Guide for Newcomers! How To Build A Business In Russia

The condition of the world’s economy has changed dramatically over the years. The technology offers more and more convenience that make people take another step to doing business by going online. Many people have decided to quit working for companies and start their own businesses instead. Entrepreneurship has become a blooming phenomenon these days. But, of course, starting up a business is not as easy as counting one two three. There are a lot of hardwork involved and regulations to follow. Building up an empire in one’s own country is quite a challenge on its own, leave alone trying one’s luck in another country. But, have you been actually contemplating to start a business in Russia but don’t know where to start? Here are some guides you can use to begin with.

1. Make sure you are allowed to do business in Russia

This is the first and most important thing you have to check; make sure your papers as an immigrant allow you to do some trading in Russia. You will need a residency permit and visa to start a business and employ yourself or to be a part of a company. If you have no residency, there is another way to get a working permit; you can apply for a Russian Work Visa after getting an invitation from the Russian General Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM) or you can apply for a Russian Business Visa if you plan to start a business to generate profit and employ people. Once you have these covered, you can go ahead to the second step.

2. Write down your business plan

Obviously it takes a lot of courage to start an entrepreneurship as a foreigner, but it takes more than that to make a business really work. Do you research to find out what types of business would most likely launch well and sustain for a long time. Find out what people in Russia like and need and how they do trading these days. These small business ideas may help you to choose one:

  • Language translation services
  • Bakery business
  • Cleaning business
  • Photography services
  • Selling artworks
  • Pet treatment services
  • Private senior nursing or babysitting
  • Beauty salon business
  • Exotic food shop

Surely you already have your own business ideas based on your skill and expertise. The list above could probably narrow down the options for you.

3. Choose the name for your business, contact numbers, and address

Depends on the type of the business you plan to establish – whether online, offline, or both – you have to pick a name that your future customers can easily remember. This will be your brand, so get a catchy one. You also need to provide ways for people to contact you; through phone numbers, e-mail addresses, social media accounts, and more. If your business is going to be a solid one with a physical establishment, then an address will surely be on the list too.

4. Register your business

You can’t start an enterprise in Russia until you officially register it, whether an organization, individual entrepreneurship, or unincorporated farm. The registration procedure is simple and doesn’t differ the citizens of Russia with the foreigners except for the papers;

  • Contact the Russian Federal Tax Service (RFTS) to complete your state duty payment – RUB 800 for individual business.
  • Find the forms of registration on the Russian Federal Tax Service website and fill accordingly.
  • If you register an individual entrepreneurship, the copies of these documents should be attached with the form: passport, residence permit, temporary residence permit, visa, migration card, and the receipt of the state duty payment.
  • Attach the profile of your business.
  • Once you have completed and submitted the form, you will hear a reply in five days to let you know whether your registration is approved and you may proceed with the next steps, or declined.

4. Open a bank account

Once your registration is approved, you are ready to get down to business. But before that, you should have an official account opened for your enterprise. You need to provide these documents for the bank to create you an account at their place:

  • Tax certificate from the Russian Federal Tax Service
  • Documents of your registered business
  • Your Russian business license
  • Notarized signature over the license

Some of the banks in Russia with good liability are:

  • Unicredit Bank
  • Raiffesen Bank
  • Rosbank (Societe Generale Group)
  • Sberbank
  • VTB
  • Citibank
  • ING Bank (Eurasia)
  • Nordea
  • HSBC
  • Credit Agricole

5. Follow the Russian ways

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This proverb is the most suitable one to be applied when you do business in Russia. Learn the rules and do things like locals – because that’s the way to make things work for your new business. What are the rules? Here are some of the crucial ones:

  • Punctuality is not a strong point in Russia, but foreigners are expected to be.
  • An expat should be flexible around their Russians colleagues and clients because they like to feel secured while doing business. Sell your ideas in a persuasive way, and never force them.
  • Again, security is essential in Russia, and people just have to do background checks before they are sure they can do business with anyone. So make sure you have a clean record.
  • Learn the daily etiquette and manners of the Russians. This will take you a long way.

There are surely more details you can and should look into before you are really ready to open and start your business in Russia. Legal things, formal and informal things, research around your competitors and everything else. The brief guide above hopefully has given you insight on how to start a business in Russia. One thing to remember; hardwork is a must if you crave for a successful enterprise, not only in Russia – but anywhere around the globe.

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