Our goal is to show you profitable small business ideas in Switzerland that you can start with little or no capital. We covered similar topics in Cyprus, Netherlands, and Denmark. Although Switzerland is a country with a population of 8.5 million persons, it is globally recognized as one of the countries with the highest-skilled workers and GDP per capita. Its strong economy results from its low corporate tax and its financial sector.
How easy is it to start a business in Switzerland?
There is a lot of entrepreneurship and innovation in Switzerland. Anyone with a workable business idea can start a profitable business there. Currently, Switzerland ranks top on the list of countries with innovations. They also provide entrepreneurs with support and incentives for their new businesses.
Is Switzerland a good business place?
Switzerland ranks number 36 out of the 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business List. It shows how easy it is to do business there.
The low tax rate attracts foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Switzerland also has high-performing sectors, like finance and manufacturing. These sectors are stable and efficient, which is a benefit to entrepreneurs.
How can a foreigner start a business in Switzerland?
Switzerland does not restrict foreigners from starting a business. All foreigners can start an enterprise based on these conditions:
- Permanent residency
- Country of origin
- Business plan
Foreigners from EU/EFTA states can start a business in Switzerland after registering for a permit. Meanwhile, foreigners from non-EU/EFTA countries must have a resident permit or a Swiss citizen mate. They will also need to meet the requirements for a work visa and show a history of business or a business plan.
Business ideas to start in Switzerland without capital
There are businesses you can start without the initial capital-intensive startup cost. You can start with tools already at your disposal for most of them, like your phone.
Thousands of people start a business in Switzerland every year. Unfortunately, many of them have no experience in running the business efficiently.
A business consultancy service can help startup owners to manage their businesses. You can do business via videoconferencing to avoid incurring renting expenses. A consulting business in Switzerland can provide services in these sectors:
Homemade meals and delivery service
A meal delivery service is a good startup for those passionate about cooking. Since there are plenty of workers in Switzerland, the need for a food delivery service will also be high.
First, you need to find out the meals people prefer to eat during the lunch hour. And the meal you know how to prepare. Although for someone who enjoys cooking and is good at it, learning to prepare new meals won’t be an arduous chore.
You can get customers through referrals from family and friends. Some managers will permit you to deliver your meals to the staff.
Inter-Country Business consultancy
Many people outside of Switzerland are looking for a means to invest in the market.
Hence, they need more information before doing this. An inter-country consultation will help people learn about companies before investing in them. You can decide only to advise them and guide them on what you want to do or choose to be a promoter or a mediator.
Language translator or diplomat
Being a central place of business, Switzerland has a lot of foreigners who frequent it.
Some major cities like Zurich and Geneva have people of different nationalities. These cities are the headquarters of organizations like the United Nations and the European Union.
If you understand any foreign languages, you can offer to tutor anyone who wants to learn. You can also work as a freelance translator or transcriber.
Switzerland is a country with beautiful scenery that attracts tourists from all over the globe. People want to learn more about the history of this beautiful place and its scenery.
Tourism is a significant sector with plenty of business opportunities. You can think of which one is suitable for you, like food restaurants, bars, tour guides, photographers, etc.
Ask yourself what your skills are and think about how you can use them as a service to provide value to people for exchange in cash. With proper research about the tourism industry, you can choose which services to offer at a fair price.
Franchise opportunities in Switzerland
Regus is a website with over 2,000 centers worldwide. It has a flexible office services market and helps businesses of all sizes to work.
Regus has a total investment of about half a million to almost a million dollars. The cost of buying this franchise is $50,000.
The benefits of choosing Regus are listed below;
- Business model
- Membership-based device
- Low payroll costs
- Proven methods and solutions
- Franchise training
- Brand awareness, etc
uBreakiFix is a top tech company that repairs and refurbishes consumer electronics like smartphones, computers, and game consoles at affordable rates.
The franchise’s net worth is $200,000, and the cost of buying it is between $40,000 to $130,000, according to the location.
uBreakiFix is already a household name, so anyone buying this franchise won’t worry about getting customers.
After buying the uBreakiFix franchise, the company will provide thorough training in Orlando. The franchise will also get all the tools to operate in Switzerland. There will also be a discussion on the store’s design, layout, construction, and set-up process.
Arby is one of the most renowned restaurants in the US and America’s biggest drive-through sandwich franchise. There are over 3500 branches across eight countries.
They founded the company in 1964, and a year later, it opened its first franchise.
Arby is famous for its roast beef sandwiches and other fresh foods like salads and sandwiches.
Their menu contains quality meals that are sold to customers at affordable prices.
To open an Arby franchise in Switzerland, the franchisees must meet the following requirements;
- Liquid Capital: $500,000
- Net Worth: $1,000,000
- Franchise Fee: $6,000 to $41,000
- Start-Up Costs: $629,000 to $2,206,000
- Royalty Fee: 4%
- Advertising Fee: 4.2%
Websites to find businesses of sale in Switzerland
BusinessesForSale is now a global service website that connects over one million buyers and sellers every month.
For over two decades, BusinessesForSale has been giving a helping hand to private sellers and business brokers to market their listings.
From construction to cafes, farms, and restaurants, you can sell any business on the BusinessesForSale website.
Bizbuysell is another large online marketplace for businesses. The website has an inventory of over 60,000 enterprises for sales and above 3 million visits every month.
The BizBuySell website contains Switzerland’s franchise opportunities, businesses, and real estate sales.
BizBuySell also has a profile for business brokers whom buyers can consult before selling or buying a business. These industry experts guide the members to make the right choice and get the best company for sale experience online.
Business Broker AG
Business Broker AG is a leading website that supports entrepreneurs in getting buyers for their businesses for sale.
They created this website for buyers and sellers of SMEs in Switzerland to connect.
Their guidance is efficient and professional, making the process seamless and easy.
Business Broker AG has done over CHF 200,000 to CHF 20 million transactions.
They offer the following services to buyers and sellers;
- Consultation support from an experienced broker
- An eye-catching company presentation
- Marketing concept
- Discreet handling of transactions
- Sales hosting and finalization of negotiations
Tech business opportunities in Switzerland
The Tech business is an industry that builds and distributes tech goods and services. Some tech businesses manufacture electronics, others create software, and others provide services relating to tech and IT. Below is a compilation of some simple tech businesses you can start.
Website design has to do with creating and designing the look and functioning of a website. It needs specific tech skill sets like order programming, interactivity, ergonomics, etc.
Every business today either has an online presence, wants to have an online presence, or wants to improve it. They need a professional-looking website to build their brand reputation. A Web Designer earns between CHF 65,046 and CHF 112,327 is Switzerland
Food technology is the branch of food science that involves manufacturing, preserving, and quality control of food products while using technology.
Some of these advanced technologies are artificial intelligence, big data, etc. They use them in the food industry to upgrade agriculture and improve sustainability. In Switzerland, about one-third of their land area is for agriculture. Most of the nation’s organic foods come from their farms.
Anyone who wants to start a food tech business in Switzerland must understand how technology can improve the food sector. A Food Technologist can earn between CHF 53,567 and CHF 91,754.
App or Website for Tourism:
In 2021, Switzerland had a historical record of above 20 million overnight tourist stays.
Switzerland has a high inflow of tourists because of its various tourist attractions, like the Matterhorn, the Chateau de Chillon, etc.
Since tourists are new in the country, they need directions on getting to different places, like where to get the best meals, the best places to visit, where to buy unique items, etc.
Having an app that contains these details can be beneficial to tourists. You can use this to your advantage by creating an app or a website where people can find any of these details.
All companies need data to operate and manage their business. With the number of companies in Switzerland, a data analysis tech business will prove promising.
These companies need data analysts who can use data to make business decisions, plan strategies, and implement changes. Offering such a service online will guarantee that there will be patronage in other countries too.
Benefits of doing business in Switzerland
Switzerland is the right place if you want to start a new business or expand your business internationally.
Below are some reasons you should do business in Switzerland:
1. Economic and Financial stability
The Banking and finance industry is the largest sector in the country. Around the world, Switzerland’s banking has a reputation for its policies, reliability, and expertise. As a business owner, one surely wants to start a business in a place with a stable economy that attracts investors from all around the world.
2. Infrastructure and technology
People know Switzerland for its advanced infrastructures worldwide. The country is also highly innovative and advanced in technology. In Europe, Switzerland is one country with the best research institutes and a skilled workforce. This workforce prompts people to open their businesses in Switzerland because they are confident in its workers’ efficiency.
3. Skilled Workforce
Switzerland has a 79.6 percent employment rate, making it the second-highest country. Presently, there are about 4.5 billion workers in Switzerland, with a low average rate compared to other countries in Europe. The labor market in Switzerland is skilled and flexible, which is a contributing factor to the number of enterprises in the country.
4. Multiple Business Types
Anyone who wants to start a business in Switzerland can choose between distinct business entities. This choice is based on the capital and the number of shareholders the enterprise will have. Entrepreneurs and investors should know the structures of business and their pros and cons, as this would help them make the right choice
Switzerland ranks number one among the most innovative countries around the world. They have been in that position over five times in a row. Hence, business owners can benefit from incorporating their businesses in Switzerland because it will mean higher returns and more accessible solutions to their business problems.
Challenges of starting a business in Switzerland
Starting a business in Switzerland can pose some challenges for investors and companies unfamiliar with the market despite the apparent benefits.
Although Switzerland has access to the EU single market and enjoys its benefits, entrepreneurs and investors should keep in mind that it doesn’t adopt EU standards all the time. This practice can be a problem for foreign-owned businesses because adjusting to their different requirements can be challenging.
Switzerland has a very regulated market, mainly because the government is particular about protecting some of its domestic industries. One of these is the agricultural sector, which doesn’t significantly affect the country’s GDP. Because of this, the government tried to curb any competition so that domestic producers could thrive.
Cost of Employment
As mentioned earlier, Switzerland has very skilled and knowledgeable workers. Their proficiency means higher salary rates, as it is uncommon to see workers of other nationalities with such expertise. The Swiss government is actively advocating the rights of the workforce. Thus, business owners will have to spend more on wages than in other countries.
Business culture barriers
The Swiss have a traditional and conservative business culture, unlike the US. They are sticklers to rules and etiquette in the business environment. For example, a lack of punctuality can lead to broken business relationships between people. Another business barrier is language. Although business people commonly use English while conducting business, they also speak other languages.
30 profitable small business ideas in Switzerland
If you want to start a business in Switzerland, here are some small business ideas that you can start Switzerland
1. Yoga and Meditation Center
Because of stress and workload, many companies advise their employees to do yoga and meditation. These sessions will help them reduce the strain incurred from the pressure of a hectic work routine.
Stress can lead to serious health complications, so doctors recommend practicing yoga and meditation.
Although there are already some yoga and meditation centers, Switzerland’s high number of workers means there is a need for more centers. To stand out from the competition, the business owner should research other unique, less common, and very effective forms of yoga and meditation. You can also incorporate advanced and modern technology to improve the customer’s practice sessions.
2. House cleaning service
Starting a housekeeping business in Switzerland can be rewarding.
Those who want to start a housekeeping business should do well to focus on their clients’ preferences and needs. Some customers focus on eco-friendly service providers that use more sustainable options than harsh chemical cleaners.
People also want to work with those they can trust in their homes and who are reliable.
Housekeeping rates can be between $100 to $300 in Switzerland. The price depends on the area in the country and the size of the house.
3. Professional photography
Nowadays, many people prefer professional photography more than any other kind. They want to capture all of their happy moments and save them.
Since they are not skilled or don’t have a good camera, they need a professional to get a snap of them in these places.
You can start your photography business by hanging around these places. Ensure you do not take pictures of people without their permission. Instead, you can take photos of the scenery to show them or to sell to any tourist who might be interested.
4. Meal delivery service
For those passionate about cooking and skilled at creating nutritious menus, starting a custom meal preparation and delivery business in Switzerland should be a fun, fulfilling, and profitable success. Many workers subscribe to meal delivery services and even refer others to them.
To start, identify what you like to cook and the famous food in your area. Maybe you are adept at preparing delicious meals for people with food sensitivities, allergies, or various health issues. Tell everyone around you about your meal preparation and delivery business and how it is a healthy and time-saving option.
5. Career coach
During the pandemic, people had to reassess their careers because of uncertainty and the need to discover an alternative career path.
If you have qualifications in human resources, psychology, or talent management, or you know you can help people recognize and utilize their attributes and strengths, then career coaching or counseling would be a rewarding business for you to explore.
You can apply for various programs to prepare you for a career counselor’s future.
Although this business or service is not for everyone, to do it, you need to have empathy, patience, positivity, and strong communication skills.
You should be able to listen without judging or being biased and provide guidance to help clients achieve their goals. You may also want to consider specializing in other areas of counseling, such as entrepreneur coaching, resume building, etc.
6. Pet-sitting service
Worldwide, the current cost of pet sitting services annually is around $2.5 billion. And they expect it to increase in the coming years.
If you are an animal lover, you can start a pet sitting business for a price. To start a pet sitting business in Switzerland, you need to have a license, be certified, and have all necessary permits beforehand.
It will be easier to get clients through referrals, especially from family and friends that have used your services.
7. Bike Rentals
Many tourists come to Switzerland because of its beautiful cycling routes like Derborence, Emosson Dam, Funka Pass, etc. Switzerland has a lot of routes for bikers, where they can cycle and have fun.
You can quickly start a bicycle rental business where you’ll have different bicycles for rent at affordable prices. This business can be pretty profitable because tourists who come to Switzerland like cycling.
8. Interior decoration business
Before, people used to decorate their homes themselves, but since the interior decor trend started, people no longer trusted themselves to do their designs.
If you are good with designs, have an eye for color, and know where to get the best furnishings for interior designs, you can start an interior decoration business in Switzerland.
It would be best to compile a portfolio of your work as proof to interested clients where they can see your expertise. It is also essential to keep going for new courses or training because design trends change from time to time.
9. Academic tutoring
Since the pandemic, many people have been going to tutoring because it is also an excellent business to start. Parents are looking for private tutors for their kids to help them do better at school and keep them busy and occupied.
If you are an educator looking for a side business, this is a perfect choice. The good thing about this business is that you can do it online and might not need to rent a physical office space or elaborate.
10. Handyman Service
A handyperson is another good business because they have a skill set that isn’t common among people. You can start a handyperson service business if you know about household repairs.
You can also get more training from the internet if you need any help with your new business.
11. Virtual Assistant
Many trivial roles in businesses are being outsourced and assigned to virtual assistants. As the name shows, a virtual assistant is a remote job. You can offer this service if you know administration, management, data entry, etc.
As a virtual assistant, you have to be tech-savvy and efficient with communication skills. Your salary as a virtual assistant increases alongside your experience in the business. You can check freelance sites or professional websites like LinkedIn to get clients.
12. Eldercare and companionship
Caregivers are people who provide care for older adults.
Many older people have chronic health conditions. And these conditions worsen as they grow older. So they need caregivers who will either live with them or be available to them most of the day.
If you want to start a caregiving service, be sure to get the qualifications to work as a care provider. This training is for a short time and can provide you with the skills you need to do this service.
13. Nutritional Consultancy
A nutritional consultant helps people choose the right foods for a healthy lifestyle. Some of these people live with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. Hence, a nutritional consultant will plan their meals to improve their health.
Most people, especially those above forty, need nutritional consultants in their lives. Even those who are healthy need nutritional consultants to stay healthy. So, if you know food and nutrition, you can decide to be a nutritional consultant and make money from it.
14. Office Supply Sales
Another small business idea to consider is starting an office supplies sales business. You can make money from selling photocopiers, fax machines, and other office supplies. You can become an official supplier and receive payment according to the agreement.
15. Freight Forwarder
Switzerland is a famous place where people come to buy various items in large quantities. People in various sectors come to buy goods from the Swiss market. Some of these are clothing fabrics, Technical equipment, pharmaceuticals, etc.
Freight forwarders help people look for these goods and buy them. Then they assist in shipping everything, which will save the buyers time, stress, and money.
16. Security Camera Installation Business
There is a need for a security camera installation business in Switzerland. Anyone with that skill set can start a company on a small scale. Security camera installation businesses offer installation, maintenance, repairs, etc.
17. Immigration Consulting Firm
Switzerland attracts a high number of immigrants every year. The increase in population is because people migrate to get better job offers. To start an immigration consulting firm, you must know how immigration works.
For some, it might be easy to come into the country, but after that, they do not know what to do next. That’s where an immigration consultant comes in. You can help them with documentation, get a job, or admission into an institution for a price.
18. Fruit and Vegetable Mart Business
If you want to start a fruit and vegetable mart business in Switzerland, the good thing is that you can’t fail at it. Vegetables and fruits are everyday necessities in Switzerland.
Starting a vegetable and fruit mart business has its challenges. But it is still profitable, especially if your mart is in a suitable location.
19. Health Coaching Business
People want to live healthy, especially when they have passed a young age. You can start a health coaching business if you have health skills and certification.
If you want to do a health coaching business in Switzerland, you must get the necessary licenses. It would help if you also had a workspace that you could use for consultation. It can be a home office or a space you leased for this purpose.
20. Cleaning Services Company
You can start this business if you are quick, efficient, and have an eye for details. If you also have experience, it will be easier for you to start a cleaning business.
It would be best not to underestimate the importance of a well-done job in getting you more clients. The cleaning business is lucrative and doesn’t involve any skill or certification.
21. Car Wash Business
Another small-scale business currently thriving in Switzerland is the car wash business. A car wash offers services like washing cars, cleaning the interior, waxing, etc. This business also depends on the right facilities to make the work faster.
22. Laundry Business
Before starting a laundry business, you must calculate the cost and expenses. Many businesses fail because they cannot do proper research, planning, and calculation.
You will need capital to buy laundry equipment you don’t already have. Laundry can be stressful, so investing money in this equipment will make it easier.
23. Dog Training Business
If you are a resident of Switzerland, then you know that the Swiss give their pets the best treatment. A dog trainer doesn’t need any certification, nor is it a challenging task. To be a pet trainer, you must love these animals, and if possible, you must have had experience with them.
If you don’t have the know-how, you can learn how to train dogs to have unique skills on YouTube or the internet.
24. Landscaping Business
A landscaping business involves moving, tree trimming, and other landscape design. You can start a landscaping business in Switzerland if you have these skills.
Take landscaping training under organizations if you have the money. After the course, you can apply for a certificate from them, even if it is unnecessary. But it can serve as professional evidence and give your business a boost.
25. Food Truck Business
If you have always dreamt of starting a restaurant, this is a good business idea. A restaurant is expensive to start, but a food truck is way cheaper and more profitable. You won’t spend so much on bills and maintenance fees.
Rent the truck rather than buy it. You can save money to buy your own or open an actual restaurant.
This business is good for places with high tourist levels like Switzerland. You can drive to any tourist attraction during the lunch hour and get orders from tourists.
26. Help Recruitment Agency
A help recruitment agency is a business that you can start small in Switzerland. If you have a functional home office, you don’t need to break the bank to create an agency of maids, nannies, and other help.
In Switzerland, people need those who can do services like housekeeping, cleaning, etc. If you have the funds, you can also create an app or use any social media to show the services they can perform.
27. Ecommerce Store Owner
An eCommerce business is an online store where people can buy or sell goods or services. Ecommerce usually does a digital transfer of money and other data online transactions.
You can start your eCommerce store if you have a craft or anything you create, collect, or curate. It will give you a sense of freedom and flexibility. Before long, you’ll find that you have built an audience of your own, and you can even make it your full-time job.
28. Freelance Writer
Every day, writers write millions of copies and send or post them across the globe. Writers do these written copies. You can open a freelance writing business in Switzerland if you have writing skills. Sometimes it might be better to open a writing agency. Or you’d have to specialize in a niche, either tech, finance & business, tourism, etc. Usually, there’s no certification for a writer, but you can always do online courses and practice.
29. Tour Guide
Switzerland is a top tourist destination for people who come from all over the world. They want to go hiking, skiing, biking, climbing, etc.
A guide is a person who has a broad knowledge of a place and can guide people on tours. To gain recognition, use every opportunity to advertise your services to people. Some companies have clients who often come on business trips. If they are familiar with you, they can recommend you to their clients who want to go on tours before returning.
30. Online Teaching Course
This business idea is for anyone with a teachable skill. If your skill or course is beneficial, you can earn millions. To sell an online course, you need some money for essential equipment such as a webcam, microphone, etc.
Statistics show that by 2025, the learning industry will be worth over $300 billion. So if you have a skill you think people would pay for, then selling an online course will be a good business idea.