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Old 31.08.2008, 23:20
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little internet business - Do I need to set up a GMBH?

Hi folks,

I have had an idea recently of a product/service that is popular at home that is not available here. For the sake of this post/analogy lets say its "strawberry jam". I was thinking I could make and package this jam at home and sell it via the internet "www.strawberryjam.ch". Im looking at numbers and am at early business plan stages now. I know nothing though about swiss law/business. My target market would be initially expats and the english speaking community but I do believe the swiss would be interested in the product as well. I intend to start small and grow slowly if Im successful. Do I need to set up a GMBH initially? Should the business fail I would envisage that I wouldnt have lost a lot, the cost of the website and initial stock that I assembled. However to help it succeed it would be helpful to have access to a cash and carry to buy supplies which I believe a GMBH would give me? Have others done similiar? What advice would you have for me?

Thanks in advance.
Marmot.
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Old 31.08.2008, 23:43
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Re: little internet business - Do I need to set up a GMBH?

You could simply be self-employed and full in Hilfsblatt A on your tax return. This has been covered before here...
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Old 31.08.2008, 23:55
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Re: little internet business - Do I need to set up a GMBH?

You do not need to register as a company until your turnover reaches an excess of I think 70 000 CHF per annum. You can at that point register as an "Einzelfirma" or sole trader. This means that the name of the company must include your name and all representations ie flyers etc must have the full company name it for example "Marmot's strawberry jam".

To register a GmbH you need to make a deposit of 20 000 CHF and should always keep a balance in your assets of this amount (more or less). The change in the laws now allows only 1 person to be the owner of a GmbH whereas in the past it required a minimum of 2. An alternative would be an AG but I think that might be a little beyond your needs.

The main advantage of registering as a GmbH or AG for that matter is that you as a "private" individual cannot be touched should things go badly ie debt... Should you have unpaid bills the "betreibung" will not be on your register and name (which as you know here in CH is important for things such as applying to rent an apartment) but would go to the company.

As for your question:

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However to help it succeed it would be helpful to have access to a cash and carry to buy supplies which I believe a GMBH would give me?

Thanks in advance.
Marmot.
I am not sure how registering a company would suddenly give you money... wish it would... Applying for credit from banks (an opperations credit) is however easier with a GmbH and showing a good financial track record. I do not know how easy it is to apply for a start up loan but again, a good business plan etc certainly helps.

In my opinion the best website for info on all this stuff is:

http://www.gruenden.ch/index.php?L=1

Although aimed at the regulations for Kanton Zurich, the general rules tend to apply across the board. Anyone feel free to correct me here though...
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Old 01.09.2008, 14:35
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Re: little internet business - Do I need to set up a GMBH?

Thanks Lynn and AbFab,
Those are great starting points for me, as you can see I know nothing about the swiss set up so Ive plenty of reading there.


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I am not sure how registering a company would suddenly give you money... wish it would... Applying for credit from banks (an opperations credit) is however easier with a GmbH and showing a good financial track record. I do not know how easy it is to apply for a start up loan but again, a good business plan etc certainly helps.
Just to clarify, I wasnt very clear before, I dont intend to borrow to set up the business but am going to use savings. I was told that if I set up a GMBH I could use cash and carrys to buy essentials to create the product (pots, labels, lids for the jam analogy). Im trying to establish for my business plan the true cost of creating the product here. What are the rules for accessing a cash and carry - could I do that without a gmbh?
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Old 01.09.2008, 14:43
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Re: little internet business - Do I need to set up a GMBH?

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What are the rules for accessing a cash and carry - could I do that without a gmbh?
For Cash & Carry, it's best to contact them directly. You don't have to have a registered company. But I would recommend a professional approach.

Registering a company may help you gain credibility with suppliers and customers - but it's not absolutely necessary to start off with, when you may want to spend that money on essentials of setting up the business. You can always register at a later date.

If you are going for "strawberry jam" (analogy - any kind of food), you might want to make yourself familiar with the Swiss Foodstuff Laws - Lebensmittelgesetz - which is regulated right down to the amount of additives permitted in whatever.

As Lynn says, Gründen.ch is a good place to start.

Good luck !
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