If the idea of doing business in Italy appeals to you, you might be wondering exactly what kind of business you should be starting. This kind of decision is complex enough on its own, but having to make it in the context of a market with which you are not familiar can be truly daunting. Having too much choice and not enough guidance is paralysing and it might make you fret over whatever path you choose to take, worrying that it might not be the right one. Doing business in Italy, much like anywhere else, requires a delicate balance of personal attitude, skills and market awareness. Some fields and types of service are booming, but you will need a specific mindset and precise assets to make it work. On the other hand, going into a niche market and being outstanding at what you do might help you carve the kind of market-share that it would be difficult to secure in an overcrowded field. Before setting down your actual options, you should look into your own attitude and passions, in order to establish a few general rules that will work for you. Will you be more comfortable starting your own independent business or being part of a franchise? Do you envision selling products, offering services or a mix of both? Are you more comfortable as a wholesale or retail entrepreneur? After you have narrowed your options, you might want to look into some of the industries that are proving most profitable right now.
Doing business in Italy? Try these 4 profitable industries
1. Tax advisor
One of the most complicated aspects of working abroad is making sense of work and taxation policies, particularly if they differ from what you are used to at home. That’s why most embassies keep a database of tax advisors, accountants and lawyers with detailed knowledge of both their home Country’s and residence Country’s systems. If this happens to be your field of expertise, it is worth taking time to learn how the Italian system works and then helping your fellow nationals set up their own business. This is a thriving profession, much in demand at a time when internationalisation is a priority for startups and established companies alike.
2. Cleaning services
If we were to sum up this decade’s economy trends in one word it should be Uber. Startups that connect people and simplify access to services such as travelling, eating or finding accommodation have been enjoying a seemingly unstoppable success. International startups like Helpling and Hassle have been applying this same principle to cleaning services with widespread success and new ones keep cropping up, feeding off a market that seems to have plenty of room for growth. The idea of hiring out cleaning professionals to occasional or returning clients might seem exceedingly simple and yet it has turned out to be very profitable. On one hand these startups meet the need of students or otherwise occupied workforce that want to earn extra money without having to commit to fixed office hours, on the other they cater to customers who want to hire trustworthy home or office help without having to go to the trouble of holding interviews. The startup’s role in this process involves setting up a platform for the two parties to communicate and taking care of the bureaucratic aspects of the transaction.
3. Coworking space provider
Work has been changing, in Italy and everywhere else, and coworking spaces have started opening in many cities and it looks like the trend has not reached its peak yet. The procedure for opening a coworking space is pretty straightforward: the only thing you need to do is list the premises as office space, get a license if you plan on serving meals or hot beverages, and establish a list of services that you will be offering, such as hourly, daily or monthly rentals. It is relatively easy to calculate the amount you will need to invest in order to start this kind of business: you will need to acquire premises, equip them with enough technology to cater to customers that might need more than their own laptop and, most of all, splurge on the highest speed internet connection available in your area. If you want your coworking business to be a success, make sure you offer something unique, like home-made cake, fancy sandwiches made from local farmers’ products or a free access library.
4. 3D printing lab
We can all remember how 3D printing looked like sci-fi, only a few years ago. While this technology’s costs have dropped considerably, it still hasn’t made its way into our daily lives, due both to the cost of 3D printers and to the complexity of 3D printable designs. Opening a 3D printing shop is not as difficult as it might sound: your initial investment will have to focus on premises, technology and highly trained employees with a very specific set of skills. It is essential to avail yourself of the best technology on the market and adequate software. The key to success, in this particular field, is offering your customers the kind of assistance that will take them from an idea to a real product they can touch and hold. Most people are not familiar with 3D design and will need your staff to transform their idea into a viable project, before it can be printed out. This is a classical case of giving the public access to a new technology that still seems unusual and exotic, but whose costs are actually manageable for a small or medium-sized enterprise.