Setting Up Business

When starting out a business in Singapore, it is important that you determine the name that it will be go by beforehand. The name reflects the identity of your brand but also gives insight on the kind of services that you offer. Be sure to determine if the name that you have picked is available on the web or it is taken by someone else.

You need to have it properly registered and protected for the long term. Most people use their own names as the business name. It is important that the name that you choose presents a professional image in order for you to build brand awareness.

You need to consider how the name will appear be it on the web or on your logo. Think about it on the social media. Does it provoke interest on a person to pursue your line of business for services? Most people are drawn by the name of a business therefore keep this in mind as you determine a name for your business.

Depending on the kind of business that you are into, the business name should reflect the culture of the business with an appeal to the target users. You need to decide if you want to make it appear corporate or more like a personal business. This will help you decide on the name that you settle on for the business. You need to ensure that the name you choose is not claimed by others either on the web or offline.

Go ahead and search for Trademark search tool to check for a similar name to the one you have picked. It is good to remember that infringement of trademark can earn you quite some for your business.

If you plan on having a web address or URL you need to ensure that it is available using WHOIS database for domain names. This will help you to know if the name is registered online under someone else and a web search will give you results. Make sure that your name is unique and also rich in words that mirror your line of business. If your name is available you should claim it right away and then go on to register a domain.

In case you plan on going corporate, you should contact your state filing office to determine if the name has been claimed yet. You can still go on to use it even with another one in existence as long as the services that you offer are in a different location from the existing one.

You can then go on to register the business name and to be able to do this you need to notify the government of the presence of your business with the name other than your own name. This is in case you are using a name for your business that is not the same as your personal name. This step does not apply in case you pick your personal name for business.

Next you then apply for trademark protection which protects names, symbols and logos. Remember that your name is one of the most important business assets therefore you need to protect it. There is a charge to filing a trademark which needs to be met.

When starting a business in Singapore you need to pick a catchy name to be able to hook your customers to your business. Think about the appeal that the name you choose will have on your customers and go that way. Since you want to have a name that will remain in the minds of customers without forgetting, you can settle for one that is short and to the point.

Your business name is the top consideration when starting a business in Singapore since you want to make an impact on your users. To be able to get noticed in the myriad of other businesses in the country it is therefore important that you select a name that is well thought out so that at the mention of it your customers get a vision of what is on offer to them. This will draw them to come to your business without hesitation bringing growth to it.


Singapore is appealing to most people who wish to set up business due to the fact that it has open market views. It is the easiest place among other developed countries for an expat to be able to set up business since its corporate tax is reasonable. The wide cultural diversity that is found in Singapore makes it one where it is easy to have access to talent based on the available workforce that collects there.

The Singapore government provides motivation and help to some industries of those who start a business body there. This comes in the form of tax and financial incentives given to the development schemes listed by Economic Development Board of Singapore to assist businesses. Provision is made for assistance that relates to financing, capabilities and management development. Innovation in addition to technology and the access of the start-ups to markets is also provided by Singapore for young start-ups as well.  The assistance that an expat gets from the Singapore government while starting out in the country is a good initiative to get him on his feet soon enough.

There are free trade agreements in Singapore that is made with major world economies that benefits international firms in the country a lot since it helps reduce the tariffs on imports. Since there no tax imposed on capital gains in Singapore also works to draw expats to invest in the country. A company can have as many Employment Passes as they like despite how big or small it is and this is issued purely on merit.

As much as it is relatively easy for one to set up a company in Singapore, the special pass that enables one to be able to get authority to transact business in Singapore known as the EntrePass is a requirement. This enables one to set up a business branch and enterprise or even a company by allowing an expat to be able to stay in the region and make an application to do business there. The EntrePass is a basic requirement to enable the incorporation of a company since registration with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority is necessary. This is done through the filing system available online known as BizFile.

Before starting out an application to set up a company in Singapore, an expat needs to have some details on his fingertips. This is what is required to fill out the application form and consists of details such as his CV and business plan. His qualifications and work history need also be included in the application well articulated with no spelling mistakes and in a clear way to enable the one who reviews it give good points to the expat. It is required that the expat makes copies of his qualifications and previous work certifications which should all be attached to the application.

An expat is also required to give reasons and also his mode of doing business in the country. He should also set up a fixed term savings account while awaiting the EntrePass. After a week’s wait and having been given the Banker’s guarantee letter from Ministry of Manpower he will then submit his guarantee, letter and passport to the MOM with a small fee that is charged. He is then issued with a green card and given a month within which to submit particulars about his new company to the Ministry of manpower.

The ease with which one is able to get a permit to set up a company in Singapore makes the country an accessible place of business with the right resources that are needed for business startups. It is for this reason that the country enjoys global attention from expats who seek visas so as to be able to successfully send applications to do business in Singapore.

The facilitation of a system to enable expats eyeing prospects of running business overseas within structures that offer competitive activity in the business world works to bring more of them to Singapore. That, coupled with the conducive business environment successfully sets the country apart among others in Asia for global trade to take place within its borders.

Singapore has a reputation as a port with most activity for foreign investment and business both for the Singaporean as well as foreign entrepreneurs. There are many business opportunities lined up in Singapore for any of these parties that might be interested in investing here. The smooth registration process for business here makes it an attractive place for foreigners to come do business with guaranteed growth.

It is important for one to understand the way of setting up a business in Singapore from scratch as a foreigner to Singapore. To start with, one needs to ensure that he attains the correct visa. A foreigner coming to do business in Singapore has to get a work pass called the EntrePass  that is for foreign business people to launch a business in Singapore and to maximize the usage of business opportunities available in Singapore.

The ministry of manpower together with the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board Singapore usually process the application for the EntrePass and those with approved EntrePass applications will have the benefit of the working pass up to two years. This period is renewable on expiry if one meets all the requirements. On expiry of the EntrePass on condition that it is feasible for a renewal of the work pass a three year validity period will constitute the EntrePass.

The registration of a company is done through Bizfile which is a system for use by the Accounting and Corporate regulatory Authority to register businesses in Singapore. Bizfile also caters for registering of the expansion of business in the country, which could also include any branches of a company.

Appropriate procedures and information on the subject of the registration process can be accomplished through agencies as Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as well as the Attorney-General Chamber’s. All the information that is needed to aid in the financial and accounting and also legal businesses is offered by these agencies. Any other information need on how to venture into business is available at the International Enterprise of Singapore. This makes it easy for a foreigner to find his way into the business world of Singapore for investment purposes.

Locations in Singapore that one can position or place his business offices and company can be provided on request by the Economic Development Board that has wide-ranging facts about industrial and business parks setting in Singapore. This is used to give out to foreign people who are keen on finding suitable locations for the operation of business in the locality. This makes it easier for foreigners to pick out opportunities available to them to place their business activity. Depending on the kind of business that one is interested in putting up he can then decide on the most suitable region to ensure growth of his business.

There is a vast local talent in Singapore that any foreigner desiring to set up can take advantage of in the running of his business. This can be accessed through recruitment portals as well as recruitment agencies that help the human resources division of a company. EntrepriseOne is a website where one can get information on the training as well as accessibility of manpower for employment. In case one is interested in the provision of training programs to equip the local labor EDB helps to provide the relevant ones to the business.

Beginning a business in Singapore is relatively cheap and all that is needed is a valid business address and credit card as long as you have valid employment pass for yourself and dependants that you wish to bring along. Additional requirements are the need for a minimum of two directors to be able to start a business. A co-director of convenience with little say about the running of the company can be found.

You will also need someone to audit your books and this can be found locally from the abundance of manpower in Singapore. Alongside that you also require articles of association and then pay some capital which is not much by any standards.

The process of establishing a company in Singapore is an easy one compared to other business hubs in the world and this is the reason that many foreigners from all over the world are drawn here to set up various business enterprises.

Starting a business regardless of its size, whether small or big, is not easy. There are a lot of things that require your attention such as scheduling a business meeting, marketing every brand and service, and selling a product. Not to mention the accounting and book keeping aspects of the business. With all of these responsibilities, it takes great courage to forge ahead with your dream of setting up a business. Another thing is it would seem daunting if you may not be quite knowledgeable about accounting and book keeping. However, this should not discourage you since there are always many top accounting services in Singapore to provide the accounting services that your company needs.

In every firm the presence of an accounting service provider is vital to its existence. Accounting functions are essential in your business as they guide you in knowing whether the business is gaining or losing. Its functions are not only limited to this however. The accounting service provider systematizes your employees’ payrolls, bank reporting and sales tax.  In matters related to bank reporting, the accounting service provider helps you with these; it checks any bank loans you have and makes sure that you possess base certificates. Doing every financial statement and filing income tax returns may also be performed by the accounting team on your behalf. Imagine the time you will save and you will be free from doing all the tedious accounting tasks when you hire the services of an accounting service provider.

It is indeed no joke to establish a company and it may even take time to make it a success, but it is always possible to reach your goals as well as objectives with the help of your accounting staff that can act as your partner in reaching your goals since it prepares financial statements to keep track of the progress of your business. By having all these organized by a certified public accountant (CPA), it is a big help for your business to move forward and with your books all organized, you can make better business decisions.

All accounting firms promise support as well as services to address your business issues but the truth of the matter is some of them may not be able to keep such promises and may fall short in some aspects. Thus, it is of great value to your company to do thorough research before choosing the accounting firm to provide your company with the best accounting service. It is a must to see their track record and credentials before hiring them. It is but wise to know the services the firm provides. By visiting the firm rapport can be established as well. It is vital that you trust the firm as it is in charge of the financial well being of your company.

How to choose accounting services that would click with your company then? How would you know the accounting firm is the right one for your company? Here is a list of the things to consider as your requirements while making your search:

It must provide most of the services mentioned below:

  • Competent and professional accounting services
  • Record keeping and accounting which involves income, track of assets, expenses and liabilities
  • Tax advice along with tax compliance and tax planning
  • Auditing that includes actual auditing, bank and account reconciliation and audit schedules, preparing business financial statements and management of financial statements
  • Business planning that involves tax situations advices, accounting system selection, review and implementation, establishing effective accounting system, internal control, financial plans as well as cash flow statements, inventory pricing, etc.
  • Payroll services
  • Complete set of accounts
  • Annual reports as well as group consolidation

It must consist and possess the following mentioned below:

  • Accounts manager: The accounting firm must have an Accounts Manager who handles your business accounting needs. He must have extensive experience to organize as well as review submitted information, thus being able to develop as well as maintain your business accounts ledger. He must have the skill to draft the business financial statements based on Financial Reporting Standards (FRS).
  • Registered auditors and accountants: Their office is essential in your company since your business needs professional auditing as well as accounting services. They must have the capacity to provide reports at the right time and the compilation of the yearly account data.

Running your own business, enterprise or branch offices means either you fail or you succeed. However, when you decide to set up a business without much information just for the sake of having one is not right. It is important that you should know the business inside and out, what business ideas are successful, the product you are going to sell and the taxation involved, etc. The locale where you are setting up your business also should be taken into consideration but that is not all. For instance, it is true that Singapore is a good place for foreign investors to set up international companies for many reasons not only limited to a favorable corporate tax, but then that does not guarantee that the business will succeed and we cannot also exactly tell whether it will fail.

There is an old saying that says among the new businesses, 70 percent of which fail in the 1st year. So it goes without saying that some businesses win and some lose. Of course, neither any expert can tell 100% that a legal business in Singapore will fail or succeed but by knowing what businesses are predictably going to flop at present will help you in any way to avoid such business operations. Below then is the list of 5 business ideas that are not encouraged when you set up a company in Singapore today.

1. A Private Gym

It is true that private gyms also succeed but only some of them and not definitely because of the company’s dedication, hard work and the quality time they give to their customers but because of the capital they put into their fitness centre such as the top California Fitness or Fitness First. The capital they actually have is more than what small African nations invest. Without high maintenance marketing and strong funding, it is quite impossible to reach the level of success they have attained.

The cost of the rent for the private gyms is the primary reason that they are not a good business idea in Singapore since you cannot definitely charge more from your clients only because your rent was raised by your landlord. They are not a business idea considered viable any more not only because of the high cost of rent but also because gyms are also part of the facilities offered for free in many condos now.

2. A Small Cafe

It is the University students’ typical business idea to open a small café. Actually, this idea is not exclusive to University students alone but hipsters, amateur chefs and food bloggers have this idea in mind as well. However, Singapore is already filled with so many cafes and food establishments that your small café would have lots of competition such as Settlers, Café Del Mar, Café Cartel, etc.

You have to also bear in mind that Singapore commercial property requires high rents. Not to mention the mentality that once business is making progress, the landlord raises the rent. Unless owning the rights and buying the property is something that is affordable to you, starting a small café is risky.

3. A Small Tuition Agency

Based on Singapore employment rate, the job of private tutors can earn them more money but starting a small tuition agency is a different story. In the years back then, a small tuition agency would work with schools to give enrichment classes at a decent amount. Teaching a second language and Maths brought good profit to the educational entity until 2007 and since then the profit has decreased. At present, many agencies offering such educational services are struggling since the fee for every student has plummeted to $2. Now, parents try to find MOE-qualified teachers for their children, thus agencies formed by ex- MOE teachers are more preferred than the older ones.

4. Interior Decorating

In Singapore, interior decorating is not really the type of business to set up especially that the Singapore renovations market already have a great number of contractors and designers and both offer Fittings, Furnishings, & Fitting (FF&E). As opined by a sales designer, one cannot survive only on interior decorating since FF&E is very subjective and most Singaporean residents will not consider paying the designer on matters regarding good taste. For instance, the cost for painting walls can be justified but the cost for the choice of color. Sales designers can offer both for just a single price.

5. A General Bookstore

Niche bookstores may be successfully run provided there are target demographics. Setting up a general bookstore requires a great deal of inventory that can only be handled by huge companies with advanced logistics. Thus, for smaller bookstores, inventory is daunting work.

It is possible to succeed in selling books on topics like politics and history or gardening. However, when you plan to run a general bookstore where all topics are available is not a very promising investment. Simply put, customers of niche bookstores after their search will probably leave the store with something but those of general bookstores perhaps only 1 customer out of 10 will make a purchase for every visit.

A modern territory where every intellectual property right is respected, English is used as the language in the workforce, there is an abundance of skilled workers, there is a liberal business policy, political stability and the presence of developed infrastructure, Singapore has become the locale for global businesses. Global businesses consider it beneficial to establish a Singapore company. With its strong investment and trade, Singapore among Asian countries is considered as the most competitive and the easiest country in the world for doing business.

A great number of multinational companies prefer to start their businesses in Singapore along with the 154,000 enterprises in small as well as medium scale. Singapore is viewed by business owners worldwide as a perfect location for growing their businesses. Singapore has made a name for itself as a distinguished regional and financial trading centre. Considered as the busiest port in the world, Singapore is a major investment location in the Asia Pacific belt.

As a non-resident, a multinational or a small and medium enterprise, starting a Singapore company will give you more opportunities to the other developing economies of the region. Aside from this, there is a lot to gain from the large network of Singapore’s trade agreements, “ease of doing business,” an appealing tax system and protection on intellectual property.

Singapore is a “country of both worlds” where the East meets the West. Its society consists of a blend of American, European and Asian cultures making it friendly and attractive to the global business community. Once a British colony, Singapore’s financial and legal structures are very similar to the UK and the US. Leading international banks, financial institutions and multinational organizations worldwide have branches in Singapore where their branch offices in Asia are located. Singapore is known as the “Lion City” as it possesses strong currency as well as infrastructure making it the perfect spot to launch overseas firms.

Geographically, Singapore is an ideal setting for international business and trade. It is fairly effective to reach other Asian countries from Singapore. Frequent air travel with daily outbound and inbound flights makes business operations more convenient and easier. Singapore maintains favorable international contact with some counties related to trade and industry. At present, it has 27 economic partners such as the US, Korea, China and Japan with 20 free trade agreements.

In Singapore, it is quicker and easier to set up a company since it only takes a day for the process to be completed provided that the application has been submitted after the appropriate requirements have been completed as compared to other international business hubs. Anyone can own a Singapore company including foreign persons. The incorporation has made a fast and easy procedure online where application forms are submitted.

In terms of business taxes, Singapore offers a friendly environment. Its corporate taxes are lower than in those countries which are more developed. Singapore together with some international jurisdictions entered into the avoidance of DTA (Double Taxation Agreements) to ensure its financial prosperity and success. By setting up their global headquarters in Singapore, companies are benefited by the country’s network of more than fifty “comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements,” the Investment Guarantee Agreements and free trade agreements.

Singapore companies are registered under CAP 50 of the Companies Act. They can at least have 1 member which could either be an individual or a corporation and are expected to observe the regulations, rules and laws laid down by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, ACRA, etc. Generally, Singaporean companies are also formed under CAP 50 of the Companies Act mostly incorporated as the Private Limited Company type.

It is necessary for a company to be first incorporated in order to begin doing business in the country. It must register with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). After payment of registration fee is done and all documents are set, generally it only takes 15 minutes for a company to be incorporated. A branch office in Singapore should register with ACRA. A branch office however is not benefited by exemptions and tax incentives as local businesses are. A representative office should register with the Monetary Authority of Singapore or the International Enterprise Singapore. It is not authorized to trade in the country. It rather undertakes every marketing as well as oversight activity in the country for its parent company.

Many people consider Singapore the best place to set up their businesses. There are many reasons why more and more people choose Singapore over other countries. These reasons include the strategic location of Singapore in Asia, the talented workforce, the blend of all cultures, etc. As in any country there are always rules to follow before registering a business, if you wish to set up your own business in Singapore you must also observe certain rules.

What does the law say?

According to the business law in Singapore written in section 5 of its Business Registration Act, in general, registering all types of businesses with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) is required in Singapore. It does not matter whether you are planning of setting up a limited partnership, a limited liability partnership, a company, a partnership or a sole-proprietorship, you are required by law to register your business since generally registration of business in Singapore applies to all business types such as these.

What are the exemptions?

However, there is always an exception to the rule. Thus, Singapore law exempts certain entities from registering with ACRA. These entities include licensed hawkers, pond keepers or farmers, trishaw riders, taxi drivers and craftsmen. The licensed hawkers mentioned refer to those who register with NEA instead of ACRA.  Taxi drivers are required to register instead with the taxi companies. There are actually categories for craftsmen and the craftsmen mentioned refer to those who work and produce their goods privately in the confinements of their own abodes or domestic premises. The goods produced by these craftsmen are not displayed in public and the services to make such goods must not be rendered by employees who are not a member of the family.

In addition to this, registration of business in Singapore with ACRA does not include certain charitable organizations and societies although certain governmental organs may require these organizations and societies to register with them instead.

Do blogshops need to be registered?

Now that the popularity of blogshops is increasing and more and more people are setting up their own blogshops, many ask if they still need to register if they have one. The answer is YES. Due to the increasing number of these new online businesses now there is still a possibility for some to remain unregistered. ACRA however states that the rule in registration of business in Singapore does not exempt blogshops. Not only that but also since these blogshops are content providers online, they are all the more required to register and follow certain rules.

What if the blogshops are unregistered?

If the above mentioned blogshops fail to register, their owners may be fined or even imprisoned.  Additionally, if a certain blogshop business is unregistered the owner cannot avail of any contractual right against his client who failed to pay for the products he delivered to him. This means the unregistered blogshop owner cannot have the legal remedies for reclaiming payment. There are however certain meritorious cases where the unregistered owner may go to court to be given special relief.

What is the process for registering a business in Singapore?

Registration of business in Singapore is actually easy and fast which could only take as short as 15 minutes. As long as you have all the necessary requirements for the registration which include following the provisions on the appointment of a local manager for your company, your company name, the SSIC code for your business, your business address, Medisave accounts applicable to citizens and permanent residents only, license requirements, your business Memorandum and Articles of Association, and some documents for the incorporation of companies, the possibility of your business being approved is strong. With all these requirements and documents ready, all you have to do is check out the website of ACRA and follow the instructions for registering your business. Charges may vary for every business entity. Obscene and offensive business names are considered inappropriate and are not accepted in the registration of business in Singapore. Moreover, ACRA does not accept business names that resemble the names of the existing brands. For those who own a start-up business, if they want know the upsides and downsides of every business entity, they can always check out the website of ACRA.