Is Ignorance thy Excuse?

For startups, transactional costs could mean a major set-back, and this would only be the first of many price-tags that would need to be taken care of in the future.

This is one of those stories that has been told number of times in Nepal, “I thought I would do as an entrepreneur so I stacked up the needed cash and went ahead to get my business registered. Things weren’t so easy after that—I had to go through a lot of middle men and had no clue about what was going on until my cash-stock started running dry and I decided to give up on the idea.”
While the idea of being-one’s-own-boss, as opposed to the nine -to-five-working-for-somebody-else, has caught on with the present generation, many find themselves lost in the legal labyrinth, adding their names to the list of those who live to tell the tale recounted above.

Decades of structural failures (say the formal court structures with their list of problems like overflowing dockets, resource crunch and management hassles) has made us all a little wary of approaching the legal system.

There is also no denying that the bureaucracy in Nepal doesn’t paint a good image even from a distance; let alone trying to work through it. All this said, the fact that we do not know the system or its rules doesn’t give us the liberty to use that ignorance as an excuse. And if nothing else, being better informed and taking charge of the situation can’t really be that bad. Can it?

So let us say that there’s an aspiring entrepreneur and he wants to register his business. An easy way for him to do that would be to hire a lawyer and pay him and other middlemen and bureaucrats and get his business registered. There, as such, is nothing wrong with this but it does come with a price tag.

For startups, this transactional cost could mean a major set-back and this would only be the first of many price-tags that would need to be taken care of in the future (when wishing to expand the business or even to close it if need be). If the individual doesn’t want that, a few basics that have been listed below can help save ‘some’ bucks:

Gather as much information as possible
Well, start with the basics. If you want to set up a business you need to understand the business. Talk to people who once did it, have been doing the same business or something similar—take notes of the dos and the don’ts. This will at least give you an initial framework to work with. You do have to realize that since it is your business, you might not have to follow everything they say to the letter. Be creative, be that somebody you always wanted to be.

Get the laws right
It is said that Nepal, if nothing else, has a long list of laws—these might not be implemented as we would like them to be but they exist nevertheless. Don’t be one of those who say, “I don’t get this and so let me not bother.” Laws, my dear friend, can be the ultimate respite you might be looking for. Most of these are available for download and can be found at: www.nepallawcommission.gov.np. This will help you understand what processes are involved when registering a business of your own.

Know where to go
Once you know what kind of laws govern the business you wish to set up, the laws will also lead you to what government departments you need to approach. Our system is set up in such a way that middlemen have become integral cogs—don’t get scared, you might just be the first one to try to overcome that hurdle. Once in the given department, take a mental note of which desks you need to approach and get down to business (the business of getting your business registered!)

Make wise decisions
Know that sometimes you are required to register your business at multiple places and faced with this situation you are required to weigh your options and choose. Choose wisely as your choices would have other implications (what particular laws to comply with, what to pay as taxes among many).

Set up already!
Once through it all, enjoy the bliss—pat your back for having done all of this on your own and get that business going.
The above list happens to be one of many business prescriptions. This, ideally, should fit your needs. In case that it doesn’t or the case gets complicated, visit this doctor again.

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