Use a UK Sole Representative Visa to Expand Your Business Into the UK

If you are thinking about expanding or relocating your business, London is arguably the most globalised and business friendly city in the World. Any seasoned businessman or investor will tell you then when it comes to starting a new venture, location really is key. Here are my top 10 reasons why you should think about moving your business to London.

1. Market Stability

Leading fiscal institutions predict that the combination of a thriving population, relatively low business taxes and independence from the Eurozone will allow the UK to surpass Germany and become the largest European economy by 2030. Nowhere is this market confidence demonstrated more than by the investment in tall buildings in London. There are over 250 tall buildings either under construction, with planning permission or awaiting permission set to accommodate the next generation of young professionals and the super wealthy in central London.

2. Supply Chain

Whether your business is a service provider or a manufacturer of goods, from centuries of successful experience, there aren’t many places as good as London for a business to find everything it needs at hand. Super fast connectivity or an unbeatable supply chain to design, plan, source, make and ship a product. Being in the heart of a heavily integrated global network puts you steps ahead of your competitors. The UK has established trade relationships and world-class supply networks giving domestic businesses access to every corner of the globe. The UK is currently the world’s 4th largest exporter of finished goods, commodities and services as well as the 4th largest importer.

3. Record low business Tax

From the introduction of the new Conservative UK Government and the release of the new pro business budget, Corporation Tax on UK Businesses is the lowest amongst G7 and G20 countries at just 20%, to be reduced to 18% by 2020. Furthermore, as a green light for innovation and to boost the UK’s knowledge economy there are further tax cuts for the development of Intellectual Property and those investing in research and development.

4. Access to Talent

Access to talent is the most important motivator for businesses to move and can be the biggest issues limiting a business’s growth. Small to medium-sized businesses are usually located where business owners happen to live and not where the optimal workforce may be found. Where talent is in short supply, labour costs will rise. With this in mind, the UK has the highest proportion of higher-education graduates in Western Europe. Businesses that come to the UK have access to one of the World’s most talented resident labour markets and brightest graduates.

5. Popular Culture

If you need to sense which way the wind is blowing, nowhere in the World has such a fresh breeze and I’m not referring to the prevailing weather system. If you and your business rely on being up to date with fashions or current affairs, to capture new trends and exploit opening markets and technologies, then the UK is the right place to be. And, with everything around you to quickly adjust to a dynamic business environment.

6. A guaranteed level playing field

Small or expanding businesses can be particularly vulnerable to subtle market obstacles created by more established competitors. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime regularly produce comparative global stats on crime and corruption and consistently place England, Wales and Scotland at the bottom of countries facing criminal activity such as fraud, bribery and corruption. In accordance with being a business friendly environment, the UK have set up multiple anti corruption bodies and legislative laws to minimise fraud, bribery and corruption through transparent reporting processes and working closing with those who suspect they have been unduly commercially disadvantaged.

7. Digital Telecommunications

The UK Government has committed to funding the further expansion of super fast broadband coverage beyond the major commercial programmes. From a recent independent survey by an independent body, London and nearly all of Britain has the best super-fast broadband in Europe, overtaking Germany and set to make the UK a leading competitor well into the digital information age.

8. Transport Infrastructure

London is at the heart of a relatively large, heavily integrated transport system by road rail and air supported by the most established shipping facility in the World. London has an international hub airport and has the largest air transport system in Europe. London also has on going rail infrastructure investments interconnecting London to other parts of the UK and Europe with an emphasise on constantly improving efficiency and reducing time and cost.

9. Time and Place

London, or more accurately Greenwich, quite literally is at the centre of the known World. Britain’s geographic location makes is possible to trade with Asia over breakfast and the Americas by afternoon tea. Stirling, the currency of Britain, is the World’s oldest currency still in use and the English Language is the UK’s greatest and most enduring export, also the World’s main business language.

10. London and the UK’s Soft Power and Global Influence

The UK is ranked third globally for ‘soft power’ which is to says its ability to influence and persuade other inhabitants of planet Earth without the need for ‘hard power’ (bullets and aircraft carriers). The UK has far-reaching friendly influence based on reputation, culture, creativity, business and political prowess. This advantage also extends to businesses within the UK that can be empowered to shape outcomes and make deals beyond usual boundary limitations. The UK has more membership to international bodies than any other country on the planted, here are a few: the Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union, the G7, the G8, the G20 the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Ultimately if you want to punch above your weight, British companies are empowered to make deals that can free your business to expand globally.

Be part of London’s on-going growth into a new information era and bring your Business to London. There are a number of pro business initiatives that have been set up to aid businessmen, investors and entrepreneurs wishing to see what life is like in London and the UK.

Business in Hampshire UK

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. Its total economy is the largest in the United Kingdom apart from London, demonstrating that it is an area with a thriving business community. Hampshire has a number of business parks located all over the county that offer a wide and varied selection of businesses to explore. All manner of industries are represented, from warehouses to travel agencies to industrial plants. They range in size from small businesses to large corporations.

These things serve to make Hampshire an excellent place to hold business-related events. Throughout the year, all manner of different seminars, workshops, classes and more are held by local businesses and individuals with the aim of teaching and dispensing advice on how to boost your business, help it grow, and increase profits. From Internet Marketing strategies to print ad tutorials, with the number of events that go on in the area, you cannot help but be able to find something that fits your niche. Many of them are even free to attend, such as the various Business Link events that are held.

Many major businesses are based in Hampshire, such as the famous Twinings tea company. You will find the world’s largest leisure boat manufacturer, called Camper and Nicholsons, in Hampshire, as well as BBC Radio Solent. Everything from defence and aerospace corporations like BAE Systems to the pharmaceutical company, Shire plc, which manufactures such drugs as Adderall and the new Vyvanse, are located in the area. The numerous events combined with the variety of major companies and industries that call Hampshire home serve to make this an ideal area to live and work in.

Hampshire also has great transport links with the rest of England, as well as Europe, business travel is easy to manage, letting you go farther afield to boost your business. This plays a major part in making Hampshire’s economy as strong as it is. Cross channel and cross Solent ferries connect it with the Isle of Wight and the European continent. The county’s major airport is Southampton Airport, which also has a rail station accompanying it. If you take the train, you can be in London in about an hour, so you can easily get down there on short notice if you need to attend a last minute meeting or seal a deal, which strengthens Hampshire’s impact on the rest of the United Kingdom. Further, because many of the local companies do a lot of business out of the country due to the port, the easily accessible travel methods facilitate business expansion into foreign markets.

All of these factors make up the interesting and successful business community in Hampshire, serving to make the county one of the linchpins of the United Kingdom’s economy as a whole. Hampshire is an entrepreneur’s dream, providing everything you need – from good transport to a supportive community of businessmen and businesswomen to informative classes and workshops – to expand your business and make a success of it.

Exporting to Europe: Not the Challenges You Think

If you plan to do sell your product or service in Europe the problems you encounter may not be the ones you expect. It’s easy to focus on perceived difficulties, such as the so-called ‘language barrier’, while not noticing the real pitfalls – until it’s too late. I learned three lessons the hard way: appreciate the different cultures, understand the value of quality vs. speed, and know which foreign language is key to your business.

If you hope to compete with local firms in Europe you must understand European business cultures. Notice the use of the word of the word ‘cultures’ – plural. When I first started doing business in Europe, three years ago, one of the first things I learned was that the European business environment is much more diverse than in the States. Despite the introduction of the single currency, Europe is not a single business entity. Different countries retain different ways of doing things. Like many Americans doing business in Europe for the first time, I learned this the hard way. After a number of awkward meetings and deals that mysteriously didn’t go through I began to understand that it was a bad idea to deal with Europeans like I dealt with people back home.

The American business model prevails in northern Europe – with the UK and possibly Germany representing the nearest thing Europe has to a US-style approach. Businesses in former Easter Bloc countries that have recently joined the EU are also very US-friendly. During the Soviet years America represented freedom; American business can now reap the rewards of that iconic status.

The rest of ‘old Europe’ is a little different and you should be aware of each country’s customs. Italy, for example, retains a way of doing business that might seem bureaucratic and patriarchal to Americans. Even Silvio Berlusconi – a good friend of US business – is known as ‘Papa’ Berlusconi in some Italian circles. In France, a history of civil libertarianism twinned with state control that stretches back to the revolution of 1789 has nurtured a business culture that favors consensus rather than individual leadership. It’s important to do your research – not only on a country’s business structures but also on its general culture and history. It’s even more important to get to know the people. If you travel to Madrid to cut a deal having never before set foot in Spain you are at a disadvantage.

Business people in old Europe have slightly different perceptions of what constitutes good practice from their US counterparts. Although it would be patronizing to say that a maƱana culture persists in southern European business, it is true that timeliness is not considered a virtue in the way it is in the States. For European business people, providing a quality product or service is much more important than adhering slavishly to deadlines or driving the hardest possible bargain. Because of this difference in values, Europeans often perceive Americans as being ‘pushy’ – when the Americans in question think they’re simply being businesslike.

When I first came to Europe I thought that the most important thing was to learn languages – I was wrong. Most European business people accept English as the lingua franca of international business. However, you don’t want to risk seeming ignorant. A reasonable level of conversational French or German, for example, will come in useful. I have found that many Europeans have a prejudice about perceived American ignorance of the outside world. Showing a little linguistic skill – and, more important, willingness – will be to your advantage.

My experience is that knowing the local language is particularly useful in France. The French have traditionally been very protective of their mother tongue. Today, many native speakers consider French to be in a state of crisis, attacked on all sides by international English – so your French hosts will warm to you quickly if you seem keen to speak it to them. Again, showing you are willing to try is more important than being fluent.

Even so, skills learned in language classes back home are useless unless basic cultural differences are understood. Once again, do your research: time talking to locals or reading about European culture and history will be well spent. Knowing a little history is especially important if you’re working in Greece or any of the nearby EU satellite states in the Balkans. Educated people there will often talk about events of a millennium past as if they happened yesterday. There is a perception all over Europe that Americans follow Henry Ford’s maxim ‘history is bunk’ – I made friends quickly when I disproved this prejudice.

The good news is that Europeans are more like us than they are different: the general cultures of both continents respects business and promotes honest dealing – but it’s important not to let the small differences cost you money.