tech businesses. Goodwille, with vast experience helping Swedish businesses establish in the UK, will share our best tips for UK success. Our session presents the typical journey for setting up in the UK and the options, risks and costs associated with expanding to the UK. We will reveal common pitfalls to avoid, key success factors and the practical steps necessary to launch in the UK. The startups will leave with hands-on advice and be better equipped to tackle an international scaleup.

The Bootcamp culminates in Tech Forum, this year themed ‘Scaling future technologies’ held at Google’s UK HQ on Thursday 13th June. Tech Forum invites startups, investors and anyone with an interest in tech to come together to discuss what defines disruptive technologies. The Forum is succeeded by Tech Fest, offering excellent networking opportunities while overlooking London from Google UK’s rooftop, where the Bootcamp participants get to pitch to leading tech experts and investors.

If you are not one of the lucky startups to participate in London Bootcamp, you should definitely join the Tech Forum and Tech Fest! It will, without a doubt, be one of the highlights of London Tech Week 2019!

Read more about London Bootcamp and the events here.

Britain will always be open for business: Alexander’s 5 tips to secure UK success

This is an advertorial by Goodwille, originally posted in The Link Magazine April 2019 issued by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. Read the magazine here.

Goodwille, a Patron of the Swedish Chamber, have been helping Swedish businesses with their expansion to the UK for over 20 years. Alexander Goodwille, who recently celebrated his second year as CEO, shares his top 5 tips to give you the best chance at UK success.

1. Pitching your products and services

No matter how many times you’ve successfully sold your products and services in your home country, your pitch needs to be tailored to meet local standards when you enter a new market. In some cases, a few minor tweaks to your content or format may be all that’s required. However, in some cases, a total overhaul might be necessary to reach your target market. When researching the UK market, be sure to look at potential changes to your pitching early so that you are well-prepared and not taken by surprise by cultural differences.

2. Build on previous successes

If your product or service has been successful in Sweden, there’s no reason to think that it will not achieve similar or even greater heights following your UK expansion. In fact, the more success you have had at ‘home’, the more likely you are to succeed in a new location. Remember that the UK market is highly competitive, so be sure to capitalise on your successful track record as it will make your UK pitch much stronger.

3. Choose the right location

The location that you choose for your new UK office is very important to your success. There are a number of factors to consider, including whether your business is sales or product driven. You must also research potential talent pools, since recruiting the right staff will be essential to the success of your new venture.

Ease of travel by road, rail and air are also important aspects of your location to consider, especially if you are intending to commute regularly from Sweden. Logistics are also important if you have a product to distribute, and locating your business somewhere central to the main motorway network may also be something that is important from both a practical and costings perspective.

There are often government grants available, designed to attract businesses to certain regions, so it can be worth looking at cities other than London.

4. Make sure you’re ready, not just wanting

International expansion is a noble goal, but you can’t hope to succeed unless your business is sorted at the local level. It’s not just about ensuring you have the funds to cover expansion either. Growing your business into new markets will take a lot of your time and focus. Unresolved problems in your local marketplace will inevitably interrupt your dedication and expansion plans. If the problems are serious, it could even hamper the success of your expansion, so make sure you have a firm footing before you leap.

5. Do your research & ask for help

It’s beyond important that you invest as much time as possible to understand your intended marketplace. It sounds obvious, but the expansion process can be easily stalled by unexpected issues.

Learn how the UK market operates and what it requires. Not only will it make your entry as seamless as possible, it will also give you the best possible chance to achieve success in the long run. Consider every aspect of your operation from supply, through delivery, and into customer aftercare.

Make sure you spend enough time in the UK and get to know the new market properly. Do not underestimate the importance of local partners, like Goodwille, that can guide you through local regulations and introduce you to the right people!

To find out more about how Goodwille can support you with your UK expansion, or existing UK operation, please contact me directly on alexander.goodwille@goodwille.com

The best UK Market Entry Advice in 2019

The UK is a great place for business! Successful growing businesses from abroad often look to the UK when planning an international expansion; it’s a business-friendly environment with a strong talent pool and good access to capital. Where else could be a better place to grow your international business?

However, entering a new market require some planning and also, sometimes, some expert advice and support. Our friends at Rochester PR Group, a London-based PR agency specialised in market entry PR, have compiled the best UK Market Entry tips from leading market entry experts in the 2019 edition of their UK Market Entry Advice booklet.

With more than 20 years’ experience helping foreign businesses enter the UK market, Goodwille was asked to contribute with our best advice on how to succeed in the UK. These are the top Do’s and Don’ts that our CEO Alexander Goodwille thinks businesses should consider when launching in the UK;

Do

Focus on what is important to you, delegate everything else. Take specialist advice, especially in areas where you have no expertise or which are not core to your business growth.

Research your market and your competition. Find a niche and build from there.

Network. Tap into anywhere you can to get help – nothing works better than a personal introduction.

Don’t

Don’t make assumptions. What works at home may not work in the UK.

Don’t rush. Plan and budget – but if it’s new technology you need to be first to market.

Don’t underestimate how important it is to get agreements right, especially employee and supplier contracts.

Want more advice on how to maximise your chances of success when setting up a business in the UK? Download your copy of the 2019 edition of the Market Entry Advice Booklet here.

Goodwille has over 20 years’ experience helping businesses from abroad establish in the UK. Our services are designed to manage the practical aspect of setting up and running a UK operation, so you can focus on your core business! If you are considering the UK for your next international move, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

Amsterdam startup scene

It’s not hard to understand the reason Amsterdam is known as the startup capital of Europe! There are so many thriving new businesses in the Dutch capital, including Adyen, Elastic and Booking.com. Some of the reasons to choose Amsterdam as a base for your business expansion or European startup include:

– It’s an attractive city in which to live and work, with a huge pool of international work talent to draw on for recruitment purposes. The city has an amazing history and a compact size, making it easy to travel between different areas. English is widely spoken so communication is generally not an issue for English speakers.

– Amsterdam is a tech-savvy city, so it’s not surprising companies like Tesla, NextDoor and Netflix chose this location as a European HQ

– Amsterdam has a great infrastructure and connectivity with other major European cities, like Paris, London, Berlin and Stockholm which makes it easy to grow any business. The capital is also home to one of the highest broadband concentrations in the world

Setting up a business in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is ideal for startups as business costs are remarkably low. KPMG highlight that the Netherlands is one of the top countries for low business location costs, particularly in the digital arena and for research and development.

Starting up a business in Amsterdam is remarkably easy. If you’re based outside the EU you can apply for a Startup Visa and will just need an innovative business plan in place and the available financial resources to prove you can exist for at least a year in the Netherlands. What’s more, there are a variety of innovation incentives and R&D tax credits available to provide even more incentive to grow your new business in Amsterdam.

When you initially start up your business you need to pay €50 to register at the local Chamber of Commerce, although incorporated businesses (like a BV) will need to pay for a notarial deed, which costs around €300. It’s not essential to have startup capital prior to registering a BV, either.

Once your startup is registered with the Chamber of Commerce, all details are automatically passed on to the Tax and Customs Administration, known as Belastingdienst. The business is then issued a VAT registration number.

The corporate income tax rate in the Netherlands is 20% on the first €200,000 of business profits, with 25% due on any profits over this amount.

If you’re planning an international expansion, you should get in touch with Goodwille! We’re experts in helping businesses expand to the UK and can provide advice and support with everything you need for a successful expansion. 

Advice for launching a fintech startup in London

If you’re looking to expand your international fintech business or start up a new venture in the London area, you are probably already aware that London is known as the world’s fintech capital. It is an attractive startup location for foreign businesses wanting to expand internationally, and the most popular destination for Asian and American companies expanding into Europe.

Goodwille specialises in assisting international businesses set up companies in the UK. Check out our advice for setting up a fintech company in the UK:

UK business climate

Despite Brexit, the UK startup scene is thriving and many businesses still look to London to launch European operations. The UK government offers comprehensive guidance for overseas businesses thinking about launching in the UK.

Setting up a UK company

Setting up a UK company is a pretty straight-forward and quick process. Company incorporation is done via Companies House, UK’s registrar of companies, which is responsible for holding information about all companies in the UK. Albeit the incorporation process in itself is simple, we recommend you seek specialist advice to make sure your company is set up with Articles of Association, minutes and other legal essentials. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal department can help with setting up a UK entity and help with ongoing compliance for your UK company.

Payroll issues

If you plan to employ workers in your company, you will also need to be registered for UK PAYE. PAYE, pay-as-you-earn, is the system used for the deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions. The UK is in the process of making tax digital, so it is important to opt for a payroll provider that can meet all required obligations, now and in the future. Statutory pension contributions may also need to be deducted from employee salaries and your business is likely to be required to contribute towards employee pensions, too. Goodwille specialise in payroll and pension and can answer any questions about payroll or pension requirements in the UK.

Potential grants or funding

The UK offers access to a mature and streamlined business grants and funding sector. London fintech providers could well qualify for R&D tax credits or other funding awarded by Innovate UK.

Goodwille can help you launch your London fintech business. We offer legal, finance, HR, payroll and insurance advice to ensure your new company meets all UK requirements. Get in touch with us today to find out more.