Things to consider when starting up in Norway

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Starting up a new business sounds easy. In fact, Norway is one of the countries where it is easiest in the world to start a business. Making sure you have thought about absolutely everything when setting up something new can be a real challenge. There are plenty of excellent public sources of information, but certain issues still require some personal advice.

Start up in Norway: required, recommended and optional services

Let’s start with a general overview of services that you should and could take out. This is by no means an exhaustive one, but simply a general overview for a simple private limited company. In case your business has a different or more complicated structure or if you are active in certain industries, other services and documents may be required.

 Private Limited Company (AS)Partner
Founding
Company Incorporation✔ RequiredLawyer
Share capital deposit✔ RequiredBank
Registration
Company registration✔ Required
VAT/MVA registration✔ Required (if revenue NOK50.000 > )Tax advisor
Apply for D-number✔ RequiredRelocation specialist
Contracts & Compliance
Shareholders' agreement★ Recommended (if more than 1 shareholder)Lawyer
Current account agreementOptionalLawyer
Management agreementOptionalLawyer
Employment contractOptionalLawyer
GDPR agreements★ RecommendedLawyer
Tax & Accounting
VAT return filing✔ Required (if subject to VAT/MVA)Accountant
Corporate income tax filing✔ RequiredAccountant
Annual financial report✔ RequiredAccountant
Bookkeeping✔ RequiredAccountant
Personal income tax returnOptionalAccountant
Address & office
Business address✔ RequiredOffice provider
Physical office spaceOptionalOffice provider
Mail forwarding serviceOptionalOffice provider
Norwegian phone numberOptionalPhone/VoIP provider
Bank & Insurance
Bank account✔ RequiredBank
Business Insurance★ RecommendedInsurance company
Bank loanOptionalBank
InvestmentOptionalInvestor

Things to consider before the company formation

First of all, and perhaps the most important task you should perform is to make a solid business case. Importantly, a business idea is something else than a business model. You should make a proper business plan, not just for others, but mostly for yourself. This does not have to be a formal and static document, but rather a few key statements that can be easily adjusted and fit on one A4 paper. A really great concept to get started with is the so-called Business Model Canvas. This is an extremely easy to use and dynamic document where you can create and test your business plan in no-time.

More than anything else, this type of ‘business plan’ cuts out all the nonsense, and confronts you with what really matters and what you have not really thought through sufficiently.

Get started in 8 steps

  • Preparation: build solid business case/model.
  • Test: conduct a really quick market research or, even better, a first version or prototype of your product or service. Get a quick idea of whether your product or service can generate traction.
  • Legal structure: determine how to structure your company, which legal entity you should use. Make the company future-proof but make it flexible so it can adapt to change (for example, if you expect to bring investors on board in the near future, you should probably set up a AS private limited company and not a sole proprietorship).
  • Arrange legal paperwork and administration: Make sure you do this correctly from day 1. If financially possible, we recommend you to outsource your legal paperwork and administration. Put all your collaborations with partners on paper (for example a shareholders’ agreement).
  • Cover your risks with insurance: be aware if any mandatory insurance applies to your business and insure additional risks where suited.
  • Funding: think well whether you need funding or whether you should build your business gradually with your own savings. Most business will need funding at one point. Think well about the consequences, advantages and disadvantages of a loan, investment or other type of funding.

Questions about starting up in Norway?

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