Singapore is already known for its ease of doing business, low-tax policies, and first-world infrastructure. Moreover, buoyed by the support of its government and availability of private funding, the city-state is well on its way to emerge as Asia’s hub for incorporating start-ups, particularly in the areas of clean and green technology, media and entertainment, IT and electronics, as well as bio-technology, among others.
However, starting a business comes with an inherent price. As someone said, if you are not making mistakes as an entrepreneur, your business is probably in big trouble. This so because innovation is all about risk-taking abilities; it’s all about experimentation; it’s all about making mistakes.
While some mistakes are inevitable; you can just learn from them and move on. Others mistakes, if you plan properly and do your due diligence, can be avoided.
These may include not building a strong support team, not getting along with co-founders, hiring too quickly or hiring incompetent staff, or just putting a half-hearted effort in making the start-up successful.
To help all the the budding entrepreneurs with the salient points they should always keep in mind while thinking of incorporating a company in Singapore, we present a comprehensive guide below.
Go solo by all means but bringing in a partner or two may help highlight some blind spots that you may have ignored while envisaging the initial idea. If you insist on going alone, then at least build a support system of trusted advisers and mentors who may look at the business idea objectively.
Clash Between Founders
The flip side of listening to outsiders too much or having co-founders, is that it may either distract or discourage you. Clashing personalities of co-founders, having alternate vision for the business growth, or just being on different wavelengths while making day-to-day business decisions may lead to clashes and untimely closure of the company.
Half-hearted Effort or Working Too Hard
If you don’t put in your entire self in making the start-up succeed, no one else will. It’s sometimes beneficial to quit a stable job and take the risk associated in building your own company. When you have nothing to fall back on, you better make the start-up work. On the other hand, working all the time will bring stress, which may burn you out quickly. Have a balance, will you!
Launched Too Early or Too Late
Can’t be emphasised enough that timing is everything in today’s business. If you see potential demand for a product. Don’t wait. Or else you may miss the bus because chances are someone else might have seen the demand too and is already working on the launch.
Not Doing Proper Reiki/ Too Much Competition in the Area
Just imagine. Your mother is a great cook. Especially her Indian curries are fantastic. So you decide to open an Indian restaurant in a nearby neighbourhood street. But, oh my! That particular street already has two restaurants serving Indian dishes. You may still get some customers but nothing compared to what you have got if you were the only one in that area serving Indian dishes.
Poor Finance Management
Raising Too Little or Too Much Money/ Poor Investor Management
Every start-up needs cash. But caution must be exercised while raising money. Giving up too much equity in initial stages is not a good idea. Even if you do, make sure to protect your interests and have “controlling rights” of the company if you are the main brain behind the idea.
Spending Too Much in Initial Stages
Refer to Tip 4 below.
Hiring Too Early/ Hiring Incompetent Staff
This comes from the argument about having a great support staff around you. You can’t do everything by yourself, nor should you even try to.
Less Stress on Branding or Marketing
Even an awesome product will not sell unless people know about it. Always set aside your marketing budget in the beginning. Remember even great directors like James Cameron (of billion-dollar Avatar fame) start marketing their movie at least six-months before the release to ensure enough people know about their product in advance.
Marginal Niche or No Targeted Customers
For instance, you went to Canada for vacations and loved ice-skating. On your return you come up with a great idea for durable ice-skaters. But the question is how many people would be interested in buying ice-skating gear in a tropical country like Singapore? Worse still, you don’t even do basic research on potential customers and invest all your savings in making the ice-skating products. The business was bound to fail even before it was conceptualised.
How to Avoid the Above Mentioned Mistakes, you ask?
Just ponder on the questions below and you can avoid most of these.
- Are there any business risks associated with this start-up?
- Does the product have clearly defined applications and a definable market or target customers?
- How much finances are needed and how to raise it?
- What will be the initial valuation of the company and will private investments be needed for future growth?
- Who will own the intellectual property (IP) rights, if any, of the product?
- When will the first product be launched? How to scale-up henceforth?
- What will be the roles and responsibility of founder(s) in the existing set-up, as well as in the long run?
- What will be the future of the start-up? Whether it will be a small yet sustainable business, grow as a private company, or position itself for acquisition? Going public is also always an option?
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