Written by: Christopher Chitty
The process of starting a business in Singapore is simple and quick but what do you need to do before you even register your business?
Coming up with an idea is the most fun and at the same time, a challenging aspect of starting a business. There are several factors to consider when debating your idea such as how viable is it in the market and if anyone else has patented it. More often than not, you're going to come up with a great idea that has already been patented or a great idea with no viability.
It is a thought-provoking process that will consume large amounts of time and if you're not careful, drive and determination. It might be beneficial to come up with a company name, one which is indicative of your overall business ideal to help focus you.
In order to come up with something workable, you will need to identify the top and emerging industries in Singapore.
Tourism, Biomedical Science, Logistics, Banking & Finance, Chemicals and Construction are the major industries driving Singapore's economy. The emerging ones are Healthcare, Education, Casinos and Info-communications & Media which incidentally in this digital and fiercely mobile Age, is one of the largest contributors to Singapore's economy.
Even Real Estate in Singapore has become an attractive venture. According to Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Asia Pacific, the industry has jumped from 4th place in 2010 to 1st place in 2011. Singapore makes doing business easy in a safe and politically sound environment. Couple this with a booming Asian market and Singapore becomes a very attractive destination for serious investors and developers alike. With globalisation and developers investing in Singapore land to build condominiums and mixed developments, the Real Estate industry is fast becoming a contender for the largest contributor title to Singapore's burgeoning economy.
Once you have isolated your target industry or industries it will be much easier to concoct a plan going forward. When you have a good idea of where you want to take your business you can engage a market research group to gather data from your target group to judge the marketability of your product or service. Once you have determined your market and created a working prototype of your product you are sure is viable, it is time for the next step.
An entrepreneur fresh out of school will find the lack of funds disheartening. Without funds his new company cannot expand and without a healthy cash flow, it will not be able to conduct daily operations. The entrepreneur or new business owner's immediate priority will be to secure sufficient funding proportionate to his business plan and goals.
In pro-business Singapore, the government has in place numerous funds and grants available to aid budding business men in get their feet of the ground. There are also private funders found through the Singapore Business Angel group which provides similar services.
After funding has been secured, a business plan has been formed and a name for the company chosen and patented, it is time to follow the step by step process of starting your company.
After your company has been registered, you can locate suitable premises through BizMap.
With a registered mailing address, you can now open up a corporate bank account. Most local banks (DBS, OCBC & UOB) have worldwide branches and allow a bank account to be opened overseas without a physical presence. International banks such as Citibank, Standard Chartered and HSBC also provide similar services, expecting nothing more than a phone interview with the relevant parties and the submission of related documents.
The documents typically required are:
1. The Board's Resolution sanctioning the opening of the account, clearly indicating the authorized signatories
2. Certified True Copy of Certificate of Incorporation or its equivalent
3. Certified True Copy of the company's Memorandum & Articles of Association
4. Certified Copy of Company's Business Profile from ACRA
5. Certified True Copy of Register of Directors and Shareholders
6. Certified True Copy of passport or other proofs of identity of the directors of foreign company or the local agents and authorized signatories
These documents must be Certified True by the company secretary or one of its directors.
The bank may also require a director or company agent to be physically present during the opening of the account but as this varies from case to case, it will be best to check if this is necessary with the bank you are opening the account with.
Once all the technicalities have been completed, the fun part of running your business and hiring employees begins.
However, remember to do background checks on companies and future employees you are going to be working with. With globalization permeating our lives, people from all corners of the globe are rapidly shuttling to and fro countries looking for better opportunities all across the world. There is no shortage of workers, but good ones are certainly harder to come by. Align your hiring objectives with your company goals and match the potential hirelings profiles with your expectations when you do your evaluation to ensure that not only do you get the best possible person for the job, but a team player and a company person as well.
As there are many people looking for work and are prone to accepting the first good offer lying around (some do so for an employment pass), do not be tempted to hire quick fixes just because your company is new. A good company grows with good employees and this starts from the very beginning.
Invest in short term goals and you will snowball the issues you will face in the near future.
Think long term and hire well to minimize the number of insignificant problems you may face in the future. This in turns frees you up to focus on growing your business and making your venture profitable.