How to start your own business in Berlin

Berlin Translate

As a budding small business owner, there are a few steps you should take to prepare for self-employment:

  • Develop a business idea: Think about what you want to do as a small business owner and what products or services you want to offer. Make sure your business idea is realistic and sustainable.
  • Create a business plan: Create a business plan in which you elaborate your business idea and carry out a market analysis. Here you should also define your target group and determine your marketing strategy.
  • Choose a legal form: Think about which legal form best suits your business. As a small entrepreneur, a sole proprietorship or a GbR (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts) is usually the best option.
  • Register your business: Before you can operate as a small entrepreneur, you must register your business with the competent authority. You will need a valid identity card or passport and a tax number from the tax office.
  • Plan financing: Think about how you want to finance your business. As a small entrepreneur, you often have limited possibilities to raise capital, so you should plan carefully.
  • Take out insurance: As a self-employed person, you should also take care of insurances, e.g. professional liability insurance, public liability insurance and, if necessary, health insurance.
  • Organise bookkeeping: As a small entrepreneur you do not have to pay VAT, but you still have to keep proper accounts. You can either use an accounting software yourself or hire a tax advisor.
  • If you follow these steps, you can become self-employed as a small entrepreneur. It is important that you also inform yourself about all relevant legal and tax regulations and comply with them.

Self-employment and small business in Berlin


Self-employment refers to the activity of a person who works for his or her own account and is therefore not in an employment relationship. Self-employed persons can act as sole traders, freelancers or as partners in a company. They bear the full entrepreneurial risk and are responsible for their own business.

Small entrepreneur, on the other hand, refers to a special form of self-employment. These are sole traders or partners in partnerships who achieved a turnover of no more than 22,000 euros in the previous year and are not expected to achieve a turnover of more than 50,000 euros in the current year. As a small entrepreneur, they can be exempt from VAT and therefore do not have to submit an advance VAT return or pay VAT to the tax office.

Although small entrepreneurs have some advantages, they must also bear in mind that they must assume liability for turnover tax if they exceed the turnover limits. In addition, compared to larger companies, they often have fewer opportunities to raise capital and therefore often have to work with limited resources.

Cost of living in Berlin for small entrepreneurs:


The amount of income you need to live adequately in Berlin depends on various factors, such as your personal situation, lifestyle, housing situation and individual needs.

Basically, the cost of living in Berlin is somewhat lower compared to other German cities, but you still have to expect high rents and rising living costs in the capital.

According to a study by the Institute for Economic Research (DIW) from 2021, a single person in Berlin needs an average net income of about 1,380 euros per month to live a simple but adequate life. For couples without children, this amount is about 2,140 euros and for families with two children about 3,120 euros. These figures include the rent for a 60-square-metre flat in a medium-sized residential area, the cost of food, clothing, leisure activities, insurance and occasional expenses.

However, it is important to note that the actual cost of living can vary depending on personal situation and lifestyle. It is therefore advisable to draw up an individual budget calculation and plan your own income and expenses precisely in order to get a realistic overview.

As a small entrepreneur, you have to reckon with various expenses, such as rent or lease for business premises, office costs, insurance, taxes and social security contributions. Depending on the industry and business model, there may also be other costs such as storage costs or costs for materials and tools.

It is difficult to make a blanket statement about the cost of living for small business owners in Berlin, as it can vary greatly depending on the industry and business model. However, one should be aware that rents in Berlin have risen sharply in recent years and can be very high in some districts. The cost of office materials and services can also be higher in the city than in other regions of Germany.

It is therefore advisable to make an accurate calculation of expected income and expenses to get an overview of the cost of living as a small business owner in Berlin. It can also be useful to network with other small business owners in the city and share their experiences and assessments.

Need for translations when you start your own business


When one starts a business as an entrepreneur, there may well be a need for translations, depending on the type of business and the target group.

An example of this is the establishment of an internationally oriented company that wants to operate on the global market. In this case, it may be necessary for all documents and records to be translated into different languages in order to communicate with customers and business partners around the world. This includes, for example, business plans, contracts, marketing materials, websites, brochures and other documents.

In addition, it may also be necessary for company employees to be able to communicate in different languages in order to support business partners and customers on an international level. Here it may be necessary to provide training or language courses to ensure that all employees have the necessary language skills.

It is important to note that the quality of translations can be crucial to the success of the company. Therefore, it is advisable to hire a professional translation service provider who has sufficient experience and expertise to deliver high-quality translations.

Overall, there may be a need for translations when setting up a business, especially if the company wants to operate internationally or is targeting an audience with different languages.

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