You are one of those people who dream of working for themselves, have a distinctive idea and want to capitalize on it, or address a social cause. Any of these may have inspired you to set up a business in Singapore. Starting a business is not a cakewalk, whatever the reason.
Singapore is known for its strategic location, highly skilled workforce, market-friendly environment, and strong intellectual property rights. Further, Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2022 is higher at 4.4 percent than the 3.4 percent predicted by analysts.
An easy incorporation process, robust economy, and favourable tax system make Singapore one of the leading destinations for business. With all these benefits, one still hesitates and asks, “How to start a business in Singapore?” Not many are conversant with the process. Here are some steps to follow to set up a business in Singapore.
Are you ready to start a business?
Setting up a startup or small business can be an exciting adventure, for you can be your boss and enjoy greater security than before. Nonetheless, running a business involves a lot of hard work and challenges. You are ready if you are:
- passionate about putting your idea into practice
- a true believer in the product or service you want to offer
- prepared to learn
- carrying a business plan
- knowledgeable about your field
- in a position to raise capital
- ready to face failures
Also, being clear on why and what you want to start a business before registration helps.
Draw up a business plan
As an entrepreneur, you need more than just amazing ideas to succeed. Making a plan of action is the first step in bringing your ambition to life. If you intend to open a retail outlet or a restaurant, the business plan that you have come up with will serve as a precise and complete road map for how you want to go about it.
Further, the plan should also include your business objectives and ways of attaining them, marketing strategies, and financial requirements. The background information on the company, making efforts to reach its goals should also be included. All you need to do is write down the main points and keep adding to them as your business grows. Define your business purpose to help you and your staff to stay focused.
Decide on the business structure
Before registering your business in Singapore, determine the business structure appropriate for your kind of business. You can choose from any of the following structures.
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Limited Partnership (LP)
A sole proprietorship may seem attractive, but you need to keep in mind that it is a one-man operation, wherein a sole proprietor is responsible for all risks and liabilities faced by the company and may need to liquidate his or her assets to cover the losses and liabilities. On the other hand, registering a company is unquestionably a much safer option. Once you have chosen the type of business, registration is a cheap and easy process.
However, you can consider the essential aspects to decide on the right business structure.
- The amount of money you want to invest
- The number of owners or partners in your business
- The duties, responsibilities, and liabilities you want to take on
- The risks you are willing to take
- Will it be easy to shut down a company with that particular structure?
Grants available for your new business
Singapore is one of the best places to start a business, for it provides several startup loans, government assistance schemes, and grants for businesses. SPRING is a government organization in Singapore that offers funding for a wide range of initiatives, including innovation, skill development, new product development, and international business expansion.
In addition, several financial institutions provide Startup Grants to assist Singapore’s budding entrepreneurs in starting their businesses. The other schemes are Technology Enterprise Commercialization Scheme, Business Angel Scheme, and Sector Specific Accelerator Programme.
Know to register your business
You are required to submit an online application to ACRA’s BizFile service to register your business in Singapore. ACRA stands for Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore. By entering your identity number and SingPass at one of ACRA’s BizFile Kiosk locations, on your PC, or at CitizenConnect Centers housed in Community Centers, you can access the website.
There are experts like lawyers, accountants, or chartered secretaries to help you submit the online application. It will take 15 minutes to register your business after paying the fees. If your application needs clarification or verification, registration will take anywhere between 15 days and two months, depending on the verification process, and the necessary verifying authority’s review and approval.
You will receive a Business Registration Number (BRN) from ACRA, which helps distinguish your business from others.
Apply for a corporate account online
After the registration, you need to start a business account to support your day-to-day business operations. For instance, DBS Bank allows you to open a Corporate Account online in a few minutes and enjoy several benefits.
You can now get the necessary permits, set up a comfortable office, and recruit employees to take your business ahead.