Tips & Guidelines Before You Start Your Business

Although Singapore makes it simple and fast for anyone to set-up a new business or company, getting the entire incorporation process right and optimised may require more research and homework, and it necessary, it is always better to get professional advice.

Below of some of the initial tips & guidelines we have to offer to you.

1) What’s your business idea and value proposition?

Before you begin, you really need to make sure you have the right business idea. Ask yourself the following questions

  • What’s so unique about your business?
  • How do you differentiate yourself?
  • What’s your unique value proposition?
  • Can you explain your business concept to a laymen?
  • Have you done proper market research about the products and services you are about to offer?
  • Do you incorporate an online strategy to selling your products and services?

If you cannot articulate a good reply to the above questions, then it’s better for you to go back to your drawing board and to re-assess your business idea before you start your company.

2) Do you sufficient business funding?

Most companies fail because of lack of proper funding and financial management. Therefore, before you embark on your business journey, make sure you 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, it is important to provide for an adequate amount of working capital for your business because you may not be cashflow positive immediately, and it is not uncommon for new businesses to be operating at a loss for the initial 6 – 12 months. So, having an adequate amount of working capital to sustain the initial loss period is absolutely critical. Most business fail (despite having a good business concept) because they run out of cash to operate before they can turn profitable.

So it’s always to important to understand and consider alternative source of funding (when the need arises).

  • Loan and overdraft facilities from Banks
  • Government Funding/Grants such as Business Angel Fund, Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme and Productivity Solution Grants are also available under SPRING Singapore for new start-ups. Please refer to the SPRING Website for more information and remember to take advantage of these generous financial supports if you meet the qualifying criteria.
  • Crowdfunding platforms.

3) Do you have the right TEAM behind you?

Apart from having a right business idea and the financial support, you need to make sure you have the team with the appropriate skillsets to support your business. This is especially critical because Singapore has a very tight labour market and finding competent local talent is extremely challenging. In addition, government is also tightening the supply of foreign manpower by reducing the foreign manpower quota available for each company. Therefore, the supply of foreign manpower is also equally challenging moving forward.

If you are looking at setting up a more labour intensive business (e,g. Food & Beverage business) , then you really need to think carefully and assess if you really have 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:-

  1. 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
  2. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is the government body to monitor and administer all businesses’ tax obligations and tax filling matters. GST registration will be also performed under IRAS, when your business generates annual taxable income exceeding SGD1 million per year.
  3. 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.
  4. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for the application of all Work Pass (Work Permit, S-Pass, Employment Pass, EntrePass, etc) when you want to start and operate a new business in Singapore.
  5. Other relevant Government bodies that may be relevant, depending on the nature of business:
    • Singapore Custom, if you deal with import-export activities.
    • SPRING Singapore, 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 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 the operation of any the set-up of Banks and securities company.

5) Choose the right business structure and name for your business

There are various types of business or company structures available (e.g. Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, Private Limited, etc) 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. Please refer to the this section for more information.

Once you have decided the type of business structure, you also will need to provide a name for your business or company. There are certain restrictions and requirement on the naming convention for the business. Please refer to this link for more information.

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 services of a professional firm like us, to submit the online application on your behalf. Although it’s not impossible for you to do the online application yourself, the entire set-up process could be so much simpler and stress-free, if you have the guidance and the advice of a corporate services provider beside you. Especially if you are a foreigner, then it becomes compulsory you engage a local firm to register the company on your behalf, as you will not have the necessary SingPass account to do the online application yourself.

Why Choose Timcole?

Timcole is one of the leading company incorporation and accounting firm based in Singapore. Our wide range of professional services serve as a one-stop solution for your business, offering you the most affordable price for services conducted with the highest level of excellency.

Contact us to find out more on how we can help you with your company today.