Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Setting Up a Business in Europe

Mehmet Akif Özmen | Sworn-in CPA | Founder, CEO


“Learn from the lives of others. One does not live long enough to make all the mistakes themselves.” – Tolstoy.

Many issues arise from the moment investors start thinking about establishing a company abroad until the actual setup. These issues stem from the realities that partially exist in everyone’s lives. This period is an exact test, straining friendships and testing individuals’ abilities and strengths.

For many years, I have advised entrepreneurs on establishing companies and investing in European countries. Together with my business partners, I have overseen the establishment of dozens of companies. As MHR & Partners, I also established a company in Germany. I want to share my experiences from my entrepreneurial journey so that investors do not rediscover Europe (!) and avoid repeating costly and time-consuming mistakes. So, let’s get started.

Move Quickly Without Getting Caught Up in Small Costs

Exact costs are often unpredictable in business. You should anticipate a risk premium of at least 40-50%. Flexibility is crucial here. If costs rise significantly, either the planning was incorrect or external factors need to be properly accounted for. It would help to reassess these risks during every crisis to prevent recurrence.

Avoid small and erroneous steps that can prolong the establishment process. Take guaranteed and solid steps to avoid being bogged down by minor issues.

There Is No Single Right Answer

The company establishment process in Europe differs significantly from that of Turkey and proceeds more slowly. We often observe that individuals cannot fully account for a commercial organization’s challenges and the “Team, System, Information, Labor-Intensive” aspects.

Individual entrepreneurs consult many people but often deviate from the rules or need more patience to achieve results. In contrast, companies usually have alternative scenarios and can build on what they learn from adverse situations.

Consult Experts and Experienced Individuals

It’s good to get ideas from friends in a commercial field, but they may lead you to different conclusions regarding decision-making.

When seeking advice, consider these criteria:

    • How many years of experience do they have in this field?
    • How many reference firms do they have in Turkey or abroad?
    • Do they have a corporate team and system?
    • How much support can they offer when problems arise

Take a Professional Approach, Use Contracts and Invoices

Contracts protect both you and your counterpart, helping progress without putting either party in a bind.

Avoid dealing with those who operate without invoices. Any illegal or incorrect business can cause future problems and bring additional issues.

Do everything in writing. Even specify partial refunds in contracts if the work is not completed. In developed European countries, no one can interfere with the flow of official documents. Officials are the main determinants, and a consultant can only support you by establishing timely and accurate communication with authorities.

Close Friends Are Just Friends

I know many people who have had issues coming here with their friends. Sometimes, a close friend hasn’t established their system and, unintentionally, gets involved in wrongdoings. Sometimes, they expect you to support their problems, and their expectations do not align with yours.

People who have experienced trauma look for others who can overcome their traumas. You end up in a loop. You should implement your plans. If your friend is not a professional consultant, do not believe everything they say.

Be Patient and Progress Step by Step

European business processes operate more slowly than in Turkey, and combined with document intensity, it is genuinely challenging. Adding managers and partners with residency makes it more accessible.

Keep Track of Document Flow

Obtain information about document flow and discuss the process in detail. Ensure all your questions are answered mutually. Everything should be in writing.

Low-Cost Services May Not Be Useful

Everything has a cost, and a team that does not make a profit will also cause you to lose. Services obtained below cost will bring you nothing but problems and bad experiences. They will waste your time and money and wear you down psychologically.

Those Who Travel Without a Plan Will Get Stuck on the Road

Plan, plan, plan. Always have alternative plans ready. Have your contingency fund prepared. Determine what you will do if things go wrong or processes are slow. The “let’s start and see” approach can sometimes lead to problems.

Request On-Site or Online Live Meetings

Seeing where the people you will be working with operate and meeting their team is extremely important to understand mutual expectations. This also helps build better social relationships.

Make Payments As Work Is Completed

You can make partial upfront payments for services received and the remaining payments as the work is completed. However, if the consultant has a team, a fixed workplace, a contract, and business references, making early payments is no problem.

Okuma Tavsiyesi

Would you like to learn about the main dynamics to consider when setting up and expanding your business in Europe?  Discover this article!

What Can We Do For You?

As MHR & Partners, we are directly and indirectly active in more than 20 countries worldwide. We aim to operate with 10 branches in 100 countries in 10 years. We offer you end-to-end consultancy and support services in establishing a company, obtaining a residence permit, and in all operational processes abroad, primarily financial issues.

Our priority is to provide consultancy services to companies with a growth vision and business strategy abroad. We attach particular importance to the uninterrupted continuation of our services with the assurance of MHR & Partners (Mühür YMM AŞ) after the company establishment stages. Our core mission is to be a safe harbor and provide sustainable services.

We want to be a bridge to our customers’ business plans for growth and development, even in the most remote parts of the world.

To establish a business in Turkey or Europe (Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro), you can contact Sworn-in Certified Public Accountant Mehmet Akif Özmen directly (+90 542 830 3408 or