3 Steps to Start Your Business in Singapore
You have found the perfect business idea, something that you know will be of value to your audience and something that you are passionate about. You know that this idea has good potential, and you are ready to go ahead and execute it. However, people are often gripped with a great idea and spend years mulling over it, hoping that something will happen to propel them to action. There are many people who think that they have a great business idea in them, but there is only a handful of them who see it through to its execution.
But you can be one of those people. Don’t just let your idea be an idea. There are concrete steps that you can take to start your business in Singapore. Whether you’re a local starting a small business, or an expat trying to expand their company, here are three steps to help you start your business.
- Write A Business Plan
Writing a business plan can seem like a daunting first step, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as a page of your goals and the actions that you should take to achieve them. It doesn’t even have to be as detailed as first, as long as you begin.
Starting a business plan can be easy, even if you’ve never seen one before. While it can be a bit scary at first, there are many resources on the internet that can guide you in making your business plans. There are various templates that you can use to base your own plan on, as well as a myriad of examples. There are even business plan templates that are specific to the kind of business that you’re planning on pursuing, from a non-profit organization to the usual coffee house.
When building your business plan, remember that it can change over time. Its role in your business will eventually evolve as your business reaches new heights and new milestones. For example, early businesses often focus on acquiring funds, and this is often the direction that new businesses will take.
- Choose A Business Structure
Business structures dictate the type of business that you will want to run. There are five main types of structures that you can choose. To pick the right one, you will have to consider first and foremost, how you want to run your business. Will you partner with anyone else? How much capital will you be personally investing? What responsibilities will you want to take?
You don’t have to have a concrete answer to all of those questions, as you may have to compromise in some respects to be able to get your business off the ground. However, settling on a structure early on is a necessary step.
The first type of business structure is a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest structure, and by its name refers to a business with a single owner. You will be responsible for everything that goes on in the business, from funding to management. Sole proprietorship is perfect for entrepreneurs that sell their own goods as a hobby or a side-hustle. You can also start this type of business with virtually no capital, as long as you have some tech-savvy and some practical skills.
The second type is partnership. This is limited to twenty partners and due to its ability to ‘pass through ‘tax burdens’, means that each partner is personally liable for the business’ financial obligations. Any more than twenty partners require you to register your business as a company, under Singapore’s Companies Act. This means that your company will become its own legal entity; just like a person, it can make profits, be taxed, and held legally liable for actions.
The two other types are the limited liability partnership (LLP) and the limited partnership (LP). The LLP combines the advantages of a partnership while giving the business a separate legal identity. Meanwhile, the LP consists of two partners at minimum, at least one a general partner and another a limited partner.
- Register Your Business
Registering your business makes it legally acknowledged to exist by the state. Registering your business also lets you have more freedom when it comes to legal matters and may even let you qualify for benefits. You can manually register your business by yourself, by using ACRA’S BizFile service. Registering through BizFile can be done in a number of ways; from your own computer, at CitizenConnect Centres in Community Centres, or at one of ACRA’S BizFile Kiosks. Additionally, you could also hire the services of a lawyer, accountant, or chartered secretary to submit the registration for you, to make sure that all your details are in order.
Alternatively, you could also hire a business registration service to do the registration for you. These types of services don’t just register your business, they can also help you in other matters regarding your business. Some of the other services they can offer are consultations, which can help you understand the ins and outs of business registration, as well as the registration of trademarks, to protect you from fraud and misuse. With a business registration service, you could delegate the legal concerns to a responsible party and instead, focus on the business itself.
Company registration can take as fast as 15 minutes using the BIzFile service. However, if your company will need to be referred to other authorities, it may take up to fourteen days to two months.