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How to Start a Business in Singapore [2023 Edition]

7 February 2023
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There are many reasons why starting a business in Singapore is a great idea. The World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks Singapore as second for the ease of doing business and fourth for starting a business. 

And luckily, Singapore also supports businesses with well-integrated systems. Through the support of ACRA (Action Community for Entrepreneurship) and GovBusiness, beginners and experienced entrepreneurs alike are well-equipped to launch their business with confidence. Let’s dive in!

Getting Started

Starting a business in Singapore can seem daunting, but with the right resources and guidance, it can be a successful endeavour.

Prepare a Well-crafted Business Plan

Having a well-thought-out business plan is essential if you want to succeed with your new Singapore company.

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to business plans. However, a good starting point should cover the following points:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Organizational Structure
  • Marketing and Sales, Funding Needs
  • Financial Projections

A well-crafted business plan can help you navigate your way through the various stages of starting and running a business. It will serve as a roadmap, guiding you through the essential steps needed to thrive as a business owner. Also, it can help you secure funding or attract new business partners. 

Raise Funds

You will need to figure out how much capital you need to get your business off the ground. This can vary depending on the size, scale, and character of your business. There are many ways you can get funding for your business. You may choose to use your personal savings, take up a business loan, look for financial backers, or even try some ideas below:

  • Friends and Family: Inviting your friends and family to invest in your business can be a rewarding experience. However, be sure to communicate the risks involved and make sure both parties are clear on how the investors’ return on investment will be calculated.
  • Government Funds: The ACE (Action Community for Entrepreneurship ) Startups grant is available to first-time entrepreneurs, while several Startup SG Founder grants are available to fledgling businesses.
  • Business Loan: There are several factors to consider when choosing a bank or financial institution. Interest rates can vary significantly across different institutions, so it’s important to compare rates before choosing one. Fazz Business  is one example of a financial institution which offers a daily interest rate starting as low as 0.05% with approval within 48 hours only.

Register Your Business

To incorporate a business, ACRA’s BizFile website is a helpful resource. First, you need to reserve a company name for $15. Your company name should be approved provided it is not already taken and does not contain vulgarities. 

Registration of a business is a straightforward process on BizFile. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to pay a fee according to your business structure: Company ($300), Sole Proprietor ($100), or Partnership ($100).

The pre-requisites, information and supporting documents needed for the application to register the business will vary, depending on the business structure type.

Pro tip: Check out our guide on how to register a business in Singapore to take you through the entire process.

Open Business Account

Most of Singapore’s major banks offer a good range of business bank accounts, from low-fee online-only options, to accounts with more features that may charge higher fees. In many cases, you’ll be able to open your Singapore business bank account online – although this depends on your business entity type, residency, and relationship with the bank.

If you’re looking for a low-fee, feature-packed multi-currency account in Singapore, check out Fazz Business Account. Open your account fully online without the worries of hidden bank fees, and no minimum balance requirement. Fazz Business Account also helps the company to grow its money by earning 2% APY with the most flexible business savings account in SEA. 

Pro tip: Your business can also manage team spending by issuing unlimited virtual cards, set monthly spend limits, and freeze cards – all with the power of Fazz Business Cards. Your company can also get zero local transaction fees for every local transaction made, and zero exchange rate markup when you spend overseas. 

In addition, in today’s all-digital era, where crime against data is also rampant, Fazz Business protects your company through its cutting-edge fraud detection AI.

Hire A Team

As a business owner in Singapore, there are specific regulations that you’ll need to take note of before, during and after hiring a team. Let’s explore everything you need to do in this section.

Learn The Employment Rules In Singapore

The Singapore Employment Act is a comprehensive document that outlines the legal requirements for hiring and managing workers from both inside and outside of Singapore. We recommend you to give it a read to get a basic understanding of the laws and procedures.

Register CPF (Central Provident Fund)

If you’re looking to hire employees in Singapore, the first thing to do is to apply for a CPF number. You can do this online through BizFile for convenience. Once your application is approved, you will receive a CPF Submission Number (CSN) and a Direct Debit Authorization form. You will need your CSN in order to make deposits into your employees’ CPF accounts.

Ensure you are clear on the required processes and contributions for employee and employer CPF contributions, and when they apply. In most cases, you will be responsible for administering all contributions and withholding. However this will depend on your team member’s earnings, so it is important to get individual advice to ensure you are clear on the rules in your case.

Prepare Required Documents

In addition to understanding the employment rules in Singapore, it’s also a good idea to understand the monthly documents that must be fulfilled.

  • Itemised Payslip: An important document that shows your employees’ pay breakdown. It can include information such as their basic salary, overtime pay, bonuses, CPF deductions, and other salary-related matters. This document can help you prove that you have paid your employees correctly.
  • Skills Development Levy: SDL is a compulsory levy that all Singaporeans, including foreign employees, must pay. This is in addition to CPF contributions and the Foreign Worker Levy. The CPF Board collects the SDL on behalf of the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency (SSG).
  • CPF Contributions: CPF is a mandatory social security savings scheme funded by contributions from employers and employees. 

File Taxes

The way you file your business taxes will depend on the type of business entity you have. For example, if you are a sole proprietor or in most types of partnerships, your business is not considered a separate legal entity from your taxes. That means you can easily file your taxes with IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) online through SingPass. 

There is an estimated submission time of just 5-10 minutes, and you can complete the process from your phone. The IRAS website has detailed information you’ll need before you submit, so make sure to review it in advance.

If you have a registered company, you’ll need to follow a separate tax filing process. In this case, it’s recommended to seek professional advice.

Further Steps To Consider

After successfully registering a business, hiring employees and learning the ins and outs of taxes in Singapore, you can consider these next steps.

Commercial space use

Depending on what kind of business you are in, you may need commercial space to carry out your daily operations.

Licenses and Permit

Different licenses and permits are needed for different types of business activities.

With GoBusiness, you can easily apply for the licenses your business needs, update, renew or terminate them.

IP Value

Intangible assets like trademarks, patents, and designs can be very valuable assets for businesses. Learn more about these assets here.

Final Takeaway

In conclusion, starting a business in Singapore is relatively straightforward. Fortunately, there are plenty of cutting-edge tools and resources available to help modern businesses get off on the right foot. Take these steps and you’re well on your way to growing your empire in the business hub of Southeast Asia.

Start your journey with a High-Yield Fazz Business Account

With Fazz, enjoy a business account that multiplies your capital effortlessly. Maximize your earnings by up to 2% APY with no minimum balance and zero hidden bank fees. Open a Fazz Business Account to build, run and grow your business today!

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