How To Start A Small Business In 2022: Complete Step-By-Step Guide

How To Start A Small Business In 2022: Complete Step-By-Step Guide

How to start up your own business in the Netherlands

If you would like to be your own boss, then the Netherlands is a great place to consider starting up your own business. However, there are several administrative issues expats need to take care of.

To be able to start up a business here, you must first make sure that you can stay in the Netherlands. EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are permitted to live and work in the Netherlands under EU law. If you don’t come from an EU or EEA country, or you’re not Swiss, then you will need to apply for a provisional residence permit (MVV) and in some cases a work permit (TWV).

Residence permit for self-employed

In the Netherlands, it is possible to apply for a residence permit as a self-employed entrepreneur. This application works with a points-based system, for which a minimum number of points must be met for the application to be successful. Importantly, the enterprise must serve an essential Dutch interest.

Startup visa for entrepreneurs

Since 2015, the Netherlands offers a residence permit known as the startup visa. This one-year residence permit is specifically tailored to international entrepreneurs who want to launch a business in the Netherlands.

Refine Your Business Idea

Most business advice tells you to monetize what you love, but it misses two other very important elements: it needs to be profitable and something you’re good at. For example, you may love music, but how viable is your business idea if you’re not a great singer or songwriter? Maybe you love making soap and want to open a soap shop in your small town that already has three close by—it won’t be easy to corner the market when you’re creating the same product as other nearby stores.

These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Once you have your idea, measure it against whether you’re good at it and if it’s profitable.

Consider Your Why

Are you struggling to come up with a business idea that sticks? Consider your “why.” To be successful, you’ll need to have a clear purpose for starting your business. This “why” should be much deeper than simply making money—it should be something you’re passionate about so that you’ll stick with it through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

For example, perhaps you’re a parent to a child with autism. Your child loves travel, but it’s difficult to identify locations, tours and cities equipped to accommodate the needs of differently abled families. You could start a travel agency or some other initiative specializing in autism-friendly travel—even going so far as creating a certification of some sort labeling a destination as autism-friendly.

How to start a business

At this point, you may be wondering where to start. Should you work on your business name and logo or tackle your business structure? Does it make sense to already start applying for loans or focus on product development?

It can be difficult to know the right steps to take. But that’s ok. Starting your own venture is all about trial and error. Working through the process to find what works for you and what resonates with potential customers.

1. Determine if entrepreneurship is what you want

This step is not supposed to dissuade you from starting your own business. Rather, it’s here to get you thinking and planning. In order to start a successful business, passion alone isn’t enough.

Conduct a self-assessment

You need to plan, set goals, and above all, know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How will these affect day-to-day operations? You could conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself to figure this out.

As you get started, your business will likely dominate your life so make sure that what you’re doing is stimulating and challenging, but not completely outside of your expertise. You’re going to be in it for the long-haul. Use what you learn from the SWOT analysis to think through what you want your life to be like, not just what you want from your business.

Answering these questions (and many more) about yourself and your abilities isn’t necessarily going to ensure you’re successful, but it will get you thinking about your goals and about what motivates and inspires you. Use this time to make sure that you are matching the business you want to start to your personal aspirations.

2. Refine your idea

Once you know why you want to start a business, it’s time to find and develop your idea. More than likely, you already have something in mind after going through your self-assessment. But if you need inspiration, you can check out our sample plan library to explore different industries, or read up on trending start-up ideas.

Now it’s not enough to just think you have a good idea and run with it. You need to validate that there is a need. You also need to start addressing whether this idea is sustainable or not.

Start with a Lean Plan

We’ll get into the specifics of how to explore the market and determine if you’re idea is a good fit in just a moment. Right now, we recommend that you consider starting a Lean Plan to help make the rest of this process much easier.

The Lean Plan is a simple, one-page document that helps you refine your idea. It ensures that you’re considering your mission and value proposition early on, while also providing structure for the more technical portions of your business. In fact, it will provide you with the perfect template to tackle the rest of these steps.

Download free lean business plan template

3. Conduct market research

Once you decide on a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, it’s time to evaluate your idea. Who will buy your product or service? Who will your competitors be? This process will help you address your opportunity, value proposition, the market size, and competition sections of your Lean Plan.

Evaluate your target audience

It’s not enough to just state the current market. You need to know what portion you’ll be able to claim and if it’s really possible. To determine how attractive your prospective market really is, we suggest doing a market analysis.

  • How urgently do people need the thing you’re selling or offering right now?
  • What’s the market size? Are there already a lot of people paying for products or services similar to yours? Have you honed in on who exactly your target market is? Being specific will help you focus your marketing message and investment.
  • How easy is it (and how much will it cost you) to acquire a customer? If you’re selling enterprise software, this may require a significantly larger investment than a coffee shop.
  • How much money and effort will it cost to deliver the value you would like to be offering?
  • How long will it take to get to market? A month? A year? Three years?
  • How much up-front investment will you need before you can begin?
  • Will your business continue to be relevant as time passes? A business that repairs iPhone X screens will only remain relevant so long as the iPhone X sticks around. If your business is only relevant for a specific period of time, you will also want to consider your future plans.

Research the competition

If you like, you can even take things a step further and consider the consumer needs currently not being met by businesses in the industry. This is a good time to take a look at potential competitors. And remember, the presence of competitors is oftentimes a good sign! It means that the market for your product or service already exists, so you know that you have potential customers who are willing to spend money on your product or service.

Prepare for growth

The best thing you can do to take advantage of any mistakes is set up review processes to help you make decisions. This is where the Lean Plan, or full business plan, you’ve been working on comes into play.

If you have your plan up to date, you can set up monthly review meetings to go over the numbers, your strategy and develop forecasts for the next month, quarter, and year. This is a simple way to keep track of performance and actively make decisions based on actual results. So, rather than reacting to bad situations, you are preparing for them and facing uncertainty with certainty.

To help you start your review process, you can download our free cash flow statement and balance sheet examples to begin tracking your financials. And for a simpler solution, that makes reviewing forecasts and financial statements faster and simpler, you may want to consider LivePlan.

With LivePlan, you can create your Lean Plan, full business plan, pitch, and develop forecasts all within one platform. But, if you’re not quite ready to invest in a planning platform, the templates within this guide will be enough to help you get your business up and running.

Candice Landau



Going Back to School at Age 30 and Up: Is It Too Late?

Health care

(BLS), healthcare is an industry with one of the highest predicted growth rates at 15%. Going back to school for a degree in health care may prove to be a smart career move with plenty of job opportunities.

1. Health information technician

Education needed: There are several ways to earn the credentials needed for this position. Some positions may require an associate degree in the field while others may require a bachelor’s in health management, health information or another related field.

2. Substance abuse counselor

Education needed: First, you’ll need to pursue a degree in counseling. After gaining practical experience in counseling, you’ll need to earn a state license to counsel substance abuse clients.

3. Registered nurse

Primary duties: A registered nurse provides extensive care to patients in a variety of settings. They perform diagnostic testing, administer medications and assist doctors with medical procedures.

Education needed: You’ll need to pursue a degree in nursing and go through extensive certifications and training. Entering a nursing program can be both challenging and competitive, though it is possible to become a nurse at the associate’s degree level, perhaps building upward in schooling from there.

4. Dental hygienist

Primary duties: A dental hygienist performs basic and advanced dental cleaning. They also capture and study images of patient teeth and gums to advise dentists of necessary oral care. A hygienist may also be licensed to administer types of anesthesia.

Education needed: A two-year program certified by the Commission on Dental Accreditation may provide you with enough training to start work as a dental hygienist, though additional licenses and certifications may be required depending where you live.

Information technology

Another growing field, information technology (IT), offers job potential within a range of positions involving emerging technology and digital platforms. Here are some ideal jobs in IT:

1. Web developer

Primary duties: Web developers work with web designers to create websites for clients. They use coding and programming skills to build a website from planning to publishing on the internet.

Education needed: Earning an associate degree in web design may help you begin your career in this field. More specialized web design can require you to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or another related field of study. Additionally, there are many coding camps that provide training that could set you on this career path.

2. Information security analyst

Primary duties: As the need for cybersecurity increases, so does the need for professionals who understand how to protect computer networks from outside attacks. Information security analysts create and implement cyber security measures for organizations.

3. Software engineer

5 Benefits of Going Back to School

By taking the key considerations above into account, you’ll be better placed to take up your studies with a clear mind. Here are five important benefits of making the decision to return to school.

The first benefit of going back to school is to enjoy an experience you’ve chosen for yourself — not because someone else wants you to or that it is expected of you. Many students entering tertiary education straight out of high school do so because of parental and peer pressure. It can result in students taking courses they have no real interest in, which can lead to a poor university experience or diminished performance.

As a mature student, you’re better equipped to fully appreciate your learning journey. You’ll be doing a course you’ve chosen, with a good understanding of how it will benefit you in the future. The extra miles under your belt also puts you in a better position to excel, thanks to greater maturity and more refined skills in many complementary areas of your life.

Advice for Going Back to College at Age 30

Once you overcome your fears and decide to go back to school, the journey isn’t over. In fact, it’s only just begun. But that’s part of the adventure, and the proper preparation could ensure you spend your time learning, not stressing.

Do Plenty of Research Before Applying

There are thousands of options when it comes to college. You need to do your due diligence every step of the way to make sure that you find a perfect school for you. This includes researching different schools, majors, and concentrations to find the program that best suits your goals and expectations.

But once you’ve made your mind up of going back to school at 30, doing all of this research could actually prepare you for the rigors of the classroom. When performing research, set aside specific time every week and dedicate that to your search for colleges and programs. This will get you in the habit of sitting down and getting work done at specific times – an important habit to have for your future studies.

Manage Your Time But Have Fun

One of the biggest obstacles of going back to college at 30 is managing your time. With all of your various responsibilities, the only way to achieve your goals is to find a balance. That means scheduling time to perform your coursework, even if you attend an online program, so that you don’t get distracted.

It may seem like your coursework on top of your professional responsibilities are going to make it so you never have time for your family or for relaxation. However, the quickest way to burn out is to avoid the things that bring you happiness. Don’t forget to set aside time every week to spend time with your loved ones and your friends. They could be a great source of happiness that may relieve the stress of pursuing your degree.

Create a Plan

No matter how motivated you are to earn your degree, there will come a point where the inspiration has evaporated. It will seem like a never-ending process and the stress and doubt will creep in. If you don’t have a concrete plan, this may be the time when you take some time off and then never get back to it.

That’s why creating a plan is such an important part of going back to college. It should be clear and concise with milestones, timelines, and even rewards built in so you can always have a clear vision of the end result in mind.

Having rewards, such as a weekend trip or a shopping spree, could provide you with short-term goals. This might give you something to look forward to that is closer and more achievable than the overall goal of earning your degree. And keep you moving forward.

Know What You Want to Do

In order to get the most out of your experience back in the classroom, you should have clear goals as to what you want to achieve. This doesn’t only mean the degree that you want to earn, but also some of the skills you’d like to develop and any additional licenses or certifications you may need to pursue. Think about how you’ll use your degree or the next step in your journey after graduation.

Having as many of your goals clearly defined before you go back to school will make the tough days that much easier. Some students also have pictures of their family or of a graduation cap and gown on the desk to act as constant reminders. Find something motivating and keep working every day.