A quick scroll through your social media feed or messenger chats might bring up stories of how a secondary school dropout turned his life around by developing a ground breaking mobile application. Or how a single mum with two children in tow successfully started her own business.
Undoubtedly, there are many benefits associated with starting your own business – you get to be your own boss, design a business that has the flexibility to grow together with you and more importantly, invest in yourself.
However, not every startup in Singapore will make it in the long run. There are some that will run into problems within the first few months and have to throw in the towel subsequently.
Coming up with a business idea is a crucial starting point but dedication is necessary for turning the idea into a viable business.
Anyone who is ready to work hard towards building a business should be familiar with the steps that will enable them to reach their goals.
1. Startup Checklist
Aside from tasks such as creating a logo and naming a business, there are many other less well-known but equally important activities that should be considered.
From creating a comprehensive marketing strategy to determining the businesses structure, the work can pile up rapidly.
Instead of guessing where to begin and groping in the dark, a checklist should be crafted to kick start the process of transforming a business from a concept into an actual entity.
2. Business Idea
If you’re considering a startup in Singapore, you’ll most likely have an idea of the market you are entering or what you wish to sell.
If you don’t, you should probably take a step back to do proper market research and re-evaluate your business plan.
It is important to carry out research regarding existing companies within the industry. This makes it possible to learn more about what current market leaders are doing to determine how it can be done better.
- As a potential business owner, if you believe that your business is capable of delivering something that other companies can’t, or can deliver in a faster and more affordable way, this indicates that the idea is solid and a business plan can be drafted.
- You should know why you are launching a startup. During this process, it is advisable to distinguish between a business that caters to the marketplace or personal needs. Focusing on the marketplace creates a larger business scope in comparison to a business that focuses on a personal need.
- During the initial stage, the major details need to be addressed. It may be time to generate other ideas if there is no market for the current idea or there is a lack of passion.
3. Business Plan
With a solid idea in place, the next step is to answer some crucial questions that cover aspects like the purpose of the business, how to finance startup costs, who the service or product will be sold to and defining your business goals.
These are some of the questions that can be addressed in a detailed business plan:
- Businesses need to be aware of their customer base and who will buy their services or products. If there is no proof of demand for the business idea, it would be pointless to move forward with it. New businesses that move hastily without considering these business aspects can end up faltering along the way.
- One of the important components of a business plan is market research on the demographics of your prospective clients and the industry. This consists of researching public data and SEO, focus groups and surveys. It is also advisable to think about an exit strategy while compiling a business plan.
- Business plans help entrepreneurs figure out the direction of their company and how to deal with potential challenges as well as what will be required to sustain the business.
All startups in Singapore have a price and determining how the costs will be covered is a priority for any business owner.
Key considerations include whether you are capable of funding your startup or if you’ll require additional funding from family, friends or even taking up a business loan.
If you’re planning to leave your current job and start your own business, you’ll need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support yourself and the business till it becomes profitable.
- Running out of money quickly before the business becomes profitable is one of the main reasons why startups fail. It is always a good idea to overestimate startup capital because sustainable revenue does not usually start coming in overnight.
- You should also avoid overspending when you start a business. Sensible purchases should be made rather than spending on fancy equipment that does not contribute to your business goals.
- Startups need a significant amount of funding and options range from grants to investors.
5. Business Structure
Prior to registering a your startup in Singapore, the type of entity should be determined. A business structure has a legal effect on everything from personal liability to how taxes are filed.
- Registering for sole proprietorship is the ideal step if you wish to own the business alone and will be responsible for all obligations and debts. However, this option can affect your personal credit directly.
- On the other hand, a partnership means that two or more people will be liable as the business owners. Finding a partner with valuable skills may be preferable to handling a business alone. Adding someone into the process is often recommended to help the business thrive. Ultimately, having another partner also offers the business a fresh new perspective. Along with additional ideas that might help the business in the long run.
- Different types of corporations can be formed by those who want to have a clear distinction between the company’s liability and personal liability. Limited liability is a common structure for smaller businesses due to benefits such as tax relief and legal protections for the company.
- Business owners ultimately decide the type of entity that is most suitable for their current needs and business goals. This decision can be discussed with a legal or business adviser.
6. Registering The Business
- Registering with the government is necessary for becoming an official business entity. This can be done through the Bizfile portal. Corporations usually require the articles of incorporation, which is a document that includes the business name, purpose of the business, structure, details of stocks and other pertinent information regarding the company.
- Sole proprietors can just register their business names with the option of a trademark for additional legal protection.
- Beginning with the right foundation will prevent problems in the long run.
Investing in the right insurance for your business is a vital step that should be considered before launching the business officially. Handling incidents such as lawsuits, theft or property damage can be costly. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to ensure that they are properly protected.
8. Building a Team
A great team should be hired to move the company to the next level. Entrepreneurs are advised to pay equal attention to human resource and their products. People develop products and identifying the right team is important. Creating an effective startup team involves elements like how the team works together, defining responsibilities and roles, giving feedback and division of labour.
Before selling a service or product, a business brand should be developed along with a solid following of people who will be responsive when the business doors open eventually. Logos should be easy to identify and to associate it with the brand. Social media is a great platform that can be utilised to spread the word about the business.
Marketing plans should go beyond launching a startup to build up the customer base and continually spread awareness about the business. In the beginning, this process is as important as offering quality services or products.
10. Growing the Business
The startup launch, and initial sales are just the beginning for you as a business owner. Making a profit and surviving in the business world requires the business to keep growing. One of the ways to achieve growth is by working closely with established brands within the industry. Running a successful business also requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to dynamic situations.
As your business starts to come together and gain traction, do not rest on your laurels just yet. As they say, you may have the best business plan out there but things will inevitably change. Thus, it pays to be ready and be able to adapt to these changes. Ultimately, if you have the passion and are determined to ensure that your business succeeds, it’s already half the battle won.