Starting a business in Singapore – 8 Critical Insights

Starting a business in Singapore – Starting a business is tough and we hope to share with you 8 insights to help you along your way.

But before we go on, we quote —Napoleon Hill, author of  Think and Grow Rich,

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”

#1 – Leadership team formation

Choose people that can work with you with complimentary skills.  If you are big picture minded, you may want to get a co-founder that is detailed and operations minded.  If you are good at administration, then you would want to look for a co-founder who is good at business development and marketing.

Try to form at least a team of 2 partners so that there is someone to encourage you when the going gets tough.

#2- Humility and eagerness to learn

The start of a new business involves humility and all partners must be eager to learn about what it takes to grow the business.  Spend a lot of time studying and reading what works and what does not work in your particular business sector.

If the main co-founders can work with each other with humility and eagerness to learn through out their business life, this would augur for a long term working relationship.

#3- Offline Networking

With a lot of people focused on the online world today, there is still benefit in building authentic offline relationships.  Do spend time making friends from the various trade associations and chamber associations as that would help you in a few ways.  For example, if you are in Fintech you can join the Singapore Fintech Association to learn more about new regulatory developments in your space.

Many offline deals are hatched on the golf course and in trade association gatherings so do spend time in those things.

Essow Kedelina at Pexels

#4- Well funded sectors – Fintech/ Digital Tech startups

Launching a company and starting a business in Singapore is tough, one easier way to launch your new venture is to look at well funded sectors in Singapore’s economy.  When choosing an industry, you may want to initially look at Fintech and Digital tech startups as these have more regional potential and funding potential.

#5- Cross Border is key to success in scaling

When forming your core team, spend some time thinking where your business can scale into.  One key market for startups/companies in Singapore is Indonesia.  So one simple and quick way to leapfrog into the Indonesian market is to try to have a diversified founder team in your company possibly including a partner who is familiar with the Indonesian market.

#6- Growth Hacking

We quote wikiepedia on this rather interesting topic:

The goal of growth hacking strategies is generally to acquire as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible. A growth hacking team is made up of marketers, developers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.

The typical growth hacker often focuses on finding smarter, low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. using social media, viral marketing or targeted advertising instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

We agree and you should spend a lot of time thinking how you can get as many customers while spending as little money as possible. 

#7- Cheap Outsourcing

Singapore has many outstanding talents you can hire but no one said you need to hire all of them on a full-time basis.  The use of virtual assistants is useful when your company is in the early stage of its infancy.

#8- Capital Structure

Finally, spend some time thinking about the capitalization table of your company.  This is the single most important thing that you as a founder needs to think about.  If your company is sold or lists on a stock exchange in the future, how many percent will you hold and what is your share of such profit?

Each founder’s share of a business should reflect both his economic contribution and also his time and effort spent on the business.  Founders should also enter into a founder’s agreement with a vesting arrangement so that in the event one founder leaves the company, the remaining founders can acquire his stake.    

In conclusion, start a business in Singapore is tough like any other new endeavor but with good advice and good support from your business partners and co-founders, you can go a long way.

If you have any comments on our article or you need help with starting your business in Singapore do let us know.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

—Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman

About Raffles CPA

Raffles CPA is a niche professional firm headquartered in Singapore with a relentless dedication to help global and local clients in solving their complex business problems in areas of corporate services, accounting, capital market, legal and compliance.

Click here to start your dream company for S$88 in 88 minutes.

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