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Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

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!

  1. Register your company / Name of your company

Check these things before you decide on the company name

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.

  • Domain website is available for you to purchase (.com, .com.sg and .sg)
    http://bit.ly/VodienSite
  • 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!

 

  1. 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 –

https://wordpress.com/
https://wix.com/

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.

https://www.shopify.com.sg/
https://www.bigcommerce.com/

  1. 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


https://www.dbs.com.sg/sme/dbs-forms/accounts/account-opening.page

https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/accounts-and-services/business-growth-account.html

https://www.uob.com.sg/business/transact/ebusiness-account.page

https://www.cimbbank.com.sg/en/business/products/deposits/current-accounts/business-plus-current-account-i.html

  • Open a Paypal account

Open a payment gateway account like paypal to accept credit card payments. People can send you directly or not via paypal : https://www.paypal.com

I think stripe also does this, so you can consider as well. Stripe also has more functions like ability to do subscription etc. : https://stripe.com/sg

 

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

https://mailchimp.com

https://apps.shopify.com/mailchimp

https://wordpress.org/plugins/mailchimp-for-wp/

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.

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“Don’t be afraid to ask and work for something more, something better, and something that makes your heart beat doubly fast—rather than sticking with just what might be good enough.”

We all know the paper bunny, here’s an article on Jaime, the founder sharing because today is International Women’s Day. These two lines, really spoke to me.

https://shemeansbusiness.fb.com/stories/meet-jaime/

 


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Lately, i have been wondering about this path I am taking. Not about i took/done (but currently continue-ing in this path) – leaving my job, starting this business, etc etc, I really did do some things i really wanted to try, multi label jewelry, shoe business distribution and also tried to get distribution for other brands which did not work out but i felt like i tried my best and there was nothing more i could do to those that did not work out.

However now, currently, i feel like i am again stepping into the unknown again and i wonder if it is all worth it. I really forgot why i wanted to quit my job and pursue my business full time, it was also i believed that i could form my own lifestyle instead of being bounded to a 9-5 job, alot more flexibility, alot more freedom – not the way many people say about freedom in “want to work then work, don’t want to work then don’t work”, alot of people use this to define freedom too loosely. This is not freedom, this is laziness and lack of responsibility.

When i say freedom, it is the ability to choose what is important to me, like not needing to take part in politics in office, the ability to cut off things and not focus on things that don’t make me productive (e.g. i never saw the point of doing “cca” at work just to climb the corporate ladder regardless whether you perform or contribute well at work), the ability to spend the hours doing things that will make an impact, doing work work itself and not fluff and stuff. The ability to create the lifestyle i want – for e.g. arrange my time in such a way that, i can exercise and not OT all the time.

So, this year i am wanting to change some things on the business but its really taking some time, and it may seem like its quiet. Logically i know progress will take time to see things to fruition, but along the way, it does seem like nothing is going on. I really hope that it is worth it in end and during this time, i pray that i don’t see only the short term cons but the long term pros.

Sometimes, i do think about going back to look for a job, i always tell people when they ask me how’s business – i’ll say sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The thing is, I feel like a job is good, I learn fast and I work well with (good) people. But always i feel like a business great. In all aspects, good is like a stable income, good is like colleagues, good is like a boss to take your monkey. But i feel like business is the great for me. It could be that my previous jobs were not really ideal or ideal environment even though i enjoyed the work, but i feel like i am able to withstand the cons of a business more then the cons of a job. So in a way, the title as quoted from Jaime, i feel like this speaks to me “Sometimes you have to give up the good to go for the great.”

But that saying, business may or may not sustain. There are many people who embarked on the same journey and then gone back to a job and continue their business at the side which is perfectly good as well, because practicality of life calls for bills to be paid, and basic needs of life. So in this case, good is also good enough.

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I met up with Shu Ling that day, she always tells me stuff that makes me think and help to straighten up jumbled thoughts in structured order. I took away some stuff she shared and told me. One of which was how to decide easier. I asked her how does she do it? She chose between a good paying job and a job which interest her more but paid a lot less. (more then 20% less). How do you decide? I asked her, because I m also always stricken by what is practical and what makes sense vs. what I feel.

she shared with me that the good paying job would have been what she wanted 2 years ago, but not anymore. It would be something she would be working hard towards to actually get that sort of job. she grown out of the job or what she use to want. & now she would like to do something related to society and give back to society or for social good. So any decisions she make for jobs would go back to that as a basis which will make it easier for her to make decisions.

For life, she said that she would do things to meet the belief of her being happier this year then last, and better then the last. So anything she does goes back to this.

I thought it would be applicable to me to know what is my life philosophy, what I deem impt generally so it would be easy for me to decide on things – business, life, etc. It would be a much more efficient way then to keep rethinking on decisions. So this two weeks I have been pondering on it. I feel that it would also help me shape what I want my life to be and how I would live my life in the next 5 years.

This is in lieu of me turning 30. A number isn’t a big deal but being intentional is what I want to be. Not just float through the years like the first 3 years after graduating not knowing what I like, what I want, what I need to pursue.

In Business, Life, Relationships, Personal Growth, Giving back to society.

I did share with her that I might then seem rather superficial because what I want is only to be comfortable and that largely will come from being financially well to do. I feel generally everything I do, is to be comfortable in living my life. I would love to advice pp – I.e giving back to Society but I feel that I’m not quite ready and apt for it right now because I have not reached a certain level of “success”.

She told me that everyone has different wants and different things that will satisfy them, If it is what I want or think what I want, by all means go all the way and do whatever I can and everything I can to reach there, and then see if it’s really what satisfies and makes me fulfilled/ feel achieved. And no one can say it’s wrong or bad, because it’s very individual.

and if I can’t decide or pinpoint yet how I want to do things – all the above, then try the “world’s way” means everyone elses ways and see if I am comfortable with it, eventually I will come to form my own opinion and own way to do things (live my life, business etc.) that I find resonates / peaceful with myself.

Does everyone have a life philosophy as well?

Some of my friends have – be kind to others whenever they can. Some are travel as much as they can. (one wanted to travel to 50 countries or cities Before 30, and he’s done it) Some just worry as much as they can- just kidding! Some wants to date as much as they can (haha) maybe not anymore as we are at the age of wanting to just concentrate on one partner. Some are having family – many kids. Some are to make a difference in the world.

The point of this post is also that I want to be intentional in living my life. I think I have been rather this year, and i know that my life will be more intentional next year if I plan for it to do and achieve what I want. Life passes too fast, there’s no number (age) of doing something but this quote striked me because it reinforces that life is precious and you can live it wild (not sleep around) but beyond your imagination and fears.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.
– MARY OLIVER

sarahfied-at-saiwan-swimming-shed

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I’m back here, to update what I been up to for… the last 10 days! Alvin and i took a trip to Korea – Seoul & Jeju. Jeju really surprised me because I really liked Jeju. Although I was feeling super tired and sick during the days in Jeju, I felt like it was such a serene place with lots of land and greens and sea. And i actually enjoyed the sightseeing – HA HA HA. NEW FOR ME RIGHT?

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I am the omg i don’t want to walk type of person, but recent 1 year I think I have changed a little. After doing Dragon back Trail in HK, I felt like I start to enjoy scenery and hiking related more. It tend to tell me that even though the journey is long and far, during the journey it teaches me how to be patient and take one step at a time, and the end result – the view is worth it. But i really appreciate and learn more of the journey itself,i  feel like it shapes my character in a weird way, and i relate that back to me and my business.

So we took a nearly 10 day trip to Korea. 3 days spent in Jeju which was not enough for me. I actually on the impulse asked the host if she had space for 1 more night for us because i really loved her place – it looked out to the sea. but she was really full, so we just went back to Seoul as planned. I would recommend anyone who is going to Jeju to stay at her place, she provides korean breakfast and she speaks english. Its hard to communicate in Korea if they don’t know english and chinese. All the circles and the squares make my head fuzzy too.

Let me ramble on before I start on the Korea stuff proper maybe on the next post. So this trip, is something both of us really needed. Our last trip was August 2015, alvin been working hard at his job and he’s also achieved completion of his ACTA – Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment. He studied part time at night classes for around 6 months before completing it in June. And also, he has decided to embark on his Masters that will start in August, so it was a good break for him :’)

For me, I been stressed over my business, wondering what next and how do I do certain things better. Also, what is important for me in the business and as a person – this will affect how I treat and grow my business; sort of like my values. I remember my previous work place manager, he always told me that if one’s mission is to earn 1mil bucks, 2 mil bucks, then you will be lost after achieving it. It should be more like, how meaningful your job/what you are doing, does it help the society, do you give back? I struggled abit also because a retail business is based on “wants” and not “needs”. I think “needs” are like food business like hawkers, fruit sellers, econ mini-mart where they sell bread and stuff. Things you need to live. I honestly got lost somewhere and just sit back and wondered what value am i providing to people? Why are they buying from me? Why I am selling stuff to them? As well as got caught up thinking of growing the expanding the business, and was afraid that it would just be all about numbers/money.

This trip – Jeju especially opened my eyes and heart about a few things. A general gist was that, we stayed in Airbnb studio owned by Isabel (The host) and her husband. We hired a taxi driver Mr Lee who was in the hotel industry before he drove taxi and take tours. Both of them inspired me pretty much more then average. I always loved to chat with locals when we go to any cities (the last i enjoyed so much was chatting with Maureen, our host at San Fran) because it gave us their perspective in life, in their job, in the place they are in and the situation they have.

This is what our accoms in Jeju looked like. the seaview is REAL.
Sign up via my referral link to get SG$30 travel credits : www.airbnb.com.sg/c/stang18
Isabel house Airbnb link : https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/7331339

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What i took away was that – If you can make yourself or your service of Value, I.e. it brings value to people, your business will flourish.

Isabel was a teacher before being a host, her husband designed and built the 3 storey house and also had the foresight that people will like this place because it had a scenic sea view. I am also curious (friends would affectionately say I am kaypo) because I always wanted to know what inspire people and what led them to making the choices and decisions. The location of their house was purely coincidental. They were going nearby to view a land as they wanted to buy, and they didnt like it so much so they drove further and around. They just drove pass the current land that the house was in and there was a big rock on it. Her husband immediately said the land is good, but she couldn’t see it. Then he decided to buy it, removed the rock and built a building there. She couldn’t give two hoots , and didnt even visit the place until after it was done. She said she didn’t fancy or cared much of the process because she loved her job as a teacher. She just saw the rock and then the building, and i thought that was pretty hilarious and amazing. And other people around the neighbourhood was so worried for them and wondered why this couple person bought such a small piece of land with a rock on it! I feel that her husband has great foresight and also had in mind that travellers would like to stay in their house. He designed such that the windows faced the sea, the staircases are outside (like a flat style) not a bungalow style and the rooms are studio like.

2 points here I want to highlight is firstly, she loved her job. This is something i found in the Jeju locals that they are so proud of what they do and they put their heart into it. I have hardly ever heard anyone saying that they love their job in Sg. 2nd point was that sometimes things happen for a reason, a coincidence, just happened and its somehow God’s plan. I mean what are the odds that you chance upon a great piece of land when you were actually disappointed in the one you initially wanted to view. (I am not sure if they Christians, but she left a review on my page that included “God bless you ” so maybe they are. I read other reviews she left for other people that stayed at her place but she never did write God bless to others.) But anyway, my point, you get it.

She told me – I am not sure why people would want to stay here. i said the view is awesome and you serve breakfast and speak english. She said ohh ok, I guess the sea and breakfast right! I said yes. And this also led me to my 3rd point – that if you give something more then others, even if others may be doing the same thing as you. If you go an extra mile, just a small one, people will come to you. When I was searching for places to stay in Jeju, there was many to choose from, including sea view and even pool. I was so inclined to stay at her place because there was korean breakfast provided and her pictures looked so yummy and it felt like her hosting was very warm. And of course, it was convenient too to eat before heading out for sightseeing, thats what i thought and it proved to be a great decision and met her. I am always grateful to our airbnb hosts who are open to chat with us and share with us about their lives and their stories.

Me having korean breakfast prepared by Isabel’s helper

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And to the third point, when I was chatting with her, I asked if she knew what the other building used their rooms for. There was one or two other building just a few meters away and they could be doing airbnb as well but I am not sure. i was wondering if it was competitive to rent our the airbnb at her area because of the seaview and others did the same. She said to me simply, I don’t know and I don’t bother, I just do my own things. This taught me one thing is that, doesn’t matter what people are doing, even if they are doing well, better then you or not and if they are your competitors or not, you should just focus on what you do and do it well. It was quite a rude shock to me because I am always kaypo and curious to know what others are doing and how i can do better then them – if I am her, I would want to know if they have “better business” then me on airbnb. Then i learnt my 3rd point is – don’t look at what others are doing, just concentrate on your own thing. This called me back to the short meeting I had with Farah, a lady who on and off check how I am doing (sort of like a mentor/guide), she and another lady whom i just met told me that I will go down (fail) if i keep looking at others/other business and wanting to follow their style/ direction/what they do. So this really hit home for me.

Our taxi driver, Mr Lee had really good command of English (for a Korean). We chatted so much and he shared with us his life so much. And the best is, he knows so much about Singapore, and how things work here I almost had to ask him – did you live in Singapore?? How did you know so much about it! His customers are 90% Singaporeans based on referrals. And so I will refer anyone to him that wants to go to Jeju and need a driver. I highly recommend because Jeju is huge and public transport/bus are not very frequent. The travel from one place to another is 20mins – 1 hour.

Here’s our very kind and friendly taxi driver, Mr Lee Hong Min. (he speaks English)
To book him Watsapp: +82 10-9396-4498 / email:

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He has been doing this for 2-3 years, his father in law owns the taxi company. But what striked me hard was that he loves what he does, he isnt “sian” of bringing us around like its just his job or  a chore. I can’t imagine how excited you have to be doing the same time day in and out for 3 years. He works 23-26 days a month. You know like how some people in Sg (customer service sector) give you a sian look when they are serving you. Mr Lee was so patient, so punctual. We said 10am, and he comes at 920. Like omg we haven’t even started our breakfast! And the best thing is, he’s not just a driver. He parks his taxi, and brings us into the sightsee, walks with us and explains to us whats the history, what happened, how it came about. He will also take pictures for us, tell us the best place to stand and also take scenery pictures while we read the sign boards and stuff. I mean, which “taxi driver” will do all that, he was literally a tour guide and even got us discount one of the sight see entrance fee. This brings me to iterate 1. people in jeju really love their job. 2. they give more value then just the service they offer

And he was always chatting, smiling and always ready to bring us here and there where we want to go. On the first day, i was so tired and i didn’t say I wanted to go back to the accoms, but he said you look really tired why don’t we go back and rest for today and continue tomorrow. At that point, we had just reached the sight see entrance and even got down the taxi. If I was the driver, I would not bother because i drove all the way here! I said ok and we headed back.

It also dawned onto me and i was quite amazed that they could make a business out of just hosting people and driving people. It looked to me that there was a need in the industry and you can always make a business out of it as long as you provide value / something that someone needs. For them, it comes out of the tourism and people need the service their provide.

So although I felt real tired and sick during Jeju trip, I liked it a whole lot more then Seoul. Maybe less people, more fresh air and the seaview from our room. Also what I took away and learnt from the short 3 Days.. helped me to see that providing VALUE in whatever I do will lead me to the right path.

Sunset in Jeju looks like this, so picturesque – i took this outside Isabel’s place.

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I read this article on Virgin – How to avoid analysis paralysis and make better business decisions here : http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/how-to-avoid-analysis-paralysis-and-make-better-business-decisions

You may wonder why, but making decisions have never been easy for me. Some people make their decision immediately or almost, and stick with it, while i am the sort who would ponder day and night and over many I must say. Even on things related to Life itself, I must convince myself that it is for the best and i would get the most of out it and it makes sense or not, before i make a decision. I am still learning how to make decisions faster now, not hastily, but with more confidence and trusting the peaceful feeling in me.

The first point n the article was something that I found really funny yet honest on Life and Business. “Admit that we are all just making it up as we go along”

Being 28 years old now, I do think that all of us just make stuff up as we go along. When we were younger, I thought people at this age was so grown up, knowing what they want to be, where they are headed, but now that I am here, nope – we really either push against the current or swim with the current, but most of the time, we all feel like we are just “learning how to swim” and just failing our arms along and somehow manage to wade or paddle somewhere – and miraculously and hopefully we find ourselves not at the same place.

And true too of being a business owner, more then we would admit. I find solace in talking to Vivien, a friend who also owns her own business now for 3-4 years. And I always thought I was the only person who wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things, but when I talk to her, she too confide that she does that too. Most of us stay up or think about our business all day and all night long. Thinking if we made the right decisions, solving a problem, planning our next steps, etc. And sometimes, it is about opportunities which we just take along the way, and other times we make up things along to the way. But that is the fun of owning a business, you can make up ANYTHING and see it happen. And what i have learnt along the way is that the outcome will always be nothing you can predict, so just enjoy whatever we made up and go, none of us really “know it all”.

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it is sort of fun because I get to wear knit these days without suffocating to death! I want to do a really good blog post of our wedding / day, but am not sure if it would take 5 hours. Similarly I was going to do a Bali post too but I ended up forgetting almost everything already! I promise to update / pen down our wedding day.

My favourite picture of us so far of the 45 that Colin uploaded, there are more but it will only be ready later. ;)

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Two years ago, this time (dec) I was wondering what I was going to do next. Strangely it would have been the best time of my life if I had relaxed a little and enjoyed it. But humans are such worry creatures! The cold weather makes me nostalgic in some ways, but not sad. Seeing where I was then till now, I think i can never run away from being someone with one too many ideas. And it is also difficult for me to learn how to focus. Many says focus on one thing and do it well, however I am not sure if I would agree with that philosophy yet. It feels like too many missed opportunities if I lived my life that way, but knowing that doing too many things would not end up well. I have yet to come to a conclusion but I read a friend’s reply to another on her achievements – that her latest achievement is not even her main job. she replied “I don’t have a job, I have many hobbies, and some hobbies just take more time then others!” it has been a few days but it kept ringing in my mind constantly that this is how it shld be. Hobbies are great fun, extremely enjoyable, no worries, not constantly being anxious about it, only being passionate and having fun doing it. Along the way I could have forgotten about having fun. So 2015, it will be me having fun, making decisions based on what has been in my heart, what leads me to peace and trusting God that it would be great. x

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because I personally LOVE daniel wellington. and now its in our red dot Singapore.

ARE YOU HAPPY??? ITS A GORGEOUS TIMELESS PIECE.

I am sure you know where to find it now. WWW.JUSTTANGY.COM

yes the website is officially up and running yay. <3

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MY OXFORD LADY + “S” CLAIRE ARISTIDES

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This one with the most wanted YSL arty ring belongs to catwomanofthemoon . I seriously love her style, and she just got herself a black celine. (yes i am biased. no guesses on what is my next bag)

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wanted to do a post on whats been going on these 1 month with me, i will do that real soon by weekend latest! :’)

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