How To Start Your Own Business In El Salvador

San Salvador El SalvadorSan Salvador, El Salvador capital city.

El Salvador, as the most densely-populated country in South America (despite, or perhaps because of, also being the smallest), has more than its fair share of entrepreneurs. Studies have been conducted regarding how El Salvador approaches entrepreneurship, but the fact remains that starting a business in El Salvador is fundamentally very similar to starting one elsewhere.

If you’re an entrepreneur in El Salvador and you’re looking to set up a new enterprise, you’re not alone, but knowing where to start can be hard. Here’s how to start your own business in El Salvador.

Get funding

Just like anywhere else in the world, it’s important to get the right funding if you want to start a business in El Salvador. This could mean looking to local businesspeople who have money to offer, or it could mean financing the project yourself if you happen to have some cash (which is less common in a developing nation like El Salvador).

Of course, online loans are also an option; even small personal loans can help you to get over the finish line as a new entrepreneur, so don’t discount them. 

Solidify your idea

El Salvador can be an incredibly competitive environment for businesses. Its economy has skyrocketed since the ’90s civil war, which means there are a huge amount of opportunities to pin down. However, that also means that there will be other entrepreneurs trying to get in on what you’re doing.

Make sure your idea is solid and innovative, and try to make sure that you’re entering a niche that’s relatively underserved. This will help you to achieve business success in El Salvador.

Acquire legal representation

You will need a legal representative to handle your business affairs in El Salvador. The country’s legal system can be difficult to navigate, and the last thing you want is to fall foul of some arcane restriction or law that you weren’t aware of.

That’s why it’s important to appoint someone who knows what they’re talking about and who can negotiate your business dealings for you. This might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s not worth skimping on this element of your new business.

Build your brand (and protect it)

Arguably the most important element of any business, let alone one that’s been started in El Salvador, is building a brand. This will help to establish you in a crowded field; it will show everyone why they should avail themselves of your services or buy your products.

Your branding is important, so you should also make sure that you’ve registered the trademarks necessary to protect your brand. The legal representative you hired should be able to take care of that.

Conduct market research

It’s a good idea to walk the streets of El Salvador and look at what other businesses in your field are doing. You can do this metaphorically or literally; you can either conduct market research to examine other businesses’ practices or you can physically head out and look at what other local companies are doing to attract custom. Once you’ve gathered enough information, consider incorporating some of those practices into your own business.

Acquire relevant premises

Buying personal property in El Salvador is a relatively simple and straightforward process, with the government only requiring two documents in order to supply the rights to buy a property. That situation grows a little more complex in terms of business property, though, so make sure you scope out an appropriate location for your business and acquire whatever permits or documents you need in order to keep everything above board. Again, this is something we’d recommend passing to your legal representative.

Open up a website

Whether your business is physically located in El Salvador or not, you definitely need a business website in order to make sure your brand is as strong as it can possibly be. Make sure to enlist the services of a web design professional if you aren’t confident you can do it yourself. Opening your own website means customers will always know where to come when they’re looking for you, and they’ll also have a port of call when it comes to communicating with you.

Start up social media profiles

The most popular social media sites in El Salvador aren’t necessarily the same ones you might find around the world. Facebook remains the most popular platform in the country, accounting for almost 87% of all social media visits in May 2022.

Apps like TikTok and Instagram are also hugely popular in El Salvador, so make sure you’re establishing a presence on all the major platforms. This will help customers communicate with you and will also give your business a more agreeable and friendly face.

Stay creative

The global economy is presenting all kinds of challenges to business owners and employees alike, so it’s important to stay creative in the face of those challenges. As the landscape of El Salvador shifts – which it is continually doing – you must also shift in order to stay relevant. Pay close attention to what’s going on in the country and how you might be able to leverage those events in order to bolster your business. Opportunities can come from some of the strangest places!

Know your demographic

Social media and a dedicated website will help significantly when it comes to knowing your demographic, but they won’t do all of the work for you. It’s important to communicate with your user base consistently; talk to them, find out what they like and what they want, and ask how you can supply those things more effectively. El Salvador is a small, densely-populated country, so it’s all about building a community and catering to that community.