Do you want to start a business in Ghana as a foreigner? If YES, here is a complete guide plus legal requirements for starting a profitable business in Ghana.
Okay, having provided an in-depth analysis of the top 50 best small business opportunities in Ghana and a series of industry-specific sample business plan templates; we will now analyze in detail the legal requirements, market feasibility and every other thing it takes to start a business in Ghana. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
The economy of Ghana is on the rise and it is the wish of the government to see that more businesses are setup in order to help increase the growth of the economy. Here are some steps that you can take if you want to start a business in Ghana.
Starting a Profitable Business in Ghana as a Foreigner – A Complete Guide
1. Develop the business idea: the very first step to starting a business that will be a success is to first conceive a viable and unique business idea. The term unique should not be confused with new, because all businesses are unique but not new. Your business idea does not have to be something revolutionary that has not been done before – that will be very difficult so whatever it is that you are able to come up with does not necessarily have to be new.
Your business idea can be something that is poplar in other parts of the world but is not yet popular in Ghana. However, it should be unique; that is, it should be an idea that would either fix the problem with the already existing business or to change the whole experience with the existing business.
The internet has made it possible to search for ideas for a business very easily and quickly. So you should make the best use of it. Also, when brainstorming for that idea, keep in mind that it must be something you have knowledge of and would love to do; it should not just be about the money. As the saying goes, you can only be successful when you have fallen in love with your work.
2. Know your competitor and target customer: After generating the idea, the next task is to find out whom your competitors and targeted customers are. Which gender, age, demographic area is your business aimed at and at what percentage do they constitute in the country’s population?
It is up to you to carry out through research about the business you are about to start in order to find out all about it and to know what you are up against. This will help you in every other step and decision that you may take for your business in either the short or long run. It will also give you the firm grounds to run and control your business.
3. Draft a business plan: a business plan is a very powerful tool that can indispensable in a lot of ways. It is a carefully crafted document that outlines every detail of the business. It is with the business plan that you can generate funding and investment for the support of your business. Here are some of the sections that you business plan should have;
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Funding requests
- Financial projections
4. Seek business training and assistance (if necessary): in order to prepare your business and yourself for long-term success it is best to get business training and assistance (if you need it). Gaining an in-depth knowledge about the type of business venture you are about to embark on is very crucial for your future. They will help you acquire different skills and strategies to running the business.
There are a lot of training and counseling tools that you can get online (internet) and offline (conference and workshops). Entreat yourself to take advantage of every training program that may cross your path.
Learn about everything that you can from entrepreneurship skills to public relations, customer service, negotiation skills, branding, advertising and much more. If you are already knowledgeable about how to start a business, you may want to skip this level.
5. Finance your business: no matter what type of business you run, you will need funding one way or the other irrespective of your size. As a startup company, it is advisable that you seek for government backed loans, venture capital or research grants to get you started. Such financial supports come with reasonable interest rates and terms of payment.
One way to get such funding in Ghana is through the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) initiative which was recently introduced to the youth by the government to provide financial and expert advisory support for their businesses.
6. Determine the legal structure of your business and register your company: Like with any country in the world, before you set up your business and start being operational, you need first to register your business. Compared with other countries in Africa and the world at large, Ghana through its legislative laws offers the easiest and most straightforward procedures for registering and formalizing any business. An important factor that contributes to this includes free registration documents.
Whereas in other countries you will be charged for these documents, in Ghana the state provides these documents at no costs whatsoever. Secondly, through the government, information on registration and everything to do with business is free and are readily accessible. Thanks to this, entrepreneurs are able to make informed decisions and even prepare better for their business.
There are many legal structures you can choose for your business; they include the Sole proprietorship, limited liability company, Partnership and a Corporation.
You will have to determine which of these structures best suits you and which best aligns with your goals. When you have made you decision, you will then register it as such.
7. License and permits: Business registration is just proof of ownership of a business. In order to do business in Ghana, you will need to apply for licenses and permits for the necessary businesses you are registered for and your location of operation. Just like with registration, applying for your permits and licenses is much easier in Ghana compared to other countries.