Friday, 11 June 2010

Guest Blogger Series: Miriam Berger (part 2)

Setting up a small business

My experience at home (Canada) and abroad (Israel)

At the end of 2009, I started on a different type of adventure – starting my own business.

Starting my own consulting business has always been a dream of mine. Throughout my career, I’ve worked for some of the largest corporations in the world but always felt that I would get the most satisfaction of running my own show.

Towards the end of 2009, after some reflection time, I felt like it was time to give it a shot. After leaving Jersey around September last year, I went back to Toronto to visit with family and friends. This began the development of my marketing consulting firm, AppleCrisp Marketing Solutions.

What started as a series of wacky ideas has now prospered into a small business that I’m very proud of. In under a year, I feel that I’ve accomplished a lot.

My first step was research – in Toronto, I looked into what I needed to do to start up the business formally. The first step was deciding on a name (done) and registering it as a sole proprietorship. The process in Ontario (the province Toronto is based in) is quite straightforward. You can essentially register the business name online and you receive a business name registration number and certification through email. Costs are minimal (CAD$60). Since I’m running my own show (for now) I didn’t have to register for any additional services like Worker’s Compensation – only register the name and apply for a Good and Services Tax (GST) number. Done and dusted all in one afternoon!

After spending some time in Israel, I made the decision to stay here for a little longer. A few months in, I realized that there was a lot of opportunity to grow AppleCrisp locally in Israel as there is a need for English speakers with solid writing and marketing skills. Taking all of that onboard, I decided to set up shop here too and register AppleCrisp – Israeli style.

To most, registering a business in the Middle East may have “red tape” written all over it. I’ve found that, again, it is pretty straightforward. There are English agencies setup to help out new entrepreneurs and small business owners – so a lot of resources if you have questions. The first step is to register for Value Added Tax (VAT), then Income Tax and finally with National Insurance. Once you open a file in these three areas you are pretty much on your way unless you want to incorporate – which I don’t.

What I’ve learned? Opening a consulting business, with little overhead and no employees other than yourself, has been quite straightforward in both countries for me.

Words of advice - It is important to take the time to understand what you need to do in order to qualify for certain incentives as well as ensure you comply with the local laws. Asking local people, including hiring professional services, is a good investment of time and money to start the process on the right foot.

Starting up a business is still new for me but so far, so good. Doing it while I’m living abroad makes my experiences even that more rich and interesting. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for AppleCrisp – here, there and everywhere.

Exciting times ahead,


About the author

Miriam Berger is the Owner/Consultant of AppleCrisp Marketing Solutions ( She has been a marketer since 2001, working for some of the largest organizations worldwide. A true expat at heart, Miriam is originally from Toronto, Canada and has worked across North America, the UK and now Israel. At the end of 2009, she made the move to the consulting world offering her marketing expertise to clients across international markets. In addition to her wide range of marketing projects, she is also the blogger behind Travelling Starfish ( - a travel blog with an expat edge!

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