Starting a small or medium business in Lebanon…
Some people are drawn to independence and risk taking. And would rather open their own business than live the comfort and stability of an employment.
Studies have shown that a successful business generates more profits that a monthly salary. Of course the risks are higher and the first years you will need belt-tightening strategy.
– My first advice to any person who wishes to open a successful business in Lebanon is to have a lawyer and an accountant. And ask them as many questions as possible.
– My second advice is to anticipate all the yearly overheads and charges that will incur on any business.
Of course, other than charges like salaries, fees, rents, office overheads, bills and living charges, people tend to forget about the legal and administrative charges.
According to the nature of your business, you may have to consider charges incurring like yearly tax payments and TVA charges. One should not forget the Social Security charges (Daman), Municipality fees, Custom fees if the business involves import and export trading. And least of all the charges of the yearly changes registered at the registry of Commerce.
These charges may seem to be a burden or may discourage any investor. But a good planning of the finances is the key to a successful business. And any feasibility study should consider all those numbers.
In Lebanon there are many types of Companies. You need at least three partners and a capital to start. Only one type of sole proprietorship establishment.
We will go over the many types of Companies, in the coming articles. They are very interesting and innovative. Some are constructed in a way to protect your personal patrimony from any risks that the business management may involve. Unfortunately the only sole proprietorship establishment doesn’t provide that protection.
This is why we, as lawyers, will always be careful. Hence we will consider the nature of the business before advising this kind of Company.
One of my favorite types of Lebanese Companies is the Off-Shore Company. It allows you to have a business outside of the Lebanese territory, and only with foreign Companies. And you pay a yearly lump sum tax of One million Lebanese Pounds, whatever the value of its profits. Unfortunately, these companies are becoming infamous because of the very tight control imposed by the International banking community. Especially the US, fighting money laundering. But they are still the most “friendly” types of Companies.
Whatever you may hear or read, Lebanese Companies are internationally recognized and respected. And relatively, their legal and administrative charges are of the lowest of so many countries around us.