Are you starting a new online business in Singapore? While starting an online venture can be lucrative, it involves more than just setting up a website. Starting an online store or e-commerce site requires planning, time and investment. Here are 8 simple steps to launching your business online.
Step 1: Plan and Research
Firstly, you will need to identify the needs of your target audiences. This will involve some competitive research and brainstorming to fully develop your idea’s potential. You will also need a business plan, or a plan of action, for launching your online business. The plan should cover:
- The products and services you are intending to sell, and their features and benefits
- How your products or services might fare against existing offerings and how you can set them apart in a crowded marketplace
- Who your customers may be and how you can reach them through your sales and marketing strategy
- Your start-up and operating costs, projected revenues and profits, as well as your cash-flow analysis
As you prepare your business plan, you may fine-tune your business ideas and decision-making to avoid running into problems. As part of your competitive research, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and identify top market trends that you can ride on.
Step 2: Incorporate your Business
Before beginning operations, you must first incorporate your business. Will you be operating a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, or a partnership? Each of these company structures come with different personal liabilities and tax rates.
In Singapore, the preferred choice is a private limited company. The advantages of setting up a private limited company include its status as an independent legal corporate body, entitlement to certain tax exemptions, easy transferring of shares, and limited personal liability.
Nonetheless, it is crucial that you assess which entrepreneurial vehicle suits your long-term objectives. If you are unsure of what corporate structure is best for you, consider speaking to a corporate services provider such as Corporate Services Singapore. Our licensed incorporation agents have expertise in navigating Singapore’s strict statutory requirements. Working with a corporate services provider will also fast-track your incorporation process.
Step 3: Build a Website or Sell on an Online Marketplace
If you are building your own site, choose a domain name that is relevant to your business. You will either need a web hosting service provider or build your site on e-commerce hosting platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce. Both feature comprehensive business dashboards on which you can easily manage your product catalogs, shopping carts, checkout process and payment processing.
Step 4: Set Up an Order Fulfilment Process
Besides your storefront and sales processes, you may need to set up work streams such as order processing and customer support. This may include warehousing and packaging solutions for your inventory, as well as shipping or delivery options.
Another area you can invest in is in customer relationship management (CRM). With a CRM solution, you can study customer trends and better engage customers as you will have visibility over what your customers bought, when they last made a purchase, and what they paid.
Step 5: Marketing and SEO
Once your sales infrastructure is in place, you may bring more visitors to your online store through marketing. You may perhaps like to run advertisements on social media to direct traffic to your e-commerce site, or send out email newsletters to promote your new site.
In addition, you may wish to pay more attention to search engine optimisation (SEO), which makes your website search-engine friendly. Unlike paid advertisements, SEO helps you generate leads organically.
Step 6: Bookkeeping
It is crucial that you begin your bookkeeping journey from the onset so that you can keep track of all costs and income for your business. This includes keeping records of all sales, purchases, payments in a general ledger. From start-up costs to marketing and advertising to technology, inventory, and rental expenses, track these operational costs from day 1 so that you have a complete overview of the financial health of your business. Planning and managing your cash flow will also be very crucial to the success of your business.
Step 7: Compliance Requirements
Like any registered business in Singapore, your online store must stay compliant with the Companies Act and other relevant statutory requirements. Depending on your business structure, you may be required to submit company returns as well as tax returns on an annual basis. Unless otherwise exempted, you must also appoint an auditor for your company within 3 months. Furthermore, if your company’s annual taxable turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed S$1 million from the sale of taxable goods and services, you will also need to register your business for Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Step 8: Employment Matters
If you are hiring employees, you will be required to make Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions as an employer. You will also be required by law to prepare tax forms for your employees by 1 March each year.
Engage a One-Stop Corporate Services Provider
At Corporate Services Singapore, we have a full suite of services and expertise that will help you be effective at corporate governance. From company incorporation to accounting and taxation, you can count on us to manage and simplify your finance administration matters.
We will also be able to help you optimise your taxes and make the best out of Singapore’s tax regime. With a reliable and effective corporate services partner, you will have more time and resources to focus on your core business while remaining compliant with statutory requirements.
Corporate Services Singapore offers a complete suite of solutions to ensure that your business runs smoothly from Day 1. To keep up with the latest regulatory updates, give us a call at 6602 8286 or email us at email@example.com today.