Running your business in the Netherlands
Your business in the netherlands, is up and running, and even growing, congratulations. All that hard work is paying, off. Now, you're ready for the next steps. But what does that mean. Will you be hiring staff for the first time do you need to relocate. Is the legal structure you have chosen, steal the right one for your company. What about taxes. And how to manage, other business processes, with a view to growth. Do you have enough money for your future plans. There are, many questions. More than can be answered in one hour. That's why we have a chat team in place. You can pose your question through the chat function below your video screen. We'll make sure you receive, a response. If not during this webinar. Then soon afterwards. We will focus on four main topics in this webinar, for entrepreneurs, in the growing, phase of their business. Legal structure. Taxes. Staff, and financing. We will discuss these topics, with johan lafla, business consultant, with the netherlands, chamber of commerce. And entrepreneurs. Kareem sabri, founder and ceo, of the platform, expert republic. And getarashuk. Founder, and ceo, of babymoon. Welcome. Johan. To start it off with you. Um for entrepreneurs. When they start in general and have just kicked off their business. What in general, should they be mindful of. I think it's, it's a lot of things that you need to be mindful, for, once you, actually, start, the business, there's all kinds of processes, that you need to to work with. Um, you need to. You need to know where you're going you need to keep your eye, in the direction that you want to go with your business but you need to set everything, in place and in motion. That's that's, i think that's the most important step get your uh your your, get your clients get your paperwork, up and running. And start going in the direction where you want to go. And and what type of aspects. Come. Running with that set up in your business, and getting the legal work done. Getting legal work well i think the most important one is setting up your taxes. And, so at that point get uh, get your uh your money streams in order. Uh i think for for most startup companies that's that's the the the. Most important part, but once that's taken, care of then then it's going to be. Doing the actual business, getting out there get your name known. Get your clients, and start doing. What it is that you're good at doing. Great, so these are all, aspects, we will just zoom in later on in this webinar. But first, let's meet our entrepreneurs. Welcome, to both of you. Uh and jada to start off with you you have uh, founded a really special company around a special, baby product. Uh special baby carriers for especially, small, babies environment, correctly, could you elaborate. Uh well, yeah it is a pretty niche business, uh, we are looking, at. Really. Changing, the, the care. Approach, to newborns, but to children actually in their first thousand days of. Life, um. It's all evidence-based. And yeah. It started around the baby carrier, but it's. Actually a much larger. Angle, towards what we're doing but. Maybe to explain it a bit more we can watch this video you made, yeah, i think that would be easier, for people to understand. Hi i am jetta, i am founder of babymoon, care, and we are working, to, change, infant care to an attachment, model all over the world. I started. As an entrepreneur. Overall, in. Baby carriers. It was 2006. I had my first son, so i started, wearing my son i was in love with the concept, of that and like step by step i would. Figure out all the benefits, it brought to me. 2006. Up to 2010. I, was just making baby carriers. I wanted to not do the business, but then. The world told me like no we need you to do this. That's when i started working with the maternity, hospitals, in moldova. And, like, working, more, on a system of care rather than just a device. Babymoon, is actually a much more complex, system. Than just a carrier, company, well i come from moldova. I am in the netherlands, since 2016.. Since then there was a lot of. Groundwork. Covered. And, now we're working, in scandinavia, in the scandinavian. Region, and benelux. And we have a big important, project, coming up with tanzania. Kenya, and. That's done together with the united, nations. So. We have a lot of stuff going on. Back at the time when i came up with the concept. For me this was just fiction, and then here i am in the netherlands, and here i am, connected, by, the dutch. Entrepreneurial. Environment. To the united, nations. And here i am. Making that fiction that i came up with four years ago, reality, so, that's mind-blowing, to myself, even but aside from connections, like this you get really huge opportunities. And. There are so much more, doorways. Opened, to build a global business. That's valuable. So gaeta, how would you characterize. The current states that your company is in and in a nutshell, how did you get there.
Well, In a nutshell, it took a. Lot of effort, and a lot of, research, and, adapting. To the, environment, where i ended up. But, the current state. Would be. Like, we're. Right about, to. Take off so that's pretty exciting. That's super, exciting, congratulations. Yeah, and kareem to now introduce, you um you have like remember correctly an online platform, for expats, in the netherlands so they can, connect to each other. How would you describe, your rise to the stage that your company is at right now. Well actually i started off as a hobby just doing events and meetups for expats, because it's hard to move to a new country with no friends and no network. So it started to grow as a hobby and then we started to do bigger events and more events and then we became, also more online and with the pandemic, and we have articles, and webinars. So that's kind of how we grew and we got a lot of attention, and so people just started contacting, us and it's amazing. Let's also start watch your. Video cool. My name is kareem savory, i'm from canada, and the name of my company, is expat republic. We are a. English media company. Based in the netherlands, and we provide content, and events, and knowledge for expats, to make their life. Fruitful, and enjoyable, while they're in the netherlands, to help them also grow their network. In fact it was a hobby. I, i noticed that a lot of expats, were. Didn't have a lot of friends they didn't have a network, so, i stepped in and i enjoyed organizing, events so i just started doing loads of events and meetups. To kind of help them. Not be lonely essentially. We try and cover all walks of life, for expatriates. And internationals, so for instance. We will have a basics of investing webinar, we will have a seminar, about buying your own home. We will just do drinks like super easy just so people can meet. And, connect, and grow their personal and social network, so you want to kind of give them that, feeling of being at home. The way we make money is very simple it's a media company the same way a magazine makes money, with advertising. But the idea is it's a sort of smart advertising, it's helpful, it's knowledgeable. It's not, it's not inconvenient. Or intrusive. We really like to transfer, knowledge to our audience or transfer something nice to them so they have a good feeling. Right and so as a partner that will. Like to do that, to provide that to an international, audience, we're the perfect vehicle for that. So so for me the netherlands is an incredible place to be an entrepreneur. Loads of opportunities. Easy to do business in very direct very honest very straightforward. Lots of opportunities, access to capital. Access to. Labor force, a, good system. In place that makes doing business very easy, and you can also do it in english. So karim, are you also planning on professionalizing. Your business further. Of course we're always looking to grow we're already quite professional, i would say, we're, of course looking to grow and to expand to other european, countries, as well. And are you also looking then to maybe uh um. Turn it into a different legal structure, uh yeah of course that's, probably something we should have done already. But, everything has its time so i just want to make sure that things are done in a structured way that works for us and that we can continue to grow with a good foundation, properly. Ah so you are indeed looking to see maybe if you can change that yeah because especially, when starting a business also growing a business that legal structure can change. So that's a really important aspect that we will also dive in later on in this webinar. Thank you so much. But maybe, before we dive into that deeper johann, could you, explain to us what different legal structures, there are in the netherlands.
There Are quite a few legal structures, that you can choose from, i think the most well known are the sole proprietorship. In dutch called the amon sack which is the legal form most startup businesses, choose. When they when they register. But there are legal structures, for partnerships. That's also possible. And you have the possibility. To, register, a legal entity. Most common. Being the. Liability, company, being the bay. What is uh the main difference then between, is a sole proprietorship. And a bv. I think there's two, um, they're different. Um. When it comes to liability. As a one-man, business you're personally, liable, as a legal entity you're not so that's a huge difference. On the other end. When it comes to taxes. And your startup business. You might benefit, just a little more from the sole proprietorship. Than you would as a legal entity. So, when should you review, your legal structure in that case, i'd say that once you start growing. And. The the business starts increasing. And there's more money going around, your, liability. Becomes a bigger issue, and, you might want to start working with staff, all elements. That. Increase your liability. That could be a, point in which you make the change into a legal entity. And i would also say look at taxes. Once you start paying too much taxes, as a sole proprietor, i think that's going to be the cue from your, accountant, or your bookkeeper, to make the change into a legal entity. Yeah so that of course would be a huge advantage. To change, are there other. Main advantages. To switching to bv. Depends. If you go international. There could be an argument, and, being a director, of a legal entity, in foreign countries, is, easier to explain, than having a sole proprietorship. That could be one. And i'd say if you start working with investors. That's also. Then, also a bv becomes more interesting. Because you can have, investors, who can have shares. And. That's not possible, if you have a sole proprietorship, or a general partnership. And and how should an entrepreneur. Know when their business would actually qualify, as a bv, if it wants to take advantage, of all of this, i'd say that, you'd normally have your accountant. Who's going to look at your bookkeeping. They're going to give you a cue. And. I'd say that if you want to work with investors, and then scenarios, like that, you'll find out that that's the only possibility. But keep in mind that that it's not always, necessary, to change, you can you can start off as a one-man business or general partnership, and change into a legal entity. But there are also a lot of people who don't and who stay. Sole proprietors. Or partnerships, their entire, business career. Jetta you actually, started as a bv. Did you feel that as an advantage, and why did you choose for that well um. In my case when. When i came to the netherlands, in 2016. I came as part of a, business acceleration. Program. And. This was the structure, that they advised, us uh, from the very start, and, we actually have. A holding, company. Owning, the shares, inside, the bv, and then the investors. Come along and there's the whole stock so it's a bit more, sophisticated. Structure. Was it a good or a bad choice. I'm, not sure, it worked for me so far. So, i can't complain. But yeah. So for you it probably was a good choice. At that point yeah in some ways yes yeah, and johan, um. What will you say that transition, to bv, is always a logical next step for sole proprietorship. No. As i mentioned, uh, earlier, that. For some it is and i'd say based on. The growing of your business, and your liability. Increasing. And. Profit increasing, and that could be a reason, to change. Having the investor on board.
Could Help. Making that, that transition. But for some. It goes from a sole proprietorship, to a legal entity, and for a lot of others it doesn't, and they're going to stay. The exact same way as they start now. There's really it's it's not mandatory, you don't need to go to a, legal entity at some point. There's a choice, and the choice will depend, on your specific. Situation. And your needs, exactly. Yeah. We will come to talk about the tax situation, of a sole proprietorship. And abv, in the next chapter. For there's much more to this. But first let's continue, with a bird's eye view on the growing, and expanding, of your business. Business, is going well for mike. He wants to expand. What are his options. Should he expand, his product range. Higher staff. Start trading internationally. How about opening a branch office. Expansion. Comes with risks. And mike, needs to know what they are. Is there a market for his new products. Does he need extra insurance, for international, business or permits. Mike needs a growth plan to help him focus. He visits. Business.gov. Dot nl, the point of single contact website, that offers entrepreneurs. Complete. And up-to-date, government, information. Here he finds all he needs to know. The market research he has done is the input for his marketing, plan. He knows which products show the most promise. Research. Into the national, and international, market, has shown him where to focus his efforts. Next, he has to think about promotion. He needs to consider his target market, to find the right mix of traditional, and online, marketing, tools. Financing. Is an essential, part of growing. Now that mike knows what he wants to do, he needs to decide, how to finance, the expansion. Go for one source of funding. Or for a mixture. Market research. Marketing. And finance. Those are the ingredients, for a growth plan, that will work.
Mike Knows how to move forward. And so can you, with a little help, from business.gov. Yohan, do you have a general recommendations. For businesses, when they think of growing. I think that it's it's, um. You'll be looking, at uh, at. What your plans were right from the beginning i think that makes. I think that's a nice starting point, once you started your business you had a plan you had a vision you had, somewhere, you wanted to go and where you wanted to end up with your with your business. I think it's always good to. Keep an eye on what your plans were are you still on track are you still going, in the direction, where you want to go. So for those, who wrote a business plan. Keep working, with that specific, plan, look at what you were, estimated, on on doing. And, on top of that. You'll be looking into. Possibilities. Of growth you might want to start writing, a growing, plan, saying that i'm here now i'm still in line with what i intentionally, planned. But how am i going to go to the next step and you'll be thinking, about. Expanding, product, expanding, market, you might want to look into. Hiring personnel, relocating. All that kind of stuff. Is, the next, the next step and that's the thing that you'll be thinking of. Exactly so this growth plan actually is, sort of key, to to first taking that next step. What aspects, would you deem are most important to be named in this growth plan, i'd say that, look at, financing. Look at, staff maybe, look at your, location. Your legal structure, maybe i say that those elements are the things that you need to look into. Sounds logical, kareem, growth plan does that ring a bell did you put anything on paper, of course i did but you always have to refine, things it's about moving your business one percent per day that's my motto. So any remarks, do the growth plan that joanne just sketched. Essentially. You do look at your growth plan you do. We do put things on paper, we do take a look at okay, what's the next logical step for us, um, i'm, i'm not a fan of keeping things, super rigid right because, things always change, on a day-to-day, basis as long as the general direction doesn't change, i think you're good. That that sounds very logical. And how do you make sure that everyone and of course you uh, are able to keep focus in that case, well, it's very simple, you focus on your clients and you in our case focus on our audience. So, if you keep those two happy, you have to. Keeping the focus about keeping your customers. And your stakeholders, happy, essentially, and if you can do that, you're, usually going to end up in the right way. That sounds good. And in that case are there also any special remarks, for non-dutch, entrepreneurs. Uh definitely. Well the netherlands is a really great place to do business i would say just know the regulations. Get to know uh. What sort of company you want to start. Um. And, basically. Because at the end of the day a business is about, having customers, so find your first customers, and it's quite easy to do in the netherlands. Just because of the, business friendly environment, it's quite good actually so, well that's good to hear that's good to hear i hope that answers your question yeah no it danced it definitely. Um and now i would like to see uh what your strategy, base is so i have a statement for you sure um, in the running of your business. You should always, go after opportunities. Jetta to maybe start with you. Well you should definitely. Seek opportunities. But you don't take, all of them, you take the ones that work. For you and in line with your, planning and your business, directions. Because otherwise you just waste. Effort, and then you're all over the place so who needs that when you want to build something, specific, right. Do you agree with that, absolutely. Opportunities, uh it's always going for the right opportunities. But i i don't agree with being opportunistic. You see what i mean it's really, it has to match with your overall vision absolutely. And and you johan, as a business consultant. Do you agree with each statements, yeah, they're both uh. They're both right, and it has to work. For your. For your situation, it needs to be, you, your business, your planning, and you need to keep an eye, open for. Possibilities. But in the end, it needs to suit, your business, and they both, make that happen so yeah they certainly, do yes they certainly do so so jetta, looking at opportunities.
What Is your next step with babymoon. Well, um. Right now. Well. Well. We we have, a lot of uh, work to do on our plate because we're literally, like. In the middle of launching. Uh, on both our business directions, because we have a direction for consumer, market and one for the health. So. But first of all we have to parallel, lines of work so. And the team is, small enough, at this point so we can't, afford. Looking, for, opportunities. That are not, on our. Radar. That are. Maybe great and amazing, and, fantastic. But. Right at this point. Of where our business, is, we have to. Put value to, what all the pre-work, that has been done. Launch, get to. Get the, the goals that we were looking at and then after that we can maybe, take a phase of, searching, for an opportunity. For other, opportunities. Um. At a stage when we're, kind of. Transitioning, to another step, exactly. And i can imagine, especially. With the team you're describing. Financing, and launching, is really important in this yeah, but we can dive deeper into that later on uh great to hear that. Um kareem maybe a question for you again, what um, is at the top of your list, the first thing you do once you actually are beefy. That's a good. Question. Um honestly. It really doesn't. Change much to be honest because, i'm gonna do the exact same thing i do, every morning, i'm gonna wake up and i'm gonna think about my customers, and the people i need to help. So the legal structure, is kind of a transparent, thing and you probably want to just handle, hand over all that accounting, and tax stuff to someone who knows what they're doing. And, of course you can visit our website, for those, for those companies. Good to mention, good to mention, thank you. Let's summarize, what we've discussed. The big picture, of running a business, and reviewing, the legal structure, because of the changes. You should write a growth plan and try to keep the focus, on where you're going. You can find all the information, you need. On business.gov. Dot nl. Managing, your growth, means focusing, on several aspects. Taxes, for example. What changes, in taxes, when you become a bv. We will also discuss the possibilities, of hiring, staff. What type of employment, suits your business best, and what will change.
We Will take a look at financing. What types of financing, are there in the dutch financing, landscape. We will discuss these topics, with john lafla, of the chamber of commerce and our entrepreneurs. Jetta, and karim. Johan, with these different legal structures there are different tax. Tax regulations. How does that work differently. And based on i think for all legal entities. The one that you all have to work with is the vat. In dutch called the betavi. The the value-added, tax. And that's something, that works for every legal entity, the the main difference. Is, uh when it comes to income tax. Versus, the uh corporate, tax. That's. That's the biggest, difference, between. The, personal, entities, and the legal structures. Does anything. Changes in these taxes when you become a bv. Compared to the other legal structures, yeah the one that isn't going to change is the v80, that works the same, for all of. Them. The biggest difference is that once you have, a, one-man, business, or a general partnership, or the professional, partnership. You pay income tax overall profit. And. The difference with the, legal entity the beife, is that, you'll be paying, a salary. Which should be. What's what's, normal in the market but it needs to be at least 46, 000 euros. That's. Money that you'll pay your income tax over but on top of that. If there's more profit, you'll start paying, your corporate, tax and that's the biggest difference. Between. The. The, personal entities, and the legal structures. So, does that mean that i would if i would choose for bv, i would have to fill in two forms both one for the income tax and one for the corporate yeah it's going to be in two different, different tax systems, yeah so it's uh it's in addition, to, uh, just the income tax as a sole proprietor. Well that's that's good to know at least, um and are there also tax reductions, that entrepreneurs. Can use, yeah it's. Those go for the, one-man, business, and the partnerships. If you meet a certain criteria, you're entitled to all kinds of tax discounts. And. Those discounts. Won't apply, if you have a legal structure. And that's normally the reason, why. Your, profit needs to increase. On an annual basis. Before. Switching, to a legal entity, becomes, interesting, from a tax point of view. Okay so. You would say that in becoming a bv. In a tax point of view it would be a disadvantage. But especially if you're making more profit. Uh those were way up against each other that's true that's right are there any other deductions, maybe for the other legal structures apart from the bv, that these entrepreneurs could benefit, from before, um. Yeah based, i'd say that. Those are not. Part of the actual legal structure but it depends on your activity, once, once you start doing something, there might be subsidies. Or research, and development. Things that you can use. For your business but those. Don't, solemnly apply to just the legal form it has to do what it is that you're doing. That sounds logical, okay that's good uh well in that case let's start talking about hiring, staff. Jaita do you currently. Employ staff uh yeah we have a team of eight, right now, oh well that's the executives. And the, office, team. And everyone, is working on. On their own terms. Because we're still fundraising. At this point. We have, people who we hired for zero, hours, and then, they they get paid, per. Jobs day well, number of hours they actually put in. But then there are people who are full-time, and, they are, very important, to us. For growth, and yeah.
And Then yes there are, people, who we deal with externally. And just do contract, basis. So you actually have quite a few different ways of employment. Do you do you also have these different ways of deployment, uh essentially, we. Work mainly with freelancers. So, writers, editors, uh marketeers. Essentially, and they're, no one is employed, by us we just have freelance contracts with them. I'm sure that has its advantages, and different structures. So maybe johan. You could enlighten us in a theory. What kind of different types of employment, are there in an evidence, there are so many ways. To. Import people, there's there's a scenario, for each and every one. But i think that the biggest difference is you can hire someone, as an employee, directly, so put them on your payroll, and then start working, from there, i hear you saying something about zero hour contracts, which is, fine too you still be their employer, but, the amount of hours worked, is. Is variable. That's an option. You can hire, people, through temping, agencies, through, payrolling, organizations. And you can even hire. Independents. Like freelancers. Or set. People. Um, that's uh that's all possible, so you'll be looking at whatever, works for you yeah and there's probably an option for that, of course yes that's what entrepreneurs, should always keep in mind what works best for me. And maybe that's a, great intro for the next statement i have for entrepreneurs. And the statement is it is better to have, fixed term contracts. Than flexible, ones. And i feel you might both have a different answer to that but kareem let's start with you. Uh, i'm a big fan of flexibility. So. You know my answer. I figured that would be the case, will that, differ maybe when you become a bv. In the future, uh yes and no, we just need to see how the growth plan goes and what the resources, and skills will need it's all about what's available readily on the market so i can imagine that we will. Need that. Based as the company grows we will need new skill sets in the business so. That sounds logical, um and jada. I believe from your story, you you had several types, well um. It really depends, on. Who we're talking, with, with and, what. Exactly, what's the type of work that they are. Putting, in and uh. Like for example, when there are. Things related, to intellectual, property. Because we have a lot of innovation. To what we're doing. So there are, probably, rigid, terms, that we would impose. But on the other hand, having flexibility. In our collaboration. With anyone who work with us, i think it's pretty important, because you can't just be, a woodpecker, about this. That's true no and especially, when you're talking about ip, is really important of course yeah so there's not one which you particularly, would prefer.
No. I mean it's situational. You you have to adapt to the situation, to the task at hand. So when you started babe moon in beginning, uh did you start with the flexible, ones or the fixed term ones. Ah well when i started, i started, with exploring. Where i landed, let's put it this way and it took a while and at that stage. There was a lot of. Research, development, done. By, me mostly. But then when i had to, get people. To, do something, for the company, then it would be a, short-term. Like task. Based agreement. And. It was it was limited. Now at the point when, we have people. On an ongoing, basis, being as part of the team and, doing the monday meetings, and all of that with. With a stable, team it's a bit different. But still we we keep the the flexibility. And we still have people from outside the company. Also providing, input so. Uh it's a matter of, right now it's a matter of like managing, what's, on the inside, and then, all those. Satellite, supporters, that we have so. That sounds like a colorful bunch together. Um would you i do have any advice for the entrepreneurs, at home how they could choose what would, best suit their, company. Um well i would think just to. To know exactly, the requirements. They have for the people they hire, and based on those requirements. Adapt, the the way they hire them. I think that's good advice. It's best to know what you want, in. Upfront, so. So then maybe a quick theoretical, question for you and again can a sole proprietor. Also hire staff yeah that's possible, yes yeah that's possible. Is that possible, in, any legal structure. Yeah the sole proprietor, only says something about, the number of owners of the actual business so there's going to be one owner as a partnership, you'll have multiple owners, as a legal entity, both can apply. But it only has to do with. Ownership. And, both can have. Employees. And in all scenarios. That we just mentioned. And i can imagine of course when you, actually employ these people on fixed terms, these are probably having uh financial, consequences. Um could you tell us a bit more about that, once you hire, someone. Then they, become, your employee, at that point, you need to set up a a. An administration. There's a payroll, taxes, that need to be that need to be done that need to be set in motion. Um. For, some. It's fine to do yourself. I hear a lot of people saying that now i start working with personnel, the first thing i'm going to do is hire myself a bookkeeper, or an accountant, to make sure that payroll taxes are taken care of the way it should be.
But Um. Yeah, in the end um. You'll you'll have to do with um. With, employer, stuff, and um. Yeah you touch upon a really important point there because of course there are many regulations. And rules around that so, what would you say are the most, important, uh, employment, contract terms and condition, in the netherlands here that you should be aware of well it's first off it depends, on the. Contract, that you're going to set up will you be setting up someone, for let's say 40 hours a week for, the rest of their life, that that's, a different scenario, than when you start working with people on a zero hour contract. So that's the first thing that you need to look at, what kind of agreement. Am i going to set up and once you do, there's there's all kinds of stuff you'll be paying your. Employer, wages, for your personnel, the salary that's that's, required. Most of the times people actually want to earn some money. Um. And you'll be paying, some some benefits, on on top of that as an employer, so that's uh that's important. But there's, um. All kinds of um. Well as i just said there's the minimum wage that you need to take care of. You need to set something in place for, for holidays, and and stuff like that. There's pension. There's. Insurances. That need to be covered. All those elements combined. Make. The official contract. That's quite a bunch of rules and regulations, to be aware of there is, so, kariva, and jada are any of these dutch rules that we have here did they come as a surprise were they different. Uh to what you were used to. Well. I worked here already for quite a few years so there was a lot of stuff that i knew about the system, so it was a little bit easier for me um. Yeah in that sense. For you, no i i, well i think these are all points that are, valid and relevant, wherever, you do business, so, you have to keep all of that in mind. On the other hand if i compare. Just the paperwork. Processes. Here. It is much, less complicated. Than in eastern europe where i come from. But then. The fact that it's uh, simplified. Has to make you a bit more aware, of what you're putting into that contract. Because when you're. Just. Winging, it. That's not a good idea, ever so. Uh at times it's it's actually good to have a possibility, to. Have an advisor, to ask someone, uh for their professional. Input. Um. If you feel that you are not, qualified. Well enough to. Build the contract, yourself. Because sometimes, you can just uh. Not be aware of some aspects, and then that can bite you very later on yes that's good it's good you mention it uh because just to sort of close this off are there any other more, aspects that our entrepreneurs, should know, when working with staff here, i'd say that always, start at the beginning. As already mentioned, by. Our two guests, today. Is that that. What it is that you're looking for. And. If you have, a very, clear picture, of what the future is going to look like it's going to be much easier, to hire someone. Directly. For a, longer period. So. Look at. The coming months, maybe, the first, one two years, see, where you're planning on going and based on that, you can make the right choice regarding, your your stuff, so have a clear picture. It applies to every segment, today. Yes, um, have a clear picture of where you want to go. Think about it and have a clear picture, that's right and then you can start with your staff. And i can imagine you have staff and your employees.
They Have to work somewhere, do you have an office space at merman, yeah yeah we do have an office space i'm very excited about that because we moved to the office just a few months back. So. It's really exciting, that. The people can. Come we like no well, there is this point that a big part of our team works remotely, because they're not located, in the netherlands, we have people in switzerland, we have people in tanzania. We have people in moldova, so it's pretty easy and how do you find them actually if they're from all over, it took a while. Do you use linkedin, or how do you find them, well. It's. Some people yes. Someone actually i found on linkedin. Others. It was just a matter of engaging, the networks, that. I i have so. Well me and then the other people involved. Um. And it doesn't have to be linked in necessarily. It's just a network, is a network it's just, human connection yeah so that's the biggest part probably, a good, network, and through that finding the right employees, yeah is that the same way you do it getting with your freelancers. Uh actually it's a little bit yes, in some way yes the thing is we already have a huge following i mean we have close to 110. 115. 000, followers, as expats, living and working in the netherlands. So for us to recruit talent is. We just use our own network. Um already, people come to us and solicit, us hey can i write for you can i work with you so. Oh wow i've had that luxury, actually so that's great and i have some incredible, people on my team that i'm really proud of and it's it's been really a nice journey so, so actually it once again then comes down to network but in that this case the fact that everyone knows you instead of you know everyone, looks to problems, they stay in dutch. Because, for data for you again then with hiring, staff, what are actually the most important aspects you look at when hiring a new person. Well. At this point of the development, of the company, we're definitely, looking at people. Who can deal with. Uncertainty. Well. Uncertainty. Is not necessarily, a 2020. Thing, especially, when you're dealing with startups, and innovation. Um, and, we're looking at people who can self-organize. And, can be. Goal-driven. And. That's, probably, a common denominator. That we're looking at. But then, also. Having, good background, in the specific, work that they are doing, that's. That's important, no that's really important look what they've done and see if they can build on from there in your company.
I Believe we've got quite a lot of tips for entrepreneurs, regarding, hiring, um so let's go to financing. Uh johan could you elaborate a bit more on the types of financing, there are in the netherlands. Um. You can, uh, ask friends and family, you yeah that's, i think that's the easiest one um. There's uh. Micro credits that you can apply, for there's. Bank loans, there's, investors, that you can. That you can, get into your your business. I'd say that for every scenario. There's an a. Possibility, to. To gain money somewhere. Quite a few number of ways to get to financing. Maybe it's interesting in that case to have a statement for entrepreneurs, again. And the statement this time is i recommend. Looking, for funding. It. It depends, because once you take in financing. From somewhere, else. There are restrictions. And uh terms, to that financing, it to that finding, financing, do you actually need the funds, because, raising money for the sake of raising money. Without a purpose, and you see a lot of entrepreneurs, they get their pitch deck really good to oh i raised so much, but in reality. In my view the best investor is a paying customer. That's true that's very true that's very true, how do you look at this well i agree, with kareem completely. So. There are, like most of the times it's best to have the p the paying customer. Then on the other hand, um, like when you have to deal with like in my case, uh, because we have, all the research, and development. Because we're dealing with electronic, textile, and. Things that are like. A physical product, well aside from being a physical, product it's also innovation, and it's not something, that's. Common and widespread. You have to fund. The innovation. In, way in various, ways you have to figure it out how to build it because. It's a long process, because you have to build it you have to certify it blah. So. The good opportunity. Here. Is actually the possibility, to fund r d, um. Because there are a bunch of subsidies, for that there are a bunch of. Grant opportunities. There are, even. Loans, that. Are, non-dilutive. So then you can still keep the ownership, of your company but then again you can also have access to venture capital. Which is a. Useful, tool. Uh, but again it depends, very much on what you're doing. Because uh if i remember correctly you are currently in the process, of uh funding right, yes yes, how did you get to the choice of which funding you were going for. Uh, well um. In my case, uh aside from the fact that we have a lot of r d in our company, i still have, a physical, product, that. Is already. There and ready for market release, because the. The innovative, version well. They are all innovative, but the. The electronic. Connected, versions. They still have to go through, like, a a lot of work. Uh but we have a product ready for, release to market, which means that, i can have. My company, income and i can have paying clients. On top of the r d part so, that's a specific, of my company because i have colleagues, in the startup, world, who. Only have, the r d for the first three years, and they can't, generate.
Income, So you really looked for r d funding in the beginning. We are looking for r d funding. At this point as well. But. So. Yeah. And how did you know how to find this on the funding did you have a network, again. That was a process. That was a challenge, uh, like to be honest i had uh, three years that were really really financially. Like we had to go through. A very tight belt, let's put it this way, uh, period, um. Uh the bootstrapping, phase oh. Yeah. But then again. It wasn't, easy, but on the other hand i think, it's important. Not to take in funding. Before you know where you're going, before. You can handle it as a company. So. Yeah we had to explore, so we. We took our moment. Well that's really good but then but then again. We also. Uh, took that time period, to explore the possibilities. For funding. Because. Here the netherlands. Does give you a lot of opportunities. That are on a spectrum, like you can literally go from subsidies, from grants, and loans. So. Aside, from just the money coming, in, you have to also take into account like do you want to keep shares in your company, do you want to. Deal with other people telling you how to run your business, do you want to, uh, like put an effort on pay out loans. So. You have to have a funding, strategy. Yes. Not just like oh there's cash let's get let's go. So i can imagine that this strategy of course had to be written up in a written plan, for when you were looking for this funding, yeah well. You have to put things on paper because, when you go to any funding, organization. They will not uh give you the money just for the pretty eyes. No, that's true that's very yeah you have to, turn it into a document. And, but before you put it on paper you have to know what you're putting on paper and then you have to do the research, before, that. So it's a back tracking, thing kareem do you recognize. This situation. I mean you have entrepreneurs, in your network, that are looking for funding, uh yeah sure we see it all the time uh and what's actually interesting in the netherlands, is there's actually. Like advisors, that can actually go and help you raise money, yeah of course. They take it yeah. But that's a profession that's readily available, to to help. People raise money so, we're quite lucky setting up businesses in the netherlands, actually, would you advise, entrepreneurs, looking right now to also look at one of these coaches. Yeah absolutely definitely, 100. John can you also relate to dance's, uh gate and.
I Was wondering, uh. Did any of you uh uh, contact, me in the in the, uh because we, as an organization, as well can help. In the. Early process, of. Getting. Possibilities, out. And maybe even. Refer, you in a certain, certain direction. But yeah i, totally agree with, what what was just told and. And again keep an eye out for. What it is that you need i think that's a very valuable point. It's not just about raising as much capital. As you, as you want and can. But there's a need, and. That needs to be clear and once you know that, you can decide, which way you're going to go and that makes it a lot easier to write, write down all the necessary, paperwork. So totally agree, yeah, that's good to hear, then the advice can be followed. We have been looking at taxes for entrepreneurs. And what changes when you become a bv. And we looked at the forms of employment, in the netherlands. And the things that you should take into account when you start hiring, staff. If you want to know more about financing, your business. We recommend, you watch our webinar, on this specific, topic. There. You learn all about the dutch financial, climate, and preparing, to apply, for dutch funding. And more about, financing. Options in the netherlands, we discussed, briefly today. You find this at our website. Business.gov. Dot nl. In the last part of this webinar, we take a closer, look, at some important, business processes. Such as digitization. And cyber security. And how do you prepare, if you want to expand your dutch business, internationally. We will conclude, with the advice, that our guests have, for you as an entrepreneur. With a growing business. John, we've talked about, taxes, about staff, and financing. What other really important, processes. That you should look at as an entrepreneur, for growing your business. I'd say that. It's. Actually the two things that you just mentioned, uh, the world becomes more and more digital, these days, there's a new privacy, law in place, with a lot of requirements, that you need to meet. The avg, in in dutch, gdpr. In in english that's really something, that that has been here for uh, for the last. Last few months last year. So, that's really something to take into consideration. And there's, uh. Cybercrime, these days, that becomes, more and more um. That that's more here than it was a few years ago. So, be careful, with what you do. Digitally. And. To avoid. Those, those scenarios. And. I think that's that's an important, thing, and, um. Yeah and also, once you start, growing international. I think, that's uh. That's a huge, um. Topic to, talk about. Yes i can imagine, especially. During part that digitization. Your uh, your work has changed a bit in the last few years. Yeah, so maybe asking our entrepreneurs, then i mean these aspects, that joe and just mentioned, do you pay attention to those as well. Yeah absolutely. Yeah, sorry absolutely, yeah. Um, essentially, yeah in terms of cyber security. It's something that you have to invest in and be careful i mean, we can see it when there's attacks and stuff on our website. Um, additionally in terms of digitization. Yeah, the covid pandemic, has forced us to do only webinars, now so unfortunately, we're not doing, uh in-person, events for a while. And the data privacy yes you have to respect all the rules, tell people what you're doing with their data and get their consent, it's. It's. These all these aspects, are very real in today's world. Yes and they're becoming more real by the day yes especially the digitalization. Just because of the situation. Yeah and gait i mean especially because you use electronics. In your product i can imagine that also, um yeah well, first of all you definitely, can't avoid, uh. You can't pretend that these regulations. Don't exist and not take them into account. Um. But yeah, uh definitely, a lot of uh. Part of, a lot of the parts of the business, are going online and you have to go digital, in. Many aspects, even if you have a physical, product. Uh because there is the communication. And the interaction, with your client and that's, one of the main stakeholders.
Anyway. Uh when you're doing a business. But then when we go, when we're talking electronics. And uh, doing like i do have to deal with sensors, and uh. Of course, um. It's still in development. Of course it has to go through. Certification. Processes, but. In our design. Process, we, keep that in mind, so. It's. Getting secured, by design. In. Terms of how we're developing the software, yeah because it's very. Sensitive, information, because we're looking at the health. Of uh, infants. So. Like yeah it can't go, any more intimate than that especially, so you don't only have to look at digitization. For your company but also for your product yeah so you have it both ways. Good luck with uh trying to figure that out then, well. We're taking our time. Good. Smile. It's my plan. Uh because other than just digitization. Um johan what other advice would you give entrepreneurs, who are thinking, of taking their dutch business abroad. Look at the potential, market, where you're planning on going, look at. Is there, a need, for the product, that you're providing. And. Do you have the necessary. Market knowledge, of that specific, country or will you be needing, local people, to help you. To get it up and running. I think those, those elements, are, are very important. And and. I guess that, in your case. Actually, coming from another country that that's helpful, you'll probably have your network. Uh people who can, help you. Gain, access to the foreign market. So use that use your network, and if you don't have one yourself, there's all kinds of. International, networks, that you can, hook up with, the enterprise europe network, for one is. Is one that can actually help you. Launch a product. In a different country, yes a really important one good did you mention it john. This webinar, is too short for all the information. But on, business.gov. Now, you find all the information, you need. Along with specific, tips for finding customers. And business partners. For example. The netherlands, enterprise, agency. Offers the business partner scan, to quickly provide, you, with an overview, of potential, business partners, in your chosen country. So gata, which other markets, apart from the netherlands are you looking at, well actually. We're looking at scandinavia. For a bunch of reasons. And. We have connected, with a distribution, company, there. For the consumer, market, but then for the. Health. Part of the business. We are looking, right now because, we are tackling, infant mortality. So, we looked at a region, that, has. That specific, problem, and that's why, we, are going to tanzania. And well. We are launching there.
That's Amazing, to be launching especially, yeah we're launching, our initial, study, in in a hospital, there because we're making a tool for. Uh preventing, neonatal, mortality. Um. But, also on top of that. Because of the. Nature of work that we're doing. I had. Actually really good support from the dutch government, in connecting. The business, to the united nations, programs. And, that was super valuable, i i can't state the value of that wow so so what does that bring you then. Uh so. Literally. When was it last year. Uh. There was. I had the connection. With the. Rvo, officer. Who. Who is in charge of connecting, dutch companies, to the un programs. And. Then i became part of this. Procurement, seminar. With the united nations, i joined the dutch, delegation. To copenhagen. To. The. Wow, yeah it's quite amazing, so then we got to register, as a supplier, for the united nations, which is. Really high value. Opportunity. For a company, like mine that's good to know that this type of connection can come from that yeah, exactly, so kareem. Looking three years into the future, uh what will your goals be and maybe in connection, with of course the government that can take you there. Well. Honestly we're looking to just continue to grow and of course grow to other countries, as well, um. Yeah the whole, system in the netherlands, is very supportive for entrepreneurship. From. You know just having access to capital, having access to, labor force having access to information. And every everything, readily available in english as well, so it's it's just a whole business, mindset, i think. In this whole infrastructure. That we call the netherlands. Is super helpful, so, so that was actually one of the easiest, aspect because it's so set up in the netherlands. It's just, super easy, it's really incredible. But that's good to hear of course and, in retrospect. If that was one of the easiest and best parts, what was one of the biggest challenges, you had to have come, in all honesty. When i started doing this, i, just did it out of love and out of kindness, to help people but that doesn't pay the, bills. So. Actually. Just to know, that i had a business and what to do to make it a successful, business that it is today. That was really the challenge. Finding, what i need to do and that's the thing is, knowledge, and knowing what you need to do is probably. In my opinion, the most valuable, thing, yes, it's more valuable, than money it's more valuable. Than, a lot of things so, and i think it's also good for entrepreneurs, at home to hear, that you don't have to start off with used capital. But you first off with a passion. And that's your driving force. Because gata, in retrospect, for you as well what was your, biggest challenge in starting babymoon. Well. My biggest, challenge, was, um. Figuring, well it wasn't a challenge it was just a process that took a lot of time and effort, uh it was figuring out, the lake, the landscape. Um. Because. I did come to the netherlands. And i was in the program the program was done with. And then. It took a while to set up a network. Here, specifically. And because i'm, pretty niche it was. It took a while before i. Found the right people. Um. Is that something that you would, do something indifferently. If looking back at it. I don't think so. Like, in finding the right people that you say oh if i would have known this then for example. Um, like. It's just. Yeah i can't blame. This is not something to put blame on but, uh. I have a pretty good knowledge of the international. Scape. Landscape. Of the baby, carrier, world. And. I am fluent in romanian, english and russian. And, but i didn't know dutch, so. It, was. But this is a market specific, situation. So. I came here. And i was looking for like baby carriers. In the netherlands. And i found nothing. And then i would ask people in the program, like but they were, business. Related. People so they had no network, to that so it took me actually, over a year, because i didn't know the language, and i didn't have the local network connections.
But In the end i i have done that maybe. Yeah it would have been nice if i did that faster, but that's that that's that's how things are yes all the processes, take time yeah it's also good to know that this language it just turns out that, the specific. Uh, language. In the niche that i'm working, is very different, in touch than it was, but but this is a case specific, situation. So kareem did you also have a language bearer problem. I speak dutch. Oh that's true yeah, so you didn't have that but actually, uh. Because i'm kind of catering to an international. Audience, and my clients are, catering, to that same audience. All their communication, is done in english, so it's actually really authentic. When i'm just speaking in my native tongue. But, no i mean i can read it it's basic dutch is helpful, but it's not mandatory. To to have a successful, business in the netherlands, i can name you tons of expats that i know that have crazy successful, businesses. And their dutch is uh nitso, best. Yeah but that's good to hear especially, because we're also talking about expanding our business internationally. That's the language barrier, of course in some specific cases could be a thing. But usually. I mean english is quite well brought. Spoken. So, how do you think uh kareem, first off you will be able to manage your international, growth in the upcoming years. With calm and serenity. Meditation. And breathing. It's all about having good people around you yeah. It it really is that, i cannot stress the fact have the people you click with people you can trust, bill you can rely on, and, and you know. You give the trust and you you just do your best and focus on your clients. And and the people you work with. Would you agree with that, definitely. Is there is there also maybe a difference, when you're going and broadening, your, view internationally, when you're looking for funding. Well you always have to work with the people, you click with, like, wherever, you go. Because uh, like, otherwise, it's just. Eating you up like, you you can't, that's very true yeah. You don't want to, if you want to achieve your goal you can't afford you can't afford. Putting yourself, under, stress, and. Like you don't throw yourself, under the bus you have to. Manage. The business but you also have you have to manage your own, state, and your own, sanity. And health. So that you can be. In a good shape, for the time when you achieve that goal you're working towards so, it's important. Yes so the people around you are most important, both working with, but also your funding partners. Yeah we should really keep in mind. So, karim. We've heard you talking of course about your expert republic, the walking network. Where you were able to connect. People and move on. But i was really interested, how did you find, people that help you, um. Uh. Actually the same way via via through people that i know or, through our own network, so, literally when i need help with something, i ask my community. So expert, republic, yeah and so that already is so wide that i can get a lot of reach and get the help that i need, just it's all about being transparent, say, hey. I need this help. And it you know you put out positivity, into the world it comes back to you it's. Really is that simple. So so, would that also be your advice for all the entrepreneurs. Watching at home right now yes definitely, try and connect with as many people as you can go to networking, events, join, join different expat, facebook groups join dutch, groups. You know local community, get involved, get to know people ask around. Um there is a culture in the netherlands, a very entrepreneurial. Uh, culture about. Helping one another and that that's very deeply rooted in the culture so, it was, quite. Easy for me to get a lot of help, it's, just that business, trading mindset. Is so omnipresent. So, we're very lucky, um and i can imagine that's different in other countries. So would that advice be different if you look outside of netherlands, uh, i think on on a general level there's.
There's A lot of commonality. Around the world, people are generally, good people and want to help. I just find that the whole, business and trade. Is so, ingrained, in the dutch culture, also historically. So i think just the ease of doing these things and it's also very efficient, and everything is very well structured. So it's it's not so much, like, the structure here is really good when you compare it to, other countries, that's. That's really the main thing. Well that's good to hear yeah yeah that we are here yeah thank you, do you have a last bit of advice for the entrepreneurs. In how to take that next step. That next step, um. Well, just keep going. And. Yeah, like. Find your goal, and then. Work towards it. And then if it. If it's too much. Then, ask for help. Or. Like, and again you have to keep in mind that, the business, is not necessarily. Forever, so if it doesn't work, do not hesitate, to stop, do not hesitate, to restart. Do not hesitate, to restructure. Um. Because that's how entrepreneurship. Works. And always, if i. Understand you correctly, remember what your passion is and keep going for that yeah. Well thank you so much thank you all, for your contributions. To this webinar, today. So, we can conclude, that when your business is up and running and even growing, it becomes important, to look at issues such as data protection. For you get to deal with the general, data protection, regulation. The gdpr. Or industry. And when you're looking to expand your business across the borders, you should do research, on the best markets, for your products or services. Last but not least we've seen the importance, of a good network. And the challenges, of keeping your eyes on the future. We hope you all managed, to stay focused. We've come to the end of this webinar. We hope this has been an inspiration, for you as an entrepreneur. Running your business in the netherlands. For more information. Please visit our website. Business.gov. Dot nl. Thank you for watching, good luck with your business, and we hope to welcome you at our next. Webinar. You.