Starting a business is a big deal, no matter where you do it. Even though Singapore is an extremely business-friendly country, there are a few things that businessmen should keep in mind before taking the plunge.
Let’s look at some of the factors you should consider before you decide to start a business here. Taking the following into consideration will expand your knowledge base and give you a clearer idea about how to approach your venture here and what to expect in return.
Determining the Type of Business You Want
The first step towards realising your entrepreneurial ambitions is to register your business in Singapore.
But for that to happen, you need to first decide what type of business structure would suit you the best. The majority of businesses in Singapore are private limited companies. This structure has less than 50 shareholders and is preferred for its scalability.
On the other hand, a sole proprietorship may seem attractive, but bear in mind that it too has its downsides. A sole proprietorship is for a one-man business, which considers the businessperson and their business to be the same. This means you are responsible for all the risks and liabilities your business incurs and that you may be required by law to sell off personal assets to pay off your business’ debt and losses. Registering yourself as a company instead limits your liabilities and is a safer bet.
Once you have settled on the type of business you want, registration is an easy and inexpensive process.
Securing Funding for Your Business
How are you going to finance your business?
Besides bootstrapping, you will likely have to explore all your contacts and research all the sources of funding available to you.
Most people start with personal savings and borrowing money from those they know. Depending on how much funding you need this may or may not be enough for you.
One of the perks of doing business in Singapore is that it has a number of schemes in place to help small new businesses, especially those in sunrise industries. SPRING Singapore, for example, aims to help innovative ideas see the light of the day by giving the young and the ambitious the required support to start their own business. On top of that, they provide support to encourage more businesses to undertake a journey towards becoming global competitive brands.
Some of their schemes include the Business Angel Scheme, Sector Specific Accelerator Programme, SPRING Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme, and Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme. Check out which of these would be more suitable to your needs and get in touch with SPRING with your ideas and project details. If they like what you have in mind, they may well support your quest.
There are other avenues as well for you to approach to procure funding and receive guidance for your project – for example, www.investmentnetwork.sg, www.bansea.org and www.ace.org.sg.
Networking for Your Business
Networking makes the world go round. The business space in particular is driven by who you know and how you pitch your product to them.
We recommend taking part in professional networking in Singapore as soon as you have a clear idea about the business you want to undertake. Don’t wait till you have registered. Become a member of trade and industry associations related to your field soon as you can. Participate in exhibitions, trade shows, start-up meets, seminars, and become a very enthusiastic user of the social media (but don’t spam!).
Try writing for trade journals, guest blog, and get your voice out there.
Setting up Your Office
Working from home is preferred by some newly floated businesses in order to save money and other resources. This is fine as long as you are the only one running the business or have only less than 3 people in your company.
For the sake of your business’s growth though, you will have to think of moving to an office space sooner or later. Commercial rents are high in Singapore and despite access to a vast talent pool, this space is super competitive.
You will also need a plan to keep on top of staffing challenges. How many people do you think you will need to hire in the first year? What kind of progress are you expecting in the beginning? Pull out some solid numbers (even if hypothetical) so that you are able to get a better estimate of the costs involved and how to plan around them.
Running a business successfully requires you to be in it for the long haul. Clarity of vision and an unwavering determination are the prerequisites for success. Start-ups often fail because their operators don’t realise the amount of leg work and commitment that goes into it. However, if you have the right mindset in place, you won’t find a place better than Singapore to bring your ideas to fruition. We hope this post has been informative but in case you have more questions, let us know!