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How to Start Your Own Business

Thousands have fallen victim to the rat race and are increasingly apathetic to the ever-repetitive schedule of getting up, going to work, and heading home. Breaking free from that may seem impossible at times, but one of the best ways to carve out a path for oneself is to become an entrepreneur.

Though it's important to remember that for every Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, there are far more who have failed on their journey. But aspirations of transforming hobbies and entrepreneurial dreams don’t have to be bleak. From understanding the business world to finding your footing in it, there are several reasons why it might be worth kickstarting your business despite challenges.

Why Start Your Own Business

Did you know that some of the world’s greatest inventions were initially ridiculed before they became popular? From Thomas Edison’s light bulb to Jonas Hanway’s umbrella, these everyday must-haves were publicly ridiculed. Uncertainty and self-doubt are common feelings any entrepreneur to-be before taking on any new endeavour, but if you’re sitting on the fence and apprehensive about introducing your new idea to the world, there are several reasons why you should put doubt in the backseat and take the plunge:

1. You are truly passionate

If you, like the rest of the world’s top thought leaders and passionate creators, have a few ideas up your sleeves that just might revolutionise humanity, starting your own business will allow you to tap into a passion you wholeheartedly believe and find value in. This will not only let you do what you really love day in and out, but offer a sense of pride and accomplishment.

2. Freedom

Value the ability to control your time, work experiences, and career? The nature of running your own business means that its success will rely on your efforts and the ball is often in your court. For example, according to the famous work schedule of Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, reading is estimated to take up 80% of his time! While having such freedom is a luxury that will come with time, the fact is that you only have yourself to answer to. From marketing strategy to the way your end product looks and meeting schedules, it’s all up to you. On the flipside, decision fatigue is something all key decision-makers identify with - even Jeff Bezos. Although the ability to draw the line is an option, making high-quality decisions daily can be taxing even before a start-up becomes profitable.

3. Grow your know-how

Unlike going to work and focusing on a select few skills throughout the day, you’ll need to be in control of everything from marketing to accounting, people management, social media, project management, and more. Sure, eventually you can bring others on board, but as a business start-up, you’re essentially responsible for every area of day-to-day operations.

This learning curve may be steep, but learning to wear multiple hats can be incredibly beneficial not just to become a pro in the industry, but also as a gateway to new business opportunities.

The Evolutionary Nature of Businesses

Though there are multiple reasons to start a business, the essence of entrepreneurship can be captured in this statement by Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of Paypal and LinkedIn: “Starting a business is like jumping off a cliff and assembling the plane on your way down.” Entrepreneurs must stay nimble and adapt to changes to stay ahead of the game.

Some of the world’s oldest companies tap into people’s need for food, drink, and shelter. As such, long-lasting brands include food manufacturers, hotels, and restaurants. Though the longevity of a business in this day and age is less certain with phenomena such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid adoption of technology helps businesses to keep afloat and consumers satisfied. Some of the business opportunities in Singapore that has seen great potential include:

  1. E-commerce: With many unable to leave their houses due to lockdowns and a general avoidance of public spaces and shopping centres, there has been a spike in online shopping. In Singapore, e-commerce platforms saw a 23% bump in web visits within the first 6 months of the pandemic. Witnessing a boom in business opportunities by going digital, physical store retailers and traditional small players like wet market grocers have leveraged social media and other online market platforms to flourish.

  2. Telehealth: One of the industries spurred on to adopt digital transformation from the pandemic includes the health industry. With apps like WhiteCoat offering a more convenient way to access healthcare, patients seeking teleconsultations can have their needs met. Platforms like Doctor Anywhere have even seen a 4-fold increase in the number of users and doctors signing up to the platform.

  3. Remote working tools: The list of tools necessary to ensure all staff have access to what they need when working from home is not a short one, and new tools are being developed every day to simplify the way things are done. As a matter of fact, studies show that SMEs’ spending on software increased 324% in 2020.

  4. Delivery services: From restaurants to fast food and supermarket groceries, the delivery industry has experienced increased demand with tightened restrictions. Back in 2020, food delivery services were booming, with the likes of GrabFood adding over 1,500 food operators and its weekly rider applications increasing by 80%.

 

Flourishing Local Businesses

Since COVID-19 hit, thousands of businesses have had to, unfortunately, close their doors - an estimated 3,800 closures in April of 2020 alone. Conversely, there has been an upsurge in the number of entrepreneurs who have activated business continuity plans to drive operations despite hardships faced. From individuals retrenched to restaurant owners, many had to adapt to the overnight change. This has resulted in a number of home-based businesses that have gone from strength to strength - many of which are run by individuals who were adversely affected by the pandemic. One inspirational story is that of Daniel Tan - once a flight steward with Singapore Airlines (SIA), he picked up baking during the circuit breaker, and eventually started an online baking business with his business partner Darren Woon. Within a month, they were selling about 300 cakes and were raking in profits that sustained both the business and personal expenses.

How Technology Plays an Integral Role in Business Continuity

Hobbyists, and even small and medium-sized companies, have turned to e-commerce to thrive. Using platforms like Instagram, Promenade.sg, Facebook, and Carousell, pivoting to a digital model has proven to be the practical option to deal with disruption.

If you want to find your footing in the entrepreneurial scene, remember to integrate technology into your business strategy. From security to operations, technology has important effects on business growth. A few significant technological solutions to consider include:
–  Implementing office Wi-Fi solutions like mesh routers that strengthen your business Wi-Fi connection and remove potential Wi-Fi dead zones.
–  Opting for quality managed IT services so you can rest easy knowing all of your business’ IT needs, including data security are taken care of, allowing you to focus on the more important areas of your business.
–  Activating business data roaming on your enterprise mobile plan for international calls so that you remain in contact with your customers and colleagues wherever you are in the world.
–  Setting up a management platform to automate mundane everyday tasks using software, including the Talenox SUITE, Info-Tech, and more.

A Guide for Business Start-ups in Singapore

Step 1. Brainstorm for your ‘big idea’

Business opportunities are abound, and perhaps you’ve had something in mind for a while but are just now finding yourself in a position to get it off the ground. Whatever the case, the first thing you need to do is conduct thorough market research and come up with your ‘big idea’. Investigate industries that have a gap you can fill - think of a want or a need that isn’t currently being met by anyone. For example, influencer, now business mogul, Kylie Jenner, saw a gap in the beauty industry and understood the challenges of finding a lip liner that matched the colour of lipstick. Her revolutionary product, Kylie’s Lip Kit, sold out in minutes, solving the problem with a simple solution - matching a matte lipstick with a compatible lip liner.

Step 2. Have a business plan

A business plan includes everything from market analysis to the service or product you intend to offer, your marketing and sales strategy, funding requirements, and financial projections.

The more time you spend on your business plan, the better, and for a few key reasons:
–  Through the market analysis, and understanding funding requirements and financial projections, you’ll quickly realise if the business is bound to fail.
–  You’ll be finely-tuned into your business from the get-go and know everything back to front.
–  Developing an in-depth marketing strategy will save you time down the road.

Step 3. Generate capital

Once you’ve written your business plan, you’ll know exactly how much you need to get it up and running. Costs include everything from registration, legal fees, licenses, salary, and all other expenses for up to 1-2 years into the future.

You’ll then either need to save up the money on your own, or approach a bank to discuss options with them.

Step 4. Determine where you’ll start

Planning to be the only staff member in your business? You’ll most likely be able to get away with using your home as the office - at least at first.

If you’re planning on having a few employees from the outset though, you’re probably not going to be able to run your business from home. Choose a location that makes sense for the product or service you provide. Do plenty of research and make an informed decision.

Step 5. Consider the business structure

The business structure - sole-proprietorship, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or company - you choose will have an impact on things like taxation, legalities and more. Make sure you choose the right one that suits your business.

Step 6. Choose a name for your business and register it

Choosing the name of your business is an important part of the process. The right one will differentiate your business from all other competitors. Here are a few helpful tips for when you’re choosing a name for your business:
–  Conduct a search on BizFile+ to ensure no one has the same name and that the name complies with the ACRA rules
–  Avoid obscene names and those prohibited by the Minister of Finance
–  Choose something that can grow with your business
–  Check for .sg or .com domain availability

It’s always a good idea as well to sit on a name for a few days before jumping in and registering it with ACRA.

Step 7. Sort out the licences and permits needed

Getting all the legal aspects of setting up a local company is important. Follow all of the rules and regulations from the Singapore Government and you’ll save yourself from potential legal problems later on. From registering an address to appointing officers and other key personnel in your company, so long as you have plans to carry out activities for profit, follow each step as required by ACRA.

Step 8. Ensure you have the tech you need in place

There’s a whole lot of technology that you’ll need to have in place before you launch. From business roaming solutions and fibre broadband plans and phone lines to international call capabilities and more, it’s integral that you’re available online and on the phone when you need to be. Even if you are working from home, you’ll want all the essential services in place to boost productivity and efficiency.

Step 9. Create a marketing strategy to boost online presence

Design and develop your SEO-optimised website and get it online, as well as any social media platforms that you believe will complement your business. Also, go back to your business plan and review the marketing strategy, and put together a multi-tiered marketing campaign to communicate to your target audience as effectively as you can.

Step 10. Implement your marketing campaign and launch!

Pull the trigger on your marketing campaign and get those ads running, because it’s officially time to launch your business and get those conversions!

Adopt Digital Technology with M1

At M1, we support businesses of all sizes in seizing opportunities for growth in the digital world. With M1’s Start Digital programme, you can start your digital journey hassle-free with low set-up costs. From the best internet deals to cutting-edge cyber security endpoint protection, we’ll work with you to create the perfect solution according to your needs at an affordable price. If your business is already up and running and you would like to give your company an added boost, our business fibre broadband and phone deals are second to none, so get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you and your business!