I write this article to try and encourage other Germans who might migrate to New Zealand to consider the possibility of setting up a small business. I’ve done so successfully and thought I would relate a little of my experience to others who might consider trying to do the same thing.
That’s because I was very intimidated by the prospect of setting up a small business. Everything in New Zealand is different from the way it is in Germany. All of the rules and regulations are different, the finances are different, the taxes are different and there’s so many new things to get your head around as an immigrant.
And of course you’ve got to find a good business niche to get involved in. As someone who has not lived in New Zealand for very long it’s not easy gathering up sufficient understanding of the local market to find a viable niche in which to start a business.
My business was in forklifts. When I got to New Zealand initially I began work with a company that had a large number of forklifts in use in their warehouse. All day long you’d see forklifts buzzing up and down moving stock around the warehouse.
I got to know some of the forklift drivers quite well and spent quite some time with them finding out about what it takes to become a forklift driver. I assumed initially that it was just time spent on the job however after speaking to them for some time I realised that it was a skilled task which required quite specific training, and a specific licence. And getting a forklift licence, whilst not extremely difficult, is a very important part of the process because all forklift drivers are required to be licensed.
So I did some research into forklift training courses and forklift licensing, here. It seemed to me that there was an opening in the market for a company offering forklift training courses and forklift licences and so I began my business, after employing a suitably qualified person to work with me, offering forklift licence training.
It’s not an easy thing opening a business in New Zealand when you’re German. I approached a number of banks for finance and was turned down by all of them because I had no history in New Zealand. I didn’t need a whole lot of money but I did need a small loan to tide me over, and ended up taking out a much more expensive installment loan for a small amount of money. It’s only a small loan and I hope to have the loan repaid very soon. I didn’t plan on an installment loan as it has a very high interest rate but just couldn’t get anything else.
It ended up being a very clever decision to open a business offering forklift licence training. I’ve promoted it on the Internet and locally and I’m now getting a steady stream of new hopeful forklift drivers undertaking my forklift training course and its working.
It is not particularly difficult running courses for forklift drivers and it’s not very expensive so the profit margin is quite high. I rent premises and my premises aren’t particularly expensive because I don’t need a high profile location, so I was able to find an old disused warehouse where I could run my forklift training courses at a relatively low cost.
As a new resident of New Zealand, who came from Germany, I was quite intimidated by the process of setting up a new business. Refreshingly I found it much easier to do than I had initially expected and have now been able to set up a business that is running profitably and which is providing me with a worthwhile income.
So my advice to any German coming to New Zealand who is considering setting up a small business here is to go for it. It might seem intimidating at first however many of the imagined problems melt away once you get stuck into the details and it’s quite possible to establish a small business successfully here in New Zealand. Here’s a good place to start.
Don’t let the details put you off, get it started and you’ll have your own small business running successfully before you can imagine.