Like any ambitious business person, you want your company to grow. That probably means you'd like to expand into the foreign markets especially that giant European economy.
But to crack the market in Europe, you'll need a base. What parameters should you consider before expanding there?
You'll have to do your research and due diligence, of course, but it's likely that you'll consider four factors: location, talent, governmental policies, and quality of life. And for all of those reasons, Switzerland is your best choice.
Switzerland is surrounded by Europe's major economies: Germany, France, Italy, and Austria. It's right in the heart of Europe's most densely populated area. And getting around the country is simple, too: According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2014 - 2015, Switzerland is in the top five for infrastructure; its highways, roads, and public transportation are among the best in the world. And next year, the recently completed Gotthard Base Tunnel (the longest tunnel in the world) will dramatically decrease travel time between Switzerland and Northern Italy.
That same WEF report also ranks Switzerland as the most competitive country in the world. Perhaps that's why major IT, tech, and pharmaceutical companies operate from there. One reason the alpine country is competitive is that it's internationally minded. Aside from its trade agreements with the European community, Switzerland has free trade agreements with an ever-growing number of countries all over the world. Switzerland also ranked second in top destinations by average job value of investment project by the IBM Global Location Trends report.
But Switzerland goes beyond location there's also its access to a well-trained workforce. Almost half of all employees in Switzerland work in areas requiring highly skilled workers, and the country ranks among the best in the world for the availability of highly qualified talent. The workforce is skilled because the academic education there is supplemented by direct, practical apprenticeships.
The literacy rate hovers near 100%, and most citizens speak English. The country is home to several highly regarded universities and research centers, along with such research-intensive companies as Roche and Novartis. There's also its financial sector, which is legendary.
According to the European Patent Office, Switzerland has more patents per capita than any other country. It's a country known for its ability to turn research results into marketable products. And businesses located in Switzerland also can rely on free movement of workers within the European Union and European Free Trade Association. And because the infrastructure is so good, the commuting is great. That means you can expand your operations within Switzerland, without worrying about having to relocate your employees.
The Swiss government operates much like one of its famous chronometer watches. It has a stated goal of treating companies and potential investors like customers. Advisors are readily available to guide business people through the process of making a move there.
Swiss employment laws are very liberal and the labor market is only loosely regulated. The country's federal taxation system is attractive for both individuals and companies, and agreements with all major industrialized nations ensure that companies only pay tax in one country of business.
Quality of life
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Switzerland often tops quality-of-life surveys, as well as lists for the best countries in the world for expatriates.
Crime is very low and the standard of living is extremely high. Everything works. And then there's the obvious beauty of the country itself. The home of the Matterhorn, Switzerland has mountains, lush green valleys, plentiful parks, lakes, and hundreds of ski regions. The cities are walkable, too, with ancient cathedrals and castles.
As a business maneuver, you can't go wrong with Switzerland.
Find out more about starting a business in Switzerland.
This post is sponsored by Switzerland Global Enterprise.
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