how to start a business in singapore with no capital

A Guide to Starting a Business in Singapore With No Capital

Starting a business and being your own boss is a dream for many. Nonetheless, it can be intimidating, especially for first time entrepreneurs. 

Other than the effort and time needed, a common cause for concern for aspiring business owners is the capital necessary to fund their dream ventures. Many think that you will need to shell out a substantial amount to start a business, and this might be true in certain cases, but there are also ways and business ideas that would require little to no capital to start with.  Find out more on ideas to start a small business in Singapore.

Through research, planning, and creativity, you can start a business with little or no capital. We share below a few ways on how you can do so; read on.

What to Consider Before Starting a Business

As a first step to start a business, especially one which requires no capital, evaluate your skills, strengths, and financial status. Consider answering the following questions:

  • What am I good at? What are the things I can do well with relative ease?
  • Do I have the skills and time necessary to manage my own business? 
  • How much time will this business take from me? Will I need to give up my full-time job?
  • Can I afford to quit my full-time job, even for a while, to set up my business?

Once you more or less have an idea of what business idea you will be pursuing based on the questions above, also evaluate the idea’s feasibility, the market demand for the goods or services that you will offer, and the existing competition. 

 

Setting Up Your Business

1. Create a Business Plan

After having established the idea that you will be pursuing, the next step is to create a business plan. This will be your blueprint not only in setting up your business, but also in evaluating its performance and profitability, even at least initially.

Typically, it should include the following:

  • An executive summary
  • A description of your business
  • Market strategies
  • Competitor analysis
  • A design and development plan of your products and services
  • Information about your operations and management plan
  • Financial information and forecasts

It does not need to be completely detailed at this point. What matters is that when you start, you have some sort of structure that will guide you in setting up your business.

2. Pool Resources for Starting Up

Save your profits to grow your capital. You can save your money in a bank or keep it at home; it doesn’t matter, as long as the funds are safe and accessible. 

But, how do you save when you don’t know where to grow money from in the first place? Other than applying for relevant government grants, the most obvious place to start is working for other people. Of course, it helps when you have expertise in something, but remember that many successful entrepreneurs did numerous jobs outside their comfort zones before reaching that level of financial stability. 

It also helps if you already have the right equipment for the appropriate business idea like a suitable semi-industrial kitchen stove if you plan to serve food or a 3D printer if you would like to begin with selling hand-made figurines. 

Better yet, you can even raise funds with your friends and colleagues and form a business together. That way, you ca establish your ideas faster.

business idea concept

3. Set Up Your Business Operations

Register Your Business

Once you earn enough cash as your own boss, you can now begin the framework. First, you will need permits to create a legitimate business. You will need a clear business idea of how your name will label in the minds of potential customers.

Registering your own business name and declaring your business entity are the first steps to building the dream business. You may choose to be a company entity ($300), partnership ($100) or sole proprietor ($100). 

To begin, you must reserve a company name for $15. Your company name should be authorized if it isn’t already taken and doesn’t contain expletives. You may then form your business entity after that.

You’ll need to select a business entity type, such as Company Ltd or Partnership Ltd, depending on your preference.

  • Company – For those who are unfamiliar with how a LLC works, you’ll need to pay an annual fee of $300. This kind of structure enables you to establish a firm that is separate from the owners. Any financial obligations and responsibilities incurred by the business are independent from the owners’.
  • Sole proprietorship – A solo proprietor is a form of business entity is the most hassle-free option if you’re a one-man operation. It costs $100 and also entails responsibility for any debts and obligations your company may incur, which can be inconvenient. Ideal if your business doesn’t require much money, like a tutor for studies and music.
  • Partnership – This sort of organization costs $100 and is made up of two or more people who want to start a company together and agree to be personally responsible for the company’s debts and liabilities. If your firm is small-scale and simple, a partnership may be more convenient than a corporation.

Opening a Bank Account

Unless you’re a sole proprietor who is okay with accepting payments in your personal savings account, you’ll need to open a business bank account. 

When looking at your alternatives, compare the chargeable income, monthly maintenance fee, as well as any minimum initial deposit or minimum balance/fall below fees. Maybank FlexiBiz Account and OCBC Business Growth Account come close to avoiding these fees and will be quite affordable.

Opening a business account is by no means mandatory, but it can help you feel more official — and many businesses require it.

Set Up Your Office and Team, if Necessary

You will need a site for your business. Sure, you can use your own home for this but consider if you don’t mind employees roaming inside your house. Ideally, a separate office space works. 

Traditionally, you can rent a physical office space. The site’s price will depend on the location and the nearby businesses. 

Be mindful of how much capital you will need to spend for the monthly utilities and rent to manage the profit for everyone in the team.

However, in this day and age, you don’t even need a physical establishment for it. You can rent from a virtual office online. 

If you plan to do work remotely, you can still incorporate your business’ system with everyone else through your provided website as the central hub for everything. 

Once you get an office space for your business, it’s time to find the right people for the job. Many people will come for an opportunity, each with their specialties and services. When hiring the ideal person, there are many things to consider, but that’s up to you.  

Keep in mind to be a good boss and understand your employees’ rights. After all, you are personally liable not just for your name but for those who work under you as well.

Be Wary of and Comply with Other Regulatory Requirements

The deadline for corporate tax e-filing in Singapore is December rather than April. As a tax resident of Singapore, you’ll pay a flat rate of 17% on your profits.

If your yearly income is less than $5 million, you don’t have to file a corporate tax return unless you have chargeable earnings for the year. This would apply to start-up firms that haven’t yet achieved profitability.

For everyone else in the business, the government will process it as simple and easy as possible to pay them. Filling out your taxes is simply a matter of signing into IRAS’s myTax Portal and submitting the online Form C or C-S, depending on your annual income.

Before you start your company or small business, you may need to acquire the appropriate licenses. To learn more about the permits available for your firm, you must perform a thorough study. 

As a result, the government of Singapore has implemented numerous measures to make starting a new business as simple as possible.

Final Word

Keep in mind that starting a business takes a lot of determination. You are your own boss; you must manage everything from resources to finance, the quality of services, government policies, and even your own website. It can be trickier if you’re keen on starting one with no capital. Be guided by the following reminders:

  • Consider your strengths, skill set, and available resources to you in coming up with a business idea. 
  • Subsequently, craft a business plan to guide you in setting up and running your business.
  • Setting up your business afterwards may entail various preparatory works, like registering your business, setting up your office and team, and complying with applicable regulations.
  • Don’t forget to acquire permits and pay the necessary taxes to keep your business legitimate in the country. 

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