#1 What do you need to research?
Nowadays, information is easy to come by, with google by your side there is no excuse for not doing proper research before starting your business. For starters, Statistics Sweden (https://www.scb.se/en/) gives you loads of information about Sweden and its demographics, covering everything from population, environment, Swedish culture, financial markets, business activities, labour market etc. that may be helpful for deciding the type of business and target market you want to tap into while developing your business in Sweden.
You can also pull up the trade organization website covering the field of work you are aiming for; they can provide information and statistics about the size and type of companies involved in the sector you are aiming for, as well as the rules & regulations that apply and the overall general state of the Swedish market.
A small selection of useful organizations in some of the most popular startup sectors:
- The Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association – resource for the Swedish hospitality industry
- The Swedish Trade Federation – information regarding wholesale and retail sector
- The Swedish Construction Federation – body for the construction industry in Sweden
- The Swedish IT and Telecom Industries – information about Sweden’s IT and telecom sector
- Lantmännen – national body covering agriculture and farmland resources
#2 Registering and protecting the name of your business in Sweden
Please check (Verksamt.se) to see whether your type of business in Sweden require a permit to operate, because certain types of businesses in Sweden require a permit. In this link, you can also get contact details for the bodies that issue them.
Every business requires a name when you become famous people should be able to identify you so choose wisely! The (Swedish Tax Agency) will allocate a personal identity number (personnummer)
How to start as a sole trader? The key step is registering for F-skatt – ‘F tax’ (the ‘F’ stands for företagare – entrepreneur). With F-skatt basically, you undertake work as an entrepreneur and not as an employee, so you will be held accountable if you do not administer your tax or social security payments.
Struggling about how F tax works? Check the (brochure) explaining how F tax works released by The Tax Agency. However, these are only in Swedish – it is important that you fill them correctly, so you may want to enlist the help of a translator and an accountant and/or make a personal appointment with the Tax Agency for guidance. Tax Agency also offers (free information meetings) giving systematic help about how to start up a business.
Criteria regarding your citizenship
Sweden has different rules and regulations about residency requirements for those moving to Sweden to start a company, depending on their citizenship. You will find the details and requirements on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website. Nordic citizens (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland), Citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) do not need to register with the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) or apply for a residence permit.
If you are a (Swiss citizen) and wish to stay for longer than three months, you will need a residence permit.
If you are from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland and intend to start a business, you will have to (apply for a residence permit) before coming to Sweden.
If you are a temporary resident in Sweden, you can apply to the Tax Agency for a (co-ordination number), which replaces the personal identity number and will allow you to apply for F tax status.
A wise move should also be done to protect your brand name and ensure that no one else is allowed to copy the name.
To register your business name, visit (the Swedish Companies Registration Office website). They will process your registration for a fee.
#3 Streamline your internal business operations
Make your business plan
Having decided on which market you would like to serve, it is time to start getting a business plan on paper. You cannot do business alone; you will need help from banks, investors. A good business plan comes into play in getting others to listen.
As with a CV, the format of a business plan can vary from country to country; in certain countries, the idea is everything, whereas in others a sound financial footing is the key. Verksamt.se offers an excellent guide to what Swedish bankers, investors and authorities look for in a business plan.
Now you are the boss and you might find yourself in the happy position of being able to offer work to others – then it is good to know the basic tenets of Swedish employment law.
Employment conditions in Sweden are regulated by the Employment Protection Act (Lagen om Anställningsskydd) – webpage in Swedish – often shortened to LAS). This act states that employment contracts are for an indefinite term unless otherwise explicitly stated in the employment contract. The act also contains a description of the four types of fixed-term employment contracts that cover everything from temporary replacement work to special legislation for those over the age of 67.
Swedish employment law has wide-ranging provisions for parental leave, holiday and pension entitlements. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with the legislation before making the decision to hire. Otherwise, it will cost you a fortune.
Another way to deal with your labour needs is to sub-contract to other sole traders like you – just make sure they have registered for F-tax. Translations of the relevant labour laws and acts can be found on (the Swedish government’s website).
You can also benefit from hiring students for internships, and to do so, you can follow our guidelines.
Get your bookkeeping right
Contact the (Association of Swedish Accounting Consultants) and they can help you find a suitable firm in your area. If you do not have a head for figures and tax and regulations, it is worth paying someone else to do it.
There are plenty of qualified firms out there that specialize in helping small firms like yours who will bill you an hourly rate for their services. One of the easiest ways to find a good, trustworthy accountant is to ask other entrepreneurs in the same field whom they use. The whole point of setting up your own business is to get the most out of your talents; an accounting consultant can also teach you how to write invoices properly according to Swedish regulations and laws.
However, remember that hiring an accountant does not free you from the responsibility of understanding basic bookkeeping, so if you have not already done so, take some time to learn the basics.
#4 Get Funds, Get Friends & Create routine for your business
Financing your business
Stating the obvious – unless assignments pour in from the beginning, you will need to make sure you can pay your regular household bills as you get your venture off the ground. Maybe you will use your savings to finance your first few months, or you might build up your business slowly alongside a full- or part-time job.
Of course, you can also apply to your bank for a business loan, but as most businesses are not profitable in the beginning, they will require you to put up some sort of security. An alternative for financing is (Almi Företagspartner) , a state-owned company that helps businesses with capital and advice. Though their interest rates are often higher than the banks, they usually require less security. You can read more about what they provide here.
Network is key
One of the keys to success in business is in making your network work for you, regardless of what country you are in. Besides friends, colleagues and relatives you might have in Sweden, how and where do you find people with ideas similar to yours?
You could contact your local branch of the Swedish Jobs and Society Foundation (Nyföretagarcentrum ), who provide advice to new businesses and hold regular events around the country as well as (business-sweden.se/en/(opens in a new tab)) that can help you connect with other companies. Another way to find advisors and build your network is through a website called (verksamt.se) – set up by three Swedish authorities (the Companies Registration Office, the Tax Agency and the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth); they have (a page to help you find advisors) depending on which region you are living in.
Swedes are very much an online breed, so as you get to know more people, use social networking tools like LinkedIn and Facebook to help you keep track of your new contacts.
The benefits of developing habits
On a more general note – organize yourself. Most entrepreneurs will be eager to work as hard as possible on the sales side, to begin with, but make sure you find time over for the administration side of your business too. This tip applies to any budding entrepreneur, regardless of where you are in the world.
Make sure to take some time each month to review your progress and talk to your financial advisors about what taxes or other charges need to be paid. Doing so will help you compare your progress to your business plan and allow you to make adjustments while keeping you on the right side of the authorities. and watch your networks grow.
We hope that you’ve found the information you were looking for to develop your successful business in Sweden!
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