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Malaysia, Here We Come

Posted by U Ventures Pte. Ltd. on May 28, 2019 5:20:33 PM


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.

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So You Built a Business, What Next?

Posted by U Ventures Pte. Ltd. on Apr 30, 2019 4:49:00 PM


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.

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How to Choose the Right Accounting Software for Your Business

Posted by U Ventures Pte. Ltd. on Mar 6, 2019 11:14:58 AM

Did you know that the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has 44 software owners and their products listed on their register? IRAS has this list to help you make sure that the software you use is able to meet their technical requirements—after all, better safe than sorry, right?

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Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business in Singapore (Updated)

Posted by U Ventures Pte. Ltd. on Mar 6, 2019 11:12:16 AM

It’s always exciting to start a business from scratch, more so if it’s your very first. It’s fun to dream about making it big or having several outlet stores with your name on them, but the first step towards becoming the next Jack Ma is to set your business up correctly.

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