Advice and Tips for starting a Small Business in Singapore

Undoubtedly, Singapore is one of the best places to start a business. Do you know why?

1. Singapore ranks high for holding a competitive environment and high-end infrastructure to start a trade.

2. Not only in Asia but also when compared globally, Singapore has many talented workforces.

3. This place is considered to be a highly stable environment to handle the business with ease.

4. Lining up after London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore takes fourth place for having the best foreign exchange, globally.

Not limiting to these, there are a lot of reasons to start a trade-in Singapore. Well, if you are planning to start a small business here, then read further. In this article, you can get tips and advice through which you can start and run a successful small business in Singapore.

It will be pleasant to hear the success stories of businesses. But on the other hand, frankly speaking, it is not that easy to start a business. In any part of the world, doing a business needs research, capital money, market analysis data and innovative ideas to perform the trade.

Here is a quick look at the steps to put your foothold in small business in Singapore.

  • After planning the business type, register it in Singapore.
  • Get the capital money & invest to set-up and develop your trade.
  • Enhance your business networking
  • File for the taxes that are relevant for your trade.
Small Business Owner Analyzing and Strategizing his business ideas

Before getting into the topic, here is some general advice to become an entrepreneur in Singapore.

1.     You must check the market trend for promoting your business ideas. According to the 2018 report, there are lists of businesses that are in-demand in Singapore. The list holds digital marketing, care services for older people, courier services, agriculture etc. Thus, ensure the business idea you choose is unique and whether or not it will become a market trend. Adding to this, I would like to say, if you are opting the same old business trend then there are chances for it to get toppled (not for all the cases). The business must be catchy and serve the people to the core.

2.     Preparing a business plan is the second step. Though it is a daunting task, it will give you and your customers a clear picture of your trade. Furthermore, you can set the target customers, the demographic location where they are present and also ideas to focus on trade in that location.

3.     After registering your trade-in Singapore, you can avail for grants available for entrepreneurs. To encourage startups and SMEs, the Singapore government have allocated several grants. To name few of it – Startup SG Founder, Startup SG Tech, Startup SG equity, FSTI (Financial Sector Technology & Innovation), Capabilities development grant (CDG), Business improvement fund, DTDi (Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization), MRA grant.

4.     By reaching the grant knowledge centre, you can get to know about the different types of grant available in Singapore. All the grants have the set of eligibility criteria. Check whether your business profile matches those criteria for the grant you prefer. If so, then proceed to apply for it.

5.     Finally, when your grant is approved, then start working to begin your small business in Singapore. You must also be aware of tax obligations. The single-tier tax system is followed in Singapore for running a business. That means, if you are running a small business, then you must pay tax based on the profits and not depending on revenue. After the payment of tax, the profit is given to shareholders without tax (tax-free). Thus, get legal advice on the tax system in Singapore so that you can follow the same without violating the law.

6.     Are you not interested in making a digital presence for your business? Then I would say that you are losing a lot more target audience. Online is the place where any business can reach the audience and market their product or services. Therefore, never neglect it while starting a business.

Now diving deep into the topic, let us see the tips for entrepreneurs to kick-start their Singapore trade.

Corporate registration is a must for local businesses and also for foreign traders. ACRA (Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority) is solely controlling corporate registration in Singapore. Beforehand, you must submit the proper documents as said per Companies Act. If you are the foreigner willing to start a small business in Singapore, then the registration must be done only via a registration provider available domestically.

In order to register your trade, you must have the details about the following:

  • Name of the company
  • Director who will be in-charge for the trade happenings. The director can be a citizen of Singapore, or permanent Singapore resident or an EntrePass holder. The Entrepass (or the entrepreneur pass) is one of the best schemes in Singapore which are launched to assist the startup entrepreneurs.
  • For registration of the company, shareholders are a must. The number of shareholders may vary between 1 to 50.
  • S$1 (Minimum paid-up capital) must be done.

Now what are the documents required for registration? If you are not aware of it, need not worry. You must ensure that you have the following documents handy.

  • As said previously, the name of the company that is ACRA registered.
  • Clear idea about the trade activities that you are going to perform. This is one of the essential documents since the registrar will check whether the trade activities are legal and within the lawsuit.
  • Singapore address where the company name is registered.
  • Documents about the director and shareholders. (Specifically, their address, ID proof etc.)
  • While registration, you must appoint at least one secretary to look after the works. It is necessary to give the particulars of the appointed secretary.
  • Foreign traders must give identity proof in Singapore.

These are necessary documents for registering for small business in Singapore.

For registering the company, you must choose the company name. Remember that in Singapore, the company names must be different from one another. Usually, the company name comes along with the business type nameā€”for example, XYZ Pte Ltd or XYZ Limited or XYZ corporation. Therefore, search to find the unique company name. Here is one additional information, if you want your company name to get approved quickly, avoid including the business types like media, school or bank in the company name. These are business types which don’t come under ACRA control.

Two Creative Small Business Owners Planning their business moves

Here is the list of company types that are common in Singapore.

 – Private limited company: This is one of the popular business type choices in Singapore. It is because the tax exemptions are good and the government allows the company to have upto 50 shareholders.

 – LLP (Limited Liability Company): Though the businesses own a legal identity for each of them separately, they can have a partnership in business deals.

 – The other sorts of business types are a subsidiary company, sole proprietorship, branch office, representative office and variable capital company. You can research and choose one among these while registering the company.

SSIC code is mandatory to start a small business in Singapore. The SSIC code represents the business which your company performs. Via SSIC code, the ACRA will recognize it. Well, can you guess what would be the next step in starting a trade? Yes, it is getting shareholders, directors and the corporate secretary. As mentioned before, for registering the company, you must have proper documents of these members. In Singapore, the maximum limit of shareholders is 50. And foreign citizens can also be the shareholders.

Similarly, directors of the company can also be a foreign citizen. However, ensure that at least one of the directors is residing in Singapore. You can also prefer choosing a nominee director that is one of the standard practices there. Finally, the prominent role of the company’s secretary is to collect the necessary documents about the company and submit it to the Singapore government. According to the law, the company must appoint the corporate secretary as soon as possible (that is within 6 months of time).

Final words: After registration for your business, check for the appropriate grant given by the Singapore government. The best part of the grants is, you need not repay the grant amount (unlike loans). Research and get to know how the grants work for small businesses in Singapore. The grant is given for various reasons – to develop the small entrepreneurs’ community in the country or to know about the specific business industry (The grant would be a reward for your research data). However, after receiving the grant, you must periodically report about the business status to the concerned department. Now, you have received the grant, and the next step is developing your trade.

These are some tips and advice through which you can start a small business in Singapore. Though it is not an easy deal, you can become an entrepreneur via consistent hard work. Hope, you will follow these and strive to dig a deep business root in Singapore.

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