How can you start a profitable business in Turkey? Starting a new business abroad is not the same as setting up one in your country. If you intend to launch a startup in Turkey, you should consider hiring a Turkish business partner.
Turkey is one of the preferred destinations for foreign investors across the world. The country attracts different nationals from China, India, Russia, South Africa, Iran, Germany, and the United States as well.
Aside from its strategic geographic location between Europe and Asia, Turkey also prides itself on several viable resources. They include a young population, stable market price, an ever-prepared workforce, expat-friendly laws, and a buoyant economy. These are the reasons expats are taking advantage of to start their profitable business ideas in Turkey.
Are there Profitable Businesses for Expats in Turkey?
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There are several profitable business ideas to start as an expat living in Turkey. The purchasing power is good and with a large active population, businesses can get good ROI establishing a small or medium-scale business in the country. Investors seeking profitable business ideas can look into the following, to start their company in Turkey:
- Auto parts manufacturing, selling of automobile spare parts or creating an idea in the automotive sector of the country.
- Start a construction company that specialize in building energy-efficient structures with modern tools and technology.
- Establish tourist attraction centres, hospitality homes, tour guide services, or other businesses around the tourism sector.
- Open a textile factory, design and create readymade clothing for export, apparel retail sales, or base in general clothing ventures. Turkey wears are in high demand in Africa.
- Large or medium-scale Hazelnut farming, packaging, and exporting.
- Invest in the booming residential real estate market in Turkey.
- Provide information technology solutions including data analyst services, app and software development, IT consulting, and other tech startups.
- Waste management ideas such as providing wastewater treatment, sewage treatment, or solid waste management services.
- Start a travel agency and other travel-related ideas.
- Food and beverage outlets, online food delivery services, food truck business, or starting a restaurant in Turkey.
Guide to Starting a Successful Business Idea in Turkey as a Foreigner
How do you start a small business in Turkey as a foreigner? The procedures for establishing a business in Türkiye slightly varies depending on the nature and business niche. Setting up a real estate business, for instance, requires obtaining some necessary Turkish certifications. However, the following guides are generally what is obtainable in setting up a business in Turkey.
1. Find a Reliable Business Consultant for Your Business Set Up Process
A reliable and professional consultant is important to achieve a seamless and timely business establishment in Türkiye. You will need all the help you can get, so ensure you pick a trustworthy company that will stand with you in the long term on behalf of your business. Offshore company formation is possible when you work with the right consultant.
The firm’s job for your business begins with the initial business setup procedures. Then in partnership with their legal team, they proceed with other tasks including the preparation of the master agreement, application for trade registry, preparation of tax office documents, and preparation of the power of attorney on behalf of your business.
The difference with doing the work yourself is that it may be tasking. And being a foreigner, you may be disadvantaged in certain areas of the process. Whichever way you choose to establish your company, note that you may likely need assistance as the business setup progresses.
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2. Acquire a Potential Tax Number
All the processes will require you to present a potential tax number. So, acquire a potential tax number from a tax office. This is one area getting professional help will benefit you.
How do you get a Turkish tax number online as a foreigner? The best way to get the potential tax number available to non-citizens is through an online application. When you visit the official webpage of the Interactive Tax Office at İnteraktif Vergi Dairesi (gib.gov.tr). Click on the Application for Non-Citizen’s Potential Tax Number button at the bottom of the page. Fill in the form completely. The system will give you a Tax ID number once you submit the form.
This will serve as the foreign identification number for your business when you want to fully register it officially. It is not the same as the Foreigner ID Number issued to non-citizens who live, work, or do business in Turkey.
What is Foreigner ID Number and how does it work? The Foreigner ID Number is provided by the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality for foreigners who reside in Turkey for more than six months. You are given this number immediately after you receive your residence permit. Foreigner ID Number starts with 99 on your card.
3. Decide Your Company Structure
Joint Stock Companies (JSC) and Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are the most common types of companies expats can operate in Turkey. JSC is preferably for large companies while LLCs are suitable for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
As a new entrant joining Turkey’s workforce, setting up an LLC would be the best option for your business. The process is rather affordable, fast, and easy, and comes with other benefits for foreign investors.
What is the major benefit of setting up an offshore company in Turkey? One of the benefits of forming an offshore company in Turkey as a foreigner is to help you protect your assets.
4. Determine the Name of the Company
Starting a profitable business without the necessary touch to attract potential customers may affect the business proceeds. Therefore, begin your brand image by choosing the best name that suits the nature of your business.
The name you pick should appeal and be memorable. It must not contradict Turkish business and customs laws. Most importantly, it should not have been used by locals or other foreigners in the country.
In this time and age of the artificial intelligence revolution, you can use an AI-powered business name generator to get a good brand name. Looka, Namelix, BusinessNameGuide, DomainWheel, NameSnack, Zyro, etc., are great examples of AI-powered business name generator software. You can use any of them to generate catchy business names that suit your company.
How does business name generator software work? When you describe your business in one word using the right keyword in the search bar and hit search, the business name generator gives you different options. It’s at that time that you can choose the name that resonates most with your business idea.
Some of these business name generator software go the extra mile to let you know if the domain names are available and even offer you a free logo. Isn’t that amazing?
5. Decide the Best Location for Your Company
A virtual or physical location is necessary for establishing a business in Turkey. It should be confirmed to be the legal address of your company. You need to present a potential tax number to rent an office space and when making payment for the rent, ensure you pay from your company’s bank account, not a personal bank account.
The price for various membership packages for coworking spaces in Istanbul starts from 860 Turkish Lira per month. This depends largely on the available amenities. If you are looking for the best coworking spaces in Istanbul, Türkiye, you may need to hire the services of an agent or use search engines. On Google search, type, “Coworking and office space near me in (insert your address in Istanbul)” and you will find a wide range of them.
Some great coworking spaces with affordable prices are e-Ofis in Pera, DAIRE Coworking in Besiktas, Ofis Voyvoda in Karaköy, Galata Business Center, etc.
6. Register the Business Legally
All required documents prepared by your lawyer would be filed with the trade registry and other related offices. The process takes a few working days. After which other due processes will follow to register your business.
How much does it cost to set up a limited liability company in Turkey? To form an LLC in Turkey, it will cost you an average and minimum cost of $370 – $420. However, this cost might vary depending on the volume of your business, the number of partners and your fluency in the Turkish language. If your business requires a certification to operate, be ready to spend extra money for your business registration.
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7. Open a Business Bank Account in Turkey
Turkish banks have their demands, so seek the advice of your attorney before you open a bank account for your business. Opening a bank account early will help you carry out all the necessary financial processes for starting and operating a profitable business.