Singapore is a multi-ethnic country situated in Southeast Asia. It is a petite island-state. What Singapore doesn't cover in land mass, it compensates for in terms of deep-rooted channels and networks in trade and commerce. Thanks to its plentiful affordable yet top-notch attractions, growing nightlife and resto-bar options, and incredibly diverse culture, Singapore has evolved into a favorable location to set up your business. But before getting into the crux of the matter, let us first know why Singapore is an ideal location to establish a business.
Singapore’s strong trade and investment makes it the most competitive Asian country and the world’s easiest place for doing business. Few reasons are listed below.
- The country has network of over 50 comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements.
- Singapore’s many free trade agreements and the Investment Guarantee Agreements.
- Protection for your ideas and innovations thanks to Singapore's strict enforcement of its strong intellectual property laws.
Here are 10 steps you need to take in order to start your business in Singapore.
1. Doing the Groundwork (Planning)
Have a business idea in mind. Planning out the structure and converting your ideas into a blueprint is the fundamental step to start your business in Singapore.
Creating a blueprint provides a systematic design to follow as well as guidelines to abide to, thus eliminating the risk of straying away from your business plan.
2. Choose the Business Structure
Singapore offers a bunch of legal entity forms available for registration. However, you shouldn’t choose at random because the form of business formation will actually impact a lot of aspects of your business: your personal liability and credibility in customers’ eyes, abilities in borrowing money and expanding the company, attitude of banks and creditors – just to name a few.
Listed below are business structures operating in Singapore:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Private Limited Company
- Branch Office
- Representative Office
However, refrain from choosing a business structure at random. Instead, choose a business structure which represents the most suitable option for your company. The right structure adds on to the credibility and viability of your company.
3. Calculate the Costs and Finances
Calculating the costs associated is an essential step in setting up shop in Singapore (or any other location, for that matter).
When you estimate the costs on capital, leases, licenses, entry pass, company registration and future costs such as employee salaries, insurance, rent, and other overhead costs, you are being proactive in terms of finances. A thorough evaluation of costs and expenses helps in laying a basis for comprehending how to optimally use your limited funds.
Several procedures incur costs in starting a business in Singapore:
- Registration with Singapore Accounting and Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
- Formulation of company seal
- Registration of employee compensation insurance
- Licenses and Permits
4. Know the Regulations and Laws in Singapore
There are 7 governing entities in Singapore which spell out the laws and regulations which you ought to know before starting your business. These regulations and laws set strict guiding principles to which you are expected to abide in order to run your business lawfully.
The 7 governing bodies are:
- Singapore Accounting and Regulator Authority (ACRA)
- Central Provident Fund Board (CPF)
- Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)
- Enterprise Singapore
- Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
- Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
- SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)
5. Assistance from Government Agencies
The government of Singapore is pro-business in its initiatives due to which lot of start-ups and entrepreneurs make use of it. There are a few agencies that can help you grow your business in Singapore like,
- Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) - ACRA oversees the registration and regulation of business entities and public accountants, and also provides information on new business structures, compliance requirements, and corporate governance practices.
- Economic Development Board (EDB) - EDB provides comprehensive investor support and ensures a first-rate pro-business environment in Singapore.
- Enterprise Singapore- Enterprise Singapore is the government agency championing enterprise development
6. Company Registration
Once you have everything set, it's time to register your company!
This action should include A-Z aspects of your company, i.e. registration of company name, registration of your Board of Directors, registered address and the appointment of one resident director.
7. Obtain Licenses and Permits
Prior to officially commencing your business, it is mandatory to have all the necessary licenses and permits in hand. The Singaporean Government has made it easy to do so by launching EnterpriseOne, an online branch of the government which lists all the essential licenses and permits relevant to each and every industry. Moreover, it enables you to apply online.
8. Recruiting Manpower
Due to its ease of doing business and high standard of living, Singapore attracts businesses with its strong pool of local and international talent. Employees are easy to find through the many online recruitment portals and head-hunting agencies.
A smoothly functioning accounting system and a smoothly operating business complement one another. Set up an updated and efficient accounting system which enables optimal usage of budgets and systematic bookkeeping practices.
10. File your Taxes
Here’s some good news: Singapore has Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements with over 73 countries. And the remainder countries see a unilateral tax credit. By doing so, Singapore has made taxation much more lenient; therefore, it is your duty to pay company taxes on time.
Singapore has built itself in a manner which makes setting up your business or company less strenuous and problematic. Your budding business or company is being provided with measures to strengthen its foundations through the various incentives offered by the country. The Singaporean Government has created an environment in which entrepreneurs and enterprises can prosper; this is why the lion's roar is booming louder today!
Business Setup Worldwide is a consulting firm to help you set up your company in Singapore. Our team of business advisors have decades of experience in assisting firms and entrepreneurs in kick-starting their business in the country. For any specialized business service or more information regarding company formation in Singapore, feel free to contact us – we’d be happy to help!