Whilst trying to stand this sausage thing on its feet, I’ve discovered that it is not all that easy to find the information you need. In Italy, getting the right, well almost, information often means wasting half a day or so in some anonymous public office somewhere, clutching the inevitable numbered ticket. And often these offices are only open for half a day.
On the other hand, get it wrong, and if the authorities do catch up with you, they will stamp on you hard, and you pay for your ignorance in the form of large fines. Explaining that you could not find out where to go to obtain the information you needed, is, of course, no defence.
Still, maybe I’m moaning about nothing. I mean, there are lots of foreigners who set up enterprises around Italy, and I cannot believe all of them are totally without the requisite permissions. Then again, with the right finance, you can hire a decent adviser and get him or her to dig around for you. On the condition that you know what information he or she should obtain for you, or feel that you can trust them enough to ‘get the job’ done.
Hiring someone to prepare the ground for you is an option, but, there are other options. Spending some time on the web can help, but you do need to know the terms you should be searching for, as I’ve been discovering. Once you have the right terms, you can target your search much more effectively. Knowing some Italian does not harm either, as you might imagine.
While Italy is renown for it’s Byzantine, or should that be ‘Machiavellian’, bureaucracy and complex legislation, it is by no means the only country in Europe where finding what you need to know is not easy. Apparently France is the equal of Italy, in terms of trying to set up a business.
Still, if and when you do manage to overcome all the little (!) obstacles, you should feel some sense of satisfaction, although once you are out in the ‘business battlefield’, so to speak, that sense may be rather short lived. In Italy, if you do start making some money, you may well find that the dear old tax man will whittle it all away rather quickly. This is in part why Italian businesses use just about any and every loophole they can find to keep themselves in profit, or it could be argued that it is as a result of Italian businesses exploiting every trick they can, that the dear old Italian tax man takes so much away. Catch 22?
Me, and my partner ‘in crime’, Gaetano, shall keep plugging away, in an attempt to raise our ‘child’ into ‘adulthood’. And as every parent will know, this is by no means an easy thing to do. And juggling other things around at the same time is not going to be easy, either. ‘Why do it, then?’, you may ask. Well, there are lots of reasons. Here are a few: creating something from nothing, being in control, meeting challenges, and, let’s be honest, cash. ‘Can we do it?’. Yes (I am arrogant), and we are sure as hell going to give it a go.
The ball will roll on, but, if it does not end up in the goal, we’ll have to be brave and call it a day. This is going to be the difficult part.