How to Start a Business in Singapore
Being the boss of your own business is the dream of many, which explains why entrepreneurship is on the rise. However, starting a business always comes with a unique set of challenges.
One thing you can do to overcome these inevitable risks is by preparing and planning. If you don’t know where to start, here are 10 simple steps on how to kickstart your business in Singapore.
1. Determine your business idea
You are here because you have a business idea—that’s great! However, have you gone through your ideas thoroughly? These early stages are the best time to be critical of just how viable and feasible your business idea is.
Here are a few things to consider:
- How specific is your business idea?
- Is your idea realistic and attainable?
- Are you entering a niche market or are there other businesses that are already offering similar products or services?
- What differentiates you from your competition?
- Are you providing a solution to customers’ needs?
- How would you measure your progress and success as a business?
If you already have the answers to these questions, then you’re ready to move on to the second step.
2. Create a business plan
You don’t need a business plan with hundreds of pages; a business plan should not be complicated but straight to the point. It should cover these important parts:
- Executive summary
- Company overview
- Vision and mission statement
- Market analysis and target audience
- Products and services
- Marketing plan
- Financial plan
- Logistics and operational plan
Since your business is still in the planning stages, your business plan doesn’t have to be 100% accurate just yet. But it can act as a guide or reference that you can keep going back to as you get closer to achieving your goals.
3. Work out the financials
Regardless of whether you’re comfortable managing numbers, working out the financials is an important aspect of running your business. To start, there are two types of costs that you need to prepare: Capital Cost and Fixed Cost.
Capital costs are one-time amounts that you will need to launch your small business, including your materials and any funds needed to register your business or a website.
On the other hand, fixed costs are the expenses you will need to pay regardless of whether you are gaining a profit. It is also important to know how to deal with emergencies and unexpected expenses.
If you need capital to kickstart your business, be sure to apply for a flexible business loan with us and be on your way to start-up success!
4. Conceptualise the branding
Here comes the fun part! First, pick a name for your business. Come up with a unique and memorable name that is easier for your future customers to remember. However, keep in mind that ACRA does not allow offensive business names, so steer clear of profanity or acronyms that could have derogatory meanings.
On top of that, it helps to check whether your preferred business name is available for use. Sometimes, you may come across another company with the same name as you if the brand name is generic and common. Try coming up with a few ideas instead of just one in case your first choice is already taken or unavailable.
To check if a specific business name is already in use, simply visit BizFile+ and key in the name in the search bar. Let’s hope they name you have in mind is available, fingers crossed!
5. Create a website for your business
While most small businesses choose to start off with social media profiles, creating a website can be highly beneficial for your business in the long run. It acts as a centralised platform for your customers to get information on your services and product updates and also increases credibility among consumers, making the brand look more professional.
Your website is also the perfect place to showcase any accolades your business has attained; featuring awards and professional certifications on your social media channels may not be the most appropriate medium.
6. Decide the business structure
As for any business in Singapore, you will need to consider which business structure is best for you.
There are 4 main types of business entities to choose from:
- Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
When comparing the various types of entities, make sure to do your research and find the one that is most suitable for your business now and in the future.
7. Understand tax obligation matters
It’s useful to educate yourself about Singapore’s tax obligations for your small business to prevent any legal problems in the future.
Start with the basics of Singapore corporate income like how to file estimated chargeable income and important dates you should be aware of. If you are not confident in handling it by yourself, consider engaging with tax experts that can provide you with assistance in this area.
8. Register your office address
Registering an office address is one of the requirements for incorporating your company in Singapore. If you own a small-scale business and conduct your operations from home, don’t worry—you can register your private residential property or HDB as your address.
Click here to learn more about the different addresses you can register with ACRA.
9. Register your business
It’s all finally coming together. At this stage, all that’s left is to incorporate your business. Entrepreneurs can easily do this on their own or seek help from a professional service provider.
The process of company incorporation should not take too long. If your application does not need additional investigation, it may even be approved within a day.
10. Set up a digital presence
Having a strong digital presence would be ideal for any business. In this day and age, online marketing is taking over traditional marketing practices and here to stay. It is also a cost-effective way to reach your target audience effectively as well.
To start, you can start creating social media pages for your business and monitoring the progress and engagement rates regularly as you go.
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