Company incorporation

Company incorporation and setup according to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce


Start your own business: 10 important steps

When starting your own business, there is a lot to look at. In this overview you will find the 10 most important steps. Some of these steps can be performed simultaneously.


  1. Research your capabilities and test your qualities

You want to start a business. But what kind of company? Would you like to start your own shop? What are you going to sell? What services are you going to provide? And is entrepreneurship really for you? See what the possibilities are for your future business, write a business plan and test your entrepreneurship qualities. This gives you an impression of whether starting your own business is feasible.

  1. Explore the market and determine your strategy

Starting your own business requires time and research. Find out where you are better or different from your competitors and determine how you enter the market with your product or service. What makes your own business different? What can you distinguish yourself from? Who are your customers and what do they want? Do market research and determine your strategy for the coming years.


  1. Create a financial plan and see if you need funding

To get your business off the ground, you need money. With a financial plan, you map out how much you need and where you get it from. You will also gain insight into your company's opportunities. This allows you to estimate in advance whether starting a business is profitable for you.


  1. Come up with a unique company name

For your KVK registration, you need a company name. A good company name is recognizable, lingers and makes clear what you have to offer. Check if your company name doesn't exist yet.


  1. Choose a legal form: BV or NV:

Before you start your own business, you need a legal form: a legal form. The legal form determines, among other things, your liability, but also what taxes you have to pay and whether you get tax benefits.

What is a public limited company?

A public limited company, or in Dutch a naamloze venootschap (NV), is a company with legal personality. The main difference between a BV and an NV is usually the size: an NV tends to be a larger company, with several directors.


The capital of an NV is divided into shares, which are held by the shareholders. The ultimate power lies with these shareholders. They are allowed to make decisions about the company. They may also appoint and dismiss the board.


The directors are responsible for the daily management of the company. An NV often has a supervisory board, which monitors the management (two-tier board). In other cases, the supervisors are part of the board (one-tier board). NVs that trade on the stock market have to follow the Corporate Governance Code, which describes how the management and supervisory board of the company have to inform their shareholders.


As of 1 January 2020, both legal structures are only allowed to issue registered shares. NVs are no longer allowed to issue bearer shares. Owners of bearer shares can have their shares exchanged for registered ones until 1 January 2021.


  1. Make sure your administration meets the requirements

Set up and keep records. I'm sure there are nicer things to think of. But as an entrepreneur, you are legally obliged to do so. So make sure your administration meets the requirements. For example, you need to clearly show how much tax you have to pay or how much VAT you get back.



  1. General terms and conditions and insurance

Starting a business also means taking risks. Identify your business risks, limit them as much as possible or cover them as best as possible. For example, with liability insurance and disability insurance. Don't forget your pension, either. And with terms and conditions, you immediately make clear what rights and obligations you and your customers have over and over again.


  1. Meet all legal requirements

There are no special diplomas for entrepreneurs. However, you should take into account the taking of specific courses or training courses for the course you are doing. Sometimes as an entrepreneur you also have to meet certain professional requirements. You may also face requirements for your business premises. For example, if you have a home business. Is that allowed according to the zoning plan? Can you establish your business anywhere? Do you have a separate business premises, is it fire proof and do you meet the environmental requirements? Your municipality can help you figure out the laws and regulations.


  1. Register your company with KVK

Ready for the official start of your business? Then you must register your company in the KVK Commercial Register. KVK passes on your data to the Tax Office. You do not have to register your company separately with the Tax Office. If the Tax Office takes you into administration as a VAT entrepreneur, you will receive your sales tax number and your VAT identification number (VAT ID).


  1. Look for customers

How do you get customers? Many entrepreneurs find customers through their network. See what events and meetings are in your area and visit networking meetings. See how to make more sales. Always be alert to fraud and deception.