If you plan on putting up a company or incorporating your business, then the law here in Singapore says you’ll need to have directors. And if you’re in the process of appointing someone to be a director of your company or you’ve been approached yourself for this position, then you’ll need to know exactly what a director has to do.
The sky’s the limit! Now that you have an established business model, it’s a good time for you to consider expanding into other markets. At this stage of your development, your books will decide whether you will have investor support
As part of our growth plans, we are going to Malaysia next. As a business based in Singapore, we are well aware of the limitations of the size of the market. It was the most obvious choice for us, mainly due to the strength of the Sing dollar as compared to its Malaysian counterpart as well as the demand for our services in the country.
For businesses based in Singapore, Malaysia is geographically the nearest market that is sizeable to look at when it comes to expansion plans. However, after a few meetings with associates as well as potential partners, there are a few key things that should be considered as well besides the obvious currency strength of the Singapore Dollar.
1. Licenses needed to operate
For our business, which is considered relatively highly regulated by professional and government bodies, the number of licenses that we require is surprisingly more than what is needed in Singapore. While this may not apply to some industries, it is important to find out which are the relevant ones that would apply to your business. In our case, even minor things such as signboards require some form of application to be approved before it can go up on the wall. Getting the company incorporated is just step one; whilst it may be relatively easy to get incorporated, the same can’t be said about getting a business license.
2. Staffing needs
Our staffing requirements were fairly straightforward, considering the fact that we have had many hires previously from Malaysia. That being considered, the ability to draw talents still depends on the usual stuff. Potential employees will look at our office location, the working environment and of course the salary. In order to combat the fact that the location of our office is in a somewhat secluded part of town, we are planning to provide transportation as well as food for all our team members.
3. Culture of work
Despite the concept of the global marketplace, it is important to remember that there are always local cultures that come into play every time you bring people from different backgrounds and nationalities together in an organisation. There is a need to get a sense of what the local working culture is like, preferably from someone who has actual working experience in the environment or country that you are looking to set up shop in. That way you will not have a perceived culture in your mind but rather something that is actual, which will reduce the possibility of getting culture shock.
As Singapore has a small domestic market, the government is always encouraging SMEs to ventures overseas. They have also put forward schemes that will assist SMEs in their setting up as well as building their business development capabilities in whichever market that they are setting up in. These schemes typically cover up to 70% of rental and salaries for staff provided a couple of simple conditions are met. Our most recent client took advantage of these schemes and a significant portion of their company set up fees were covered.
If you’d like some help setting up overseas, too, we want you to know that we’re here for you.
Congratulations! You’ve gotten your business out of the concept stage and into the concrete stage, and you’re ready (more or less) to start serving your customers. But before you flip the sign on the door to say “We Are Open”, let me share three essential things you need to take note of for running your brand new business.
1. Bills need to be paid
Entrepreneurship is tough, both emotionally and very often financially as well. You need to get a clear break-down of what your financial liabilities are, be as crystal clear as you can. This will go a long way when you start planning how much you need to set aside while you pursue your new gig.
This is probably a good time to audit that life style of yours, whether you should still be having that bi-weekly $50 haircut or that once a month drinking session out with your buddies. Look into the essential expenses so that you can get the most out of what you have. You’ll realise that there are some things in life you can really do without. Be really honest with yourself, this audit is really meant for yourself and no one else, and not meant to impress your boss or anyone else. The results of this exercise really depend on how honest you are with yourself.
2. Your idea is probably not THAT special (stop KIDDING yourself).
You might think you have this really fantastic idea that no one else ever had, that it’s going to change the world or some particular industry. Truth is, it’s probably not that great and someone else somewhere most likely had a similar idea. Ideas are everywhere. If you don’t believe me, turn to the guy sitting next to you now and ask him for an idea that he thinks is going to change the world.
Your friends, classmates, relatives or whoever you share your idea with will more often than not tell you that your idea is pretty good. Don’t take their word for it, go and Google your thoughts and you’ll be surprised at what it tells you. I’ve met entrepreneurs who go on and on about how great their ideas are and want me to sign an NDA with them, but sadly, all it took was for me to Google to know how delusional these guys are.
3. Execution is EVERYTHING
While ideas need not be special, the magic lies in the ability to execute. Ever wondered how some entrepreneurs seem to be able to execute plans so well, but some just seem to have the knack to screw things up time and time again. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
This execution plan WILL change. No matter how well you plan it, it will definitely change. There is no use in having a perfect plan that you don’t act on. Once you have thought through the details, start executing and worry about the rest later on. Remember, entrepreneurship is about DOING, not just thinking.
I’ve shared these three things because having met and worked with all the entrepreneurs I have, I really want to see you succeed and to avoid all the pitfalls that are common among those starting a business. I and everyone at U Ventures would be happy to give you personalised advice for your own new business or startup. Feel free to shoot us a quick question here.
Loans are a great way to finance the growth of your business without giving away equity. But of course like all things, there is always a price to pay. In this case, you pay interest in return for the money that the bank or financial institutions offers you. There are many areas to cover with regards to debt; in this article, I will just talk about the really basic stuff. Enough to get you started on the most basic of all forms of debt available from outside sources.
Entrepreneurship is all the buzz today. Everyone is thinking of the building the Uber of whatever and raising funds from VCs and all that stuff. The reality is that most either just think about it and for those who took action, 90% probably failed within a couple of years and most called it quits within the first 2 years.
As for those of us who survived and built a somewhat successful business in whichever industry that you are in. Have you thought about the next question? What’s next? What is going to happen now that my business is doing well, profitable and giving you the life you wanted and has achieved the goals that you set for yourself. What are my options?
1. Continue operating the business
This is the most obvious choice and very often the easiest decision to make. As per all easy decisions, they are usually not the best ones. Unless you have put in place a clear plan for growth, many businesses eventually run into a comfort zone and that is usually the first sign of trouble. As the saying goes, “The comfort zone is great, but nothing ever grows there.”
All businesses have a cycle, regardless of the industry you are in. Thinking that you can run a business without a long term growth plan will almost certainly result in the business reaching a point where without making any drastic changes, the business will fail. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Toys R Us, good example isn’t it?
2. Selling it away
This is one of the most common exit routes for many entrepreneurs. The equation is simple. You spent years building a successful business, an offer comes along to you to buy out your business and you sell it. The math sounds great, but the problem is most businesses are not structured to put themselves in a good position to be acquired.
Many SMEs do not put thought into this, they go about doing their business, and as long as the company is cash flow positive for the owners, they are happy with it. Notice I say “cash flow positive” and the word “profitable”? Most small businesses usually end up as a source of income and the owners usually become employees of the business itself.
Getting acquired does not happen by chance, it is purposeful and is usually done with a plan. Over the years, we have seen clients who were ill-prepared, losing hundreds of thousands and in some cases, millions when deals are pulled due to stupid reasons like not having proper financials in place. The first thing you have to do, is to make sure you are structured to put yourself in the best possible position to secure the best valuation possible. The next thing is to put yourself out into the market, speak to professionals and network with partners. Sounds a lot like a date, doesn’t it?
3. Merging it with another business
Another common route taken by entrepreneurs is merging the business with an associate to create a bigger entity in order to gain more leverage with the objective of scaling the business to another level. Again, this is usually done with a plan and very often the existing directors will still stay on to take on senior management roles and continue with their existing roles.
In order to make this a possible plan, it is important to figure out internally the reasons for wanting to merge. In many cases, businesses merge due to some form of synergies that can be realised from the merger. In order to explore this option, it is important to audit your own strengths and weaknesses and also deep dive into the desired outcomes that you are seeking.
4. Professional management
This probably has more to do with succession planning than anything else. At this point, you probably have employees that are capable of managing the business or you are looking to hire professional managers for the business. By doing so, your objective is to eventually relinquish the management of the day to day operations of the business. This option could take some time as finding the right individual can sometimes be very time consuming, and in some cases, you require some luck as well.
If you find your business in this situation, and you find yourself considering one or more of these options, it might be a good idea to get some competent advice from a third person perspective. Talk to us at U Ventures to help you make the best decision for your business, today.
Have you ever walked past your favourite shop in the mall thinking “Someday, I’ll have a shop like this of my own?” If you’re close to making that dream come true, here are 4 things you ought to be aware of before you set up shop for a smooth-sailing retail experience.
Nobody does business in a bubble. And as businesses of every size and at every stage of their growth continue to grow, they’ll find themselves increasingly affected by the economic ecosystem they operate in.
A good accountant is much more than someone who just balances your books. To help you make that all-important choice, we offer you this infographic guide for choosing a good accountant in Singapore who will help you achieve your business goals.