Starting your own company? You’ll find all the key tasks and decisions for self-employed people in Switzerland in this checklist. From coming up with your business idea to choosing the right legal form and arranging insurance and pensions, it takes you through the most important steps in starting a new business in Switzerland.
Which decisions do you need to make? Which tasks can you accomplish straight away? Take a quiet moment to go through all the points, and you’ll have everything under control throughout the start-up process.
In Switzerland, you qualify as self-employed once the compensation office of the canton your business is registered in has reviewed your application and approved your self-employment. For social insurance purposes, self-employed people must meet four criteria:
As regards legal forms, sole proprietors and partners in a partnership are considered to be self-employed.
A good business idea is the basis for founding a successful company. An idea has potential if it:
It’s also important for your idea to suit you. Your idea stands a good chance of succeeding if you:
Still looking for the right idea?
Do you already have some initial ideas for a company name? Here’s what you need to bear in mind when naming your company:
The most important legal requirements for creating a company name (e.g. including the owner’s name) can be found here:
Want to check that your company’s name complies with the law before you start trading? Submit your proposed name to the relevant cantonal commercial registry office for a preliminary review.
However novel or inspired your idea is, a business plan is a great way to gauge its chances of success:
That way, you can ensure that you don’t lose sight of the goal you set when you became self-employed.
How are you going to finance your company? Start-up founders have lots of options when it comes to funding their business model, for example:
Work out how much capital you need and ask an expert for advice. Can you afford to keep going if orders dry up?
The amount of capital you need to start your company depends on the legal form you choose
Sole proprietors and partners in a partnership are considered to be self-employed:
Alternatively, you can form a corporation and be employed by it.
The legal form of the company determines your social insurance status.
In Switzerland, you qualify as self-employed once the compensation office of the canton you work in has reviewed your application and approved your self-employment. Various criteria apply, depending on the industry.
Self-employed people are required to pay contributions:
The next step – social insurance:
Your social insurance contributions are calculated on the basis of your earned income:
Try to avoid pension and contribution gaps:
Insurance is another key consideration in the start-up phase. Besides the various types of social insurance for the company owners and any employees, you’ll also need business insurance. Companies can choose from a range of options here.
Are you adequately insured if you have an accident?
Pension planning is a vital step for company founders:
Have you already started thinking about when you want to retire? Whether you opt for early retirement, partial retirement, ordinary retirement, or deferred retirement,
You’re free to choose when you start drawing your pension:
What will happen to your company when you retire?
Clever ideas can be stolen quickly. Decide at an early stage whether and how you want to protect your innovations and creations, such as inventions, logos or product and packaging designs.
Having your new company entered in the commercial register doesn’t mean that its brand is protected:
Are you a sole proprietor with a commercial business generating revenues of at least CHF 100,000 a year in Switzerland?
How are you going to market your product or service? A carefully considered marketing concept puts the focus on your customers and their needs. Appeal to your customers in a targeted way, be it through digital marketing or traditional advertising.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help and outsource tasks so you can focus on what you do best. You’ll be more successful if you can call on experienced people with the right know-how in marketing, accounting, the law or other fields. A good network can also help you to develop and expand cooperations and your customer base.
Anyone in Switzerland living on a low income can benefit from a subsidy to help with mandatory health insurance premiums. If you’re entitled to this subsidy, the compensation office will send you the application form in the spring for the following year.
Employing staff comes with certain obligations attached. In Switzerland, for example, the law requires that all employees be insured against disability, death, and poverty in old age. Employers must pay social insurance contributions:
Employers must also insure their staff against occupational accidents and sickness. Overview of mandatory accident insurance and other reporting requirements:
Congratulations! You’ve taken the bold leap into self-employment and started your own company!
The adventure can begin. How will your company grow over time? When will it notch up its first big success? Is the legal form you chose in the beginning still the right one? Is it time to switch to an AG or a GmbH? What do you need to know if it is? The AXA team will be happy to provide impartial advice and valuable tips, even after you start your company. Send us your questions using the SME advisory form, and we’ll contact you shortly.