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Starting up

We’re trying to make it easier for you to start and run your own business and we’ll help you with everything you’ll need to keep in mind.

What would you like advice about?

Money advice

You’re going to need money. Here’s our best advice.

FRIENDS, FAMILY AND FOOLS

As the saying goes, the most common investors are friends, family and fools. Take care of your cheerleaders and they’ll support you through thick and thin.

PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE

DNB NXT

Before the money runs out, you should look for partners or investors who can offer more than just capital. Good owners contribute their experience and open doors through their network. Do your research and critically evaluate which investors and partners you want to work with. This will help you avoid bad deals.

Every year we organise the networking event DNB NXT, where we bring together founders and investors from Norway and abroad. Perhaps you’ll find some potential supporters here?

NATIONAL FUNDRAISING

Norskcrowdfunding.no

Crowdfunding is a kind of digital fundraising. You can present your business idea on a crowdfunding platform and use this to ask for financial support from the public.

The business is…

4 resultis

MARKET RESEARCH FINANCING

Support from Innovation Norway requires that your idea is innovative, that there is no distortion of competition and that you have a goal to create value beyond Norway’s borders.

Every year, Innovation Norway gives out many billions of kroner in the form of various grants, loans and guarantee schemes.

Innovation Norway

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT FROM NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration)

If you’re unemployed and are receiving unemployment benefit, you can apply to keep your unemployment benefit while you plan and establish your business.

You can receive unemployment benefit for up to 12 months, divided between 8 months in the development phase and 4 months in a start-up phase. If you’re out of work by your own choice, for example because you resigned from your job, there is a suspension period of 6 months.

OVER 2000 FOUNDATIONS AND MUTUAL FUNDS

There are over 2000 foundations and mutual funds which provide support for different purposes. This mainly takes place via an application process. Training, research, art, music, disadvantaged and good causes represent the majority of the grants and funds you can apply for. There is a separate grants handbook which gives you a better overview.

MUNICIPALITY AND COUNTY

There are district and regional political tools whose purpose is to ensure that projects of social interest are implemented.

The aim is to facilitate increased growth, employment and value creation.

BANK LOANS

A term loan is suited to businesses who are making long-term investments. Term loans are a long-term form of financing that is paid out in one sum and repaid according to fixed instalments. This gives you flexibility and freedom. This loan is provided on a fixed or variable rate, or a combination of the two.

Feel free to contact us about which opportunities a term loan could give.

FLEXIBLE FINANCING OF DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS

An overdraft facility is suitable for businesses who want flexible financing of their day-to-day operations. An overdraft facility is made available from the business account up to the granted limit and is repaid according to the needs of the business and as agreed with the bank. The overdraft facility runs for up to one year and can be renewed.

SECURE PAYMENT OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Guarantees are placed by the bank on behalf of customers on behalf of a third party. They are written agreements to provide compensation up to a determined amount. A bank guarantee is therefore a simple and practical security tool that can be used throughout the sales and implementation process and guarantees compensation in the event of breach of contract.

LEASE RATHER THAN OWN

Leasing is a very common form of financing in most industries. Most products can be leased and it’s easy to get started. In addition, you’re able to protect yourself against expensive equipment that stays idle, and not generating income.

DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED MORE LIQUIDITY?

Free up your time by letting others chase up your customers’ invoices for you. Professional credit control is important for any business, whatever its size.

CASH FOR COMMERCIALISATION

Many people think that support from Innovation Norway is ‘free money’, but this support requires that your idea is innovative, that there is no distortion of competition and that you have a goal to create value beyond Norway’s borders.

Every year, Innovation Norway gives out many billions of kroner in the form of various grants, loans and guarantee schemes.

Start-up advisory team explains: financing your startup (19.39 min) (in Norwegian only)

Start-up adviser, Kristin Holter, talks about the different ways in which you can finance your entrepreneurial dream.

DNB NXT

Norway’s leading arena for innovation, growth and investment.

Read more about DNB NXT

Key terms

Another word for the business’ debt, i.e., the capital that businesses borrow from a lender, for example a bank.

Money that is injected into the business by the owners themselves, or money that the business has earned through operations and reinvested into the business.

Money that is invested in a business that carries a high risk. The motivation for such an investment will be a future return via a sale or listing on the stock exchange.

A person who invests in the hope of making a profit. There are many different types of investors, and the time horizon and involvement are two important factors.

Security or a mortgage are what the bank may require if a loan is not repaid according to the specific agreement.

The extent to which the business is capable of repaying a loan. That is, how large a loan a business is able to service.

I need advice about company types

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Start a business

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YOU ARE THE BUSINESS

Enkeltmannsforetak (ENK) (sole proprietorship) is a company type in which a natural person is liable for the business. This means that you have full financial liability for the business’ claims and obligations. You’re not obliged to deposit money in to the business, so you can start with zero kroner in your account.

ENKs are unbureaucratic, cheap and simple. In return you have personal liability for debt, get a slightly inferior level of social insurance, and all profits are taxed as personal income at up to 49.6 per cent. Sole proprietorships cannot offer shares to partners, investors or key employees.

GET STARTED WITH YOU AS THE ONLY OWNER

AS is short for “aksjeselskap” (private limited company). An AS has a number of advantages. Vis-à-vis creditors (those who have lent the company money) you’re only liable for the amount you have deposited. As an employee in your own AS you can claim the same social security benefits as other employees. When you form an AS you need to deposit a minimum of NOK 30,000 in share capital. Compared to an ENK, AS has slightly stricter accounting requirements. An AS must also have a board of directors with at least one member.

COMPANY WITH MULTIPLE OWNERS

AS is short for “aksjeselskap” (private limited company). An AS has many advantages. Vis-à-vis creditors (those who have lent the company money) you’re only liable for the amount you have deposited.

As an employee in your own AS you can claim the same social security benefits as other employees. When you form an AS you need to deposit a minimum of NOK 30,000 in share capital. In addition, there are slightly stricter accounting requirements compared to an ENK. An AS must also have a board of directors with at least one member.

COMPANIES IN WHICH PERSONAL LIABILITY IS DIVIDED ACROSS MULTIPLE INDIVIDUALS

General partnership with joint and several liability (ANS) is a model with which lenders can demand the entirety of the debt from the owners, so it’s up to the partners to agree between themselves. In a general partnership with shared liability (DA) the owners collectively have an unlimited and personal liability for the entire company debt, but each partner can only be charged up to their share of the liability.

There is no capital requirement, and the owners cannot be employed by the business. The business format is not very investor-friendly.

COMPANY WITH MEMBERS WHERE FLEXIBILITY IS IMPORTANT

In a cooperative, the profits are divided according to the members’ interaction with the company, i.e., the value of purchases and sales or time spent. Can be owned privately or via a company.

A COMPANY THAT OWNS OTHER COMPANIES

A holding company is a company that has no other purpose than to own shares in other companies.

Even though a holding company is passive, i.e., it has no operations of its own, an extra company means two registrations in the Register of Business Enterprises, more administration and two annual accounts that need to be submitted.

JOIN FORCES

An association is a self-owned group of members who work together to promote objectives of a non-profit, political, humanitarian or other organisation. Profits, debts and assets cannot be divided up among the members, but you can be employed and receive a salary in the same way as any other organisation.

Organisations whose purpose is not to earn money are exempt from income and wealth tax.

NUF

Norwegian-registered foreign company (NUF) is a Norwegian branch of a company that is registered abroad, i.e., a foreign company.

Start-up advisory team explains: Different company types (17 mins) (in Norwegian only)

Start-up adviser, Mads Andersen, explains the various company types and gives some tips on what might be most suitable for you. (In Norwegian only)

Start-up advisory team explains: What is a holding company? (19:33 mins) (in Norwegian only)

Start-up adviser, Mads Andersen, tells you everything you need to know about holding companies.

Key terms

A private limited company that has no other purpose than to own shares in other companies. Holding companies can often be described as a passive legal entity that holds shares in other companies.

General partnership with joint and several liability (ANS). In contrast to a private limited company, an ANS has joint and several liability where the participants (owners) of the company are personally liable for debt.

An economic activity where the company is owned by the members or participants of the activity. The objective is for the members to share the activity’s financial result.

A non-commercial organisation for members with a common interest such as culture, sport, politics or similar. Associations often do not have a financial purpose.

The most commonly used company type in Norway. The company is liable for all paid-in capital and debt. As an owner you’re not personally liable if the company should get into financial problems.

I need advice about ideas and business plans

How do you test, formulate and protect your idea?

A good business idea could be finding a new way in which to sell or distribute, discovering a new target group or creating a new customer experience.

It doesn’t need to be innovative and revolutionary. The common denominator is that you solve a problem or meet a need, and that someone is willing to pay for it.

Image of a woman in a meeting who’s holding a pen

What is a good idea?

There is no blueprint for what constitutes a good idea, and the only thing that can validate whether or not the idea is any good is the customers.

Does your idea solve a problem?

When you try to find out whether your idea is good, you might start with the problem you’re solving.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often does the problem occur?
  • How intense is the problem for the people it affects?
  • Who are you solving the problem for?
  • How many people have this problem?

These questions and the answers you arrive at will give you an indication of the scope and need for your idea.

What is the core of your idea?

To clarify this, you can ask yourself these questions to check:

  • Who are you going to sell to?
    Who is the actual target group for what you’re selling and how big is it?
  • At what price?
    The price often determines whether or not someone chooses to buy a product. At this stage it’s a good idea to decide on how you’re going to price your product.
  • Does the customer want what you’re selling?
    You should find out as early as possible whether the target group wants what you’re selling. Maybe there are some minor changes needed in order to increase the value of your idea. The most important thing here is to test.

Have you tested your idea?

Is your idea something people need and are willing to pay for? If you can you, should test out your idea.

Examples of this could be:

  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Taste tests
  • Trial customers
  • Pop-up shops
  • Experts
  • Crowdfunding
  • Campaigns
  • Events, open evenings or launch parties
  • Facebook groups.

The idea here is to investigate whether there is an interest in your idea, and whether you’re reaching your desired target group.

Start-up advisory team explains: From idea to business (20:29 mins) (in Norwegian only)

Start-up adviser, Hoang Minh Trinh, gives you an introduction to methods and tools for getting started with your idea.

Start-up advisory team

Are you thinking of starting up by yourself?
Get the Start-up advisory team’s best advice for succeeding - completely free.

Read more about the Start-up advisory team
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Business plan

A management document that is important when meeting with banks, investors and other partners.

What is a business plan?

A business plan organises your idea. It should outline how the business will be run, how much and how you will obtain, earn and invest money and much more.

A business plan is more than a plan for banks, partners and investors, it should be a management document for you and the business.

What should a business plan include?

Your business plan should include the following:

  1. Business idea
  2. Business model
  3. Market
  4. Finances
  5. Financing
  6. Work schedule
  7. Organisation.

DownloadBusiness plan template (in Norwegian only)

Business Model Canvas

The Osterwalder Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a user-friendly approach to drawing up a business plan. The model consists of different sections that help you identify your customers, what your core idea is, how to capitalize on it and how you will reach out to customers.

DownloadTemplate for Business Model Canvas (in Norwegian only)

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Patents and non-disclosure agreements

Get a head start in the market and protect your idea.

Does your idea need protection?

Norwegian Industrial Property Office

Ideas cannot be formally protected, but when they are realised in the form of a product or service, you can get protection.

You can apply for protection in three main areas:

  • Patent Protection
    In order to obtain a patent, your invention must be a practical solution to a problem. This solution must be of a technical nature, have a technical effect and be reproducible.
  • Trade Mark
    If you want to protect the product’s or the company’s name, logo or slogan, you will need to register a Trade Mark.
  • Design protection
    Design is about the appearance and form of a product or a part of a product. Both physical and non-physical objects can be protected, for example graphic symbols or the interior of a café.

Can you keep a secret?

Innovation Norway NDA (docx)

As a rule, sharing ideas is not a problem, but if you wish to ensure information is kept secret, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be drawn up.

An NDA is used vis-à-vis parties who will gain access to competitively sensitive information.

Useful links

Altinn: Plan how you will establish your business
Altinn (the Norwegian digital portal for dialogue with public agencies) has put together some useful information about tax, VAT, operations and administration.
Visit Altinn

Innovation Norway: Start-up tool
Webinars, support schemes and templates.
Visit Innovation Norway

Norwegian Industrial Property Office: I have an idea
Is your idea unique? Do you have a strategy and financing? Have you checked the market?
Visit the Norwegian Industrial Property Office

I need advice about finances and accounting

Why are budgets so important?

Realistic budgets are important tools for the financial management of the business. There are three different budgets you should be aware of.

Investment budget

You won’t get anywhere with your business plan until you know how much money you need. You should therefore draw up a list of what you need to invest in or buy in order to get started. If you’re going to be a consultant, it may be no more than a laptop, a mobile and money for your share capital. In other cases, you may need more equipment to get started. Don’t forget to include a good savings buffer for unforeseen costs that might arise.

Banks and investors call this an investment budget. It’s a formal phrase but in practice it’s just a detailed and specific overview of everything that must be in place in order for you to start earning money.

Download

Investment budget template (in Norwegian only)

Cash flow budget

Estimating income is perhaps the most difficult part of setting up a budget. It’s possibly even more unpredictable than expenses and may include elements of wishful thinking.

It can take time to gain access to customers, and it may be that you need to work with them longer than planned. Take care when outlining how much income you can expect and especially when you expect the income to arrive. This is done in a so-called cash flow budget.

Feel free to use the template we’ve drawn up to help you get started.

Operating budget

The operating budget is an important planning tool. The budget shows the planned activities of the business throughout the year and will be compared against the actual accounts. It’s therefore often called a profit and loss budget. The budget gives you an overview of any deviations and puts you in a better position to implement any measures needed to adjust your course.

The operations budget is also an important financial tool that is used throughout the year in order to identify any unwanted developments early and to monitor the financial growth of the business.

Finances and accounting

It’s important to establish good routines.

Get paid for the work you do

Payment solutions

There are several ways of getting paid for the products you sell and the work you do. You can get paid immediately by using cash, a payment card or the mobile payment application Vipps.

The sale of products or services on credit is often done by invoice.

Accounting is a must

DNB Accounting

You need to make an assessment of whether you want to manage the accounts yourself or hire an accountant.

Managing the accounts yourself can help you understand the business’ ‘inner world’, but it can also take your focus off the most important task which is creating value.

As the business grows, many people choose to do a combination where you do some of the work and the accountant does the rest, or even hand over the entire task to the accountant.

All companies in Norway must pay tax on the income they earn. Your company type will dictate whether you, as a non-professional, or the company must pay the tax.

The Norwegian Tax Administration organises a free course for people who have just started their companies.

VAT is a tax on products and services that are sold in Norway. You cannot register for VAT until you have invoiced for at least NOK 50,000.

Start-up advisory team explains: Financial management (27:40 mins) (in Norwegian only)

Sign up for the course on financial management in which our start-up adviser, Mads Andersen, gives you our best tips and advice.

Banking and accounting in one place

Don’t let your accounts hang over you!

DNB Accounting is as simple and intuitive as possible so you have more time for other things.

DNB Accounting

I’m looking for tools and templates

People sitting around a table working together. Photo.

Helpful tools and templates make your job easier

Here are some useful links to various tools, templates and websites.

Business

Summary of who the shareholders are.

DownloadShareholder register (in Norwegian only)

By signing a duty of confidentiality statement, the participant undertakes to observe a full duty of confidentiality vis-à-vis third parties in regard to business or company secrets or other information.

DownloadDuty of confidentiality statement (in Norwegian only)

The general meeting book of minutes is a very important document about the business’ situation and position.

DownloadGeneral meeting book of minutes (in Norwegian only)

Checklist of important items which we advise you outline in the agreement.

DownloadChecklist for entering into shareholder agreements (in Norwegian only)

Memorandum of association and articles of association for forming a private limited company (AS).

DownloadMemorandum of association and articles of association (in Norwegian only)

Employment conditions

When you have employees, they must have a written employment contract.

DownloadEmployment contract

When an employment relationship ends, the employee is entitled to an employment reference.

DownloadEmployment reference

Must be completed before an employer decides to terminate an employee’s contract.

DownloadSummons to discussion meeting

Termination of employment must always be made in writing.

DownloadTermination Letter

You must give 14 days’ notice to employees being put on a leave of absence.

DownloadNotice of leave of absence

Useful links

Altinn.no
Government information about starting and running a business.

Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
Information about matters related to employment.

Brønnøysund Register Centre
Registration and deletion of business information.

The Research Council of Norway
Information about support for research and innovation projects.

Innovation Norway
Information about support for marketing research and commercialisation projects.

Legathåndboken (Norwegian grants handbook)
Overview of more than 2000 grants.

NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration)
Unemployment benefit in the start-up phase.

Norid
The registry for Norwegian domain names.

Norwegian Industrial Property Office
Rights for trademarks, designs and patents in Norway.

The Norwegian Tax Administration
Information about deadlines and certificates, free course etc.

The SkatteFUNN Tax Incentive Scheme
Tax deduction scheme

I need advice about teams and networks

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Building teams and networks

It’s important to have someone to bounce ideas off along the way.

Will you start up alone? If not, who will start up with you?

Even if the idea is good, and you believe in it, you must be realistic and think through a number of critical questions such as:

  • Are you the right person to put this idea out into the world?
  • Do you have the time, skills and resources to make this a success?

You have the greatest influence over whether this will be a success or not.

Many people find it very rewarding to help

It’s hard work starting up on your own, and many people find it difficult asking for help.

Some people think they can manage everything themselves. These are usually the ones who need the most help.

Dare to ask

A common feature of those who succeed is that they ask for help and know when they need help.

Finding a mentor is a good idea. A mentor might be someone who has experience of starting a business themselves. Ideally in a similar industry.

Here it’s important that you do the work, but that your mentor encourages you, provides input and opens doors for you.

Building teams and networks

When you’re deliberating an idea, it’s normal to talk about it with friends and family. It’s important to differentiate between the professional and the private feedback you get. This is because friends and family will often encourage you no matter what.

Find yourself a team of skilled people who are ideally a little different from you and how you think.

For example, if you’re good at developing things, it’s a good idea to find someone who can sell what you’re developing. Then you can focus on development and your partner can focus on getting your stock sold.

I will have employees

Having employees involves taking on many obligations.

Pension savings

Regardless of whether you’re starting by yourself of together with others, pension savings are one of the things you should have in place. If you have more than one employee when you start the business, you’re obliged by law to provide a pension for your employees. This is often called a compulsory occupational pension. A good pension scheme is considered an important competitive advantage when trying to attract the best employees.

Pensions for companies

Workers' compensation insurance

As an employer, you’re obliged to have workers' compensation insurance for your employees, whether they work full or part time. The insurance covers the statutory insurance requirements for your employees. The insurance covers injuries and illness sustained during working hours and which are related to work. There are no employer's national insurance contributions on the costs, and you get a deduction in the accounts.

General liability insurance

General liability insurance can be thought of as the business’ ‘life insurance’, and this is important for companies who provide physical services or who manufacture or sell products. The insurance protects the business if the service or a product cause injury to others.

Claims can be so large that they threaten the business’ finances, and in the worst case they can result in bankruptcy.

Start-up advisory team

Would you like some helpful advice about teams and networks? Get help free of charge from someone in our Start-up advisory team.

Get in touch with the Start-up advisory team
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Key terms

DNB’s expert advisers for start-up and growth companies. Free advisory services and someone to bounce ideas off for all companies in Norway.

Office community. A co-working space can provide you with decent office space and the chance to build a network in an inspiring working environment.

A person with experience who can help and teach you along the way.

Norway’s largest meeting place for investors and founders. Organised annually by DNB.

The ‘a-melding’ is a monthly communication from employers to NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration), Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Tax Administration about employees’ income, employment conditions and advance withholding tax, as well as employer's national insurance contributions and financial activities tax for the business.

Programmes for start-up companies intended to grow companies’ skills in one or more areas.

I need advice about becoming more visible

Make yourself visible in the marketplace

In order for customers to choose your products and services, you need to make it easy for them to find information.

You should therefore carefully think through your target group and how to best reach them.

Below we have listed some ways of becoming more visible. Much of it’s up to you and doesn’t necessarily require spending money.

Woman hanging up Post-it notes. Photo.

Market yourself

If you’re not visible, you won’t be found.

Website

A website makes the business visible in the market and searchable on Google. Focus on quality content tailored to your target audience, with appealing images and ideally videos too. Remember that your website should be adapted to fit both desktop computers and various mobile devices.

To get higher up in the Google rankings, the content of your website’s pages must be relevant to the potential customers you’re looking for. Therefore, find out which keywords and topics best describe your products and services.

Should you open an online shop? Remember to include product descriptions, relevant images, delivery and payment options, customer service and return options. It’s important to make both ordering and payment easy for your customers. If this is not in place, the customer may not be tempted to come back.

Social media

A social media presence can be both an inexpensive and effective way to market what you’re offering. There are countless social media platforms. Think about how your target audience consumes content, which channels and media they use and adapt your content accordingly.

Start-up advisory team explains: Introduction to marketing (12:24 mins) (in Norwegian only)

Start-up adviser, Hoang Minh Trinh, gives a simple introduction to marketing with good tips on how to get started.

Key terms

By marketing on social media, you can tailor your communications to the individual customer groups based on variables such as demographics, geographical location and behaviours.

Short for Social Media. Online services where the content is largely created by the users themselves and facilitate “many-to-many” communication. Some examples are Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.

This is Google’s advertising system where anyone can go in and bid for advertising space related to specific keywords.

Words that constitute the conditions of an online search. When trying to reach your target group you should find search terms and search phrases that the target group uses to find products or services.

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