I have friends who ask how to get started on starting your own business/company. Many many many people i know now have a side business as a hobby or for side income or because they are passionate about a product or service. Either way, this will be very helpful if you have no idea how to start and where to go.
What i am sharing, is what i used personally and also recommended friends who ask me. I originally wrote this for a friend but realized I actually shared this info more then once to more then 1 person. So here goes, a list of very basic things that get you started!
- Register your company / Name of your company
Check these things before you decide on the company name
- Any other business that already has that name registered on ACRA, check and register your business here : https://www.acra.gov.sg/Home/
Decide if you want to be Sole proprietor, LLP, or Pte Ltd. Small / Home businesses usually go for SP as it’s cheapest. But if you are taking up a loan from the bank or having investors etc, please go for Pte Ltd so that your personal assets are protected against anything that goes wrong – law suit, or delay / unable to pay for loan/debt/payments to others they will not be able to go after your personal assets like your house, savings etc.
If you intend to run a small/side business yourself, I’ll recommend Sole Proprietor as it costs the least and it is sufficient for a small business owner.
- Domain website is available for you to purchase (.com, .com.sg and .sg)
- Social media platforms that you intend to use – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. The handles of the name of your company is still available
- Use all these links above to register for your company, and domain (your company site.com) I use vodien because it’s a Singapore company and it has a 24 hours hotline, you will be able to get through if you have any issues with your website, compared to US sites like godaddy dot com.
- When register for social media sites, preferably that all the handle names are the same, I had an issue with Instagram handle that was taken before, so no choice I could not have the same handle as facebook!
- Service or Product? Do you need a Shopping Cart or just a Website with information?
If your company is giving a service to others, you probably only need a website. There are sites that allow you to build a professional website –
If you are selling a product, there are a few choices. Personally I used shopify because i felt it was more straight forward then others. WordPress also has a “add to cart” function as well but i have not used it before so i cannot comment.
- Payments – Set up company bank account & paypal account
It is important to separate your company finances from your personal bank account, so do open a new bank account – it could be another savings or business account.
I opened a new bank account to separate my business finances from own personal savings. In the beginning, I did not do it and things got really messy. If you don’t need a business account, go to DBS/POSB and open another normal savings. Most people in Singapore have a DBS/POSB so it is more convenient for your clients/customers to pay you.
Tip for opening a business account – Go for something with a low minimum deposit, with cheque book (if you need) and ibanking online. I looked through a few banks and these seem quite reasonable.
- Open a Bank account
- Open a Paypal / Stripe account
Open a payment gateway account like paypal/stripe to accept credit card payments. I think stripe may have more functions like the ability to do subscription payments, etc.
- How will you market your service/product?
If you are selling a service, giving people information and content is a good way to market your service – this can be through your website/blog.
For consumer products, Facebook and Instagram are great ways to start. One of my friend offers wedding stationary and she posts her works on Instagram. Another friend offers mum and baby products, besides Instagram, I suggested to her that she can use a micro blogging app – Dayre is a great place as there is a community of mothers sharing their experience and buys. To get visibility, use hashtags.
- Customer base / Email List
It is always good to get your customer emails / contact information to keep them updated on your lastest blog post, new products or promotions. Consider to integrate with your website with apps that can help you store email addresses. Most or all of the apps are compatible with many websites like Shopify and WordPress. They give you an option to directly plug in and connect to your website, so when someone signs up in your site, it automatically gets stored in mailchimp (like a data server for emails). You also send emails from there to your email list.
Another good option : https://www.activecampaign.com/
I hope these helps you guys get started with anything you want to do. This year one of my goals is to write more, and because i stopped writing fiction for SO LONG, i figured i start writing non fiction and articles first. I always wanted to start a website or blog on helping people find their passion / start a business/ whatever. I have not figured it out yet, but here’s to a start.