1. Do you have the right business idea and value proposition?
Before you begin the process of setting up your company, you really need to make sure that you have the right business idea. We suggest that you ask yourself the following questions to get some clarity.
- Are you looking to do business in Singapore actively or looking to have a holding company here?
- If it's a holding company, are you looking to at Singapore as your gateway to Asia and hence need the key benefits that Singapore has to offer as a global financial center?
- If it's an active business, what's your differentiating factor within your business?
- Do you know what is your competitive edge and your unique value proposition?
- Can you explain your business concept to a laymen?
- Have you done some market research on what you are about to offer?
- Do you have any strategic marketing plans in selling your products and services?
If you are looking for some sound business advice on the above we are happy to guide you to help you determine your next steps so feel free to contact us.
2. Do you have the sufficient business funding?
Most companies fail because of lack of proper funding and financial management. Therefore, before you embark on your business journey, please do ensure that you have put some serious thoughts on how and where are you going to get your funding to jumpstart and expand your business.
Many entrepreneurs begin with their personal savings or financial support from their families and close friends. This is of course very important and it is the fastest and simplest form of financing.
However, we would suggest that you have set aside an adequate amount of working capital for your business given that it may be at least a year before you realize a positive cash-flow. Its also prudent to ensure that you have access to alternative source of funding (when the need arises).
Singapore is a very friendly destination to help you with your cashflow needs. With 30% local shareholding, you can get access to a wide variety of funds as follows:
- Loan and overdraft facilities from Banks
- Government Funding/Grants such as Business Angel Fund, Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme and Productivity Solution Grants are available under Enterprise Singapore for new start-ups. We will be happy to walk you through this should you require more information.
- Crowdfunding platforms and Access to Equity Financing
Please do contact us to learn more on how you can get access to funds in Singapore
3. Do you have the right Team to work with you?
In addition to having the right business idea and financial support, you need to ensure that the right team with the appropriate skillsets are hired to support your business should you wish to be active here. This is especially critical for you to note as certain professional businesses such as IT, Healthcare generally are easier to hire talent and get work-passes for as compared to others. The government is also moving into a "hire Singaporeans first policy" and it will actually benefit you immensely if you manage to hire the right local talent and take advantage of the hiring grants that the Singapore Government is providing.
If you are looking at setting up a more labor intensive business (e,g. Food & Beverage business) then you really need to think carefully and assess if you have the sufficient manpower support before you embark on your business start-up.
4. Understanding the Governmental & Legislation Framework you need to comply with
Depending on the nature of your business, there are many government bodies that you may have to deal with. The more common ones (non-exhaustive) are as follows:-
- Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) regulates all Singapore's businesses, public accountants and corporate service providers, and it is responsible to monitor corporate compliance to all disclosure requirements for businesses and companies.
- Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is the government body to monitor and administer all businesses' tax obligations and tax filing matters. GST registration will also be made mandatory when your business generates an annual taxable income exceeding SGD$1 million per year.
- Central Provident Fund (CPF) is in charge of the administration and governance of Central Provident Fund contribution payable by employers for any of its staffs who are Singapore citizens and permanent. You will need to open a CPF account for your company before you can start hiring employees under your company.
- Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for the application of all Work Pass such as Work Permit, S-Pass, Employment Pass and Entrepass when you are ready to hire for your business
There are also other relevant Government bodies that may be relevant to you, depending on the nature of business:
- Singapore Custom, if you deal with import-export activities.
- EnterpriseSingapore, to access government funding or grants for new start-ups
- National Environment Agency (NEA), if you need to get the license to operate in the Food & Beverage industry
- LicenseOne is the portal for the application of various regulatory license requirements for various business types
- CorpPass for the registration and issuance of an online account for access of all governmental online portals or websites.
- Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulates the licenses for all licensing obligations for all financial institutions.
Please contact us should you need further guidance on your grant and licensing queries.
5. Choose the right business structure and name for your business
There are various types of business or company structures available in Singapore for your registration. Depending of the nature of your business, risk profile and cost considerations, you need to decide what type of business structure is more suitable for your needs. Different business structures will also have different tax and liability implications to you.
Once you have decided the type of business structure, you will need to secure an available name which we can help you with so please contact us to learn more.
6. Register and Start your Business
If you are a Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident, you can register your business in Singapore by submitting an application online using ACRA's BizFile service. Simply login to BizFile using your identification number and SingPass to submit an online transaction.
Alternatively, you can also choose to engage the incorporation services of an affordable professional firm like us to submit the online application on your behalf. It would make it much less complicated and you would have a stress free experience especially if you have the guidance and the advice of a corporate services provider.
If you are a foreigner, it is compulsory that you engage a locally registered corporate secretarial firm to register the company on your behalf, as you will not have the required SingPass login details to be able to set up the company yourself. We will be very happy to walk you through this process so please feel free to contact us.