So you want to become an entrepreneur, and are wondering whether to get a traditional office/ storefront or work strictly online. You believe a traditional business setting is more professional than an online business. A brick and mortar say that you are a professional business owner, it is almost like a status symbol of authenticity – so you think.
- Cost of Physical Location
- Define Your Product or Service
- Register Singapore online Business
- Domain Registration
- Create Engaging Content
- Make Sure Your Site is Easy to Use
- Invest in Advertising
- Do a Compliance Check
How much will have that physical location cost you?
Brick and mortar businesses are expensive. You can have an expensive location just sitting there, not making you any money, but the rent and bills associated with it still have to be paid for every month. You are at risk of losing money, trying to keep up with the demands for having a physical business location.
On the other hand, operating a business online significantly reduces your overhead expenses. The primary cost you have to focus on with an online business is your website hosting, website design, online advertising budget and shipping your products if running an e-commerce business.
Another great thing about having an online business is that it grants you worldwide access. When you have a physical location, you are more likely to concentrate your marketing and sales efforts within that particular local area. You cast a ceiling over a number of people you reach, not allowing your business to reach its full potential.
The internet is used by more than 3 billion people! No, 3 billion people won’t visit your site, in most cases, not even a million people will. But, you have the ability to attract people who do need your products and services, and they can be from anywhere in the world. The only way this can occur though is by putting your business in the right position to succeed.
In no way am I discrediting the importance of having a brick and mortar business? For many businesses, a physical location is needed. If a physical location is not a must for your business, then let me show you how you start an online business now!
Define Your Product or Service
The process of starting an online business is no different from starting any other businesses. You will always have to answer these questions:
What type of product or service will you be offering?
Is there a market for your product and services?
Who will be your target market then?
You cannot just set up a store and believe everyone will love what you sell without having a business model that would help your company to stand up. Before starting, you must research a need that most people are looking at or have been looking forward to having.
Follow the essence of a startup company—it must be solving a problem. If not, it must be improving the existing services through innovation.
For instance, in Singapore alone, there are thousands of online business that are operating. Because of that, you have to make sure that what you offer is unique and different from your potential competitors.
What is currently being offered as a solution?
Are people satisfied with the existing solution?
Do you believe you can offer something better?
Once you have a clear understanding of everything–your planned business model, products or services, and the market you plan to target; you can now begin developing a company.
Learning how to start an online business may not be easy. But if you equip yourself with the right strategy, smart marketing, and have executed a great business plan, you’ll be most likely to succeed.
Related: How to Make Your Product Go Viral: 6 Tips for Singapore Startups
Register Your Business
Registering your business announces and confirms that the business name being used, is your business. The registration of your business also determines your legal status as a business. This is important because your business’s liability can rest solely on your business, or it can transition over to you, making you personally responsible for any issues.
That is why it is important to know the legal entity your business will be operating under. As a solo entrepreneur, who operates online, you may find a sole proprietorship is your best option. But being online doesn’t mean that an issue can’t occur. We live in a world where people love to sue for any little thing that makes them unhappy, so don’t get personally caught up in any issues that could damage your personal finances.
Online businesses also have laws that they have to follow regarding privacy, security, copyright and taxation. You can read up on those laws here: online business laws.
Related: Learn how to register your office in Singapore
Register Your Domain Name & Find a Web Host
To begin your online business, you will need to register your domain name. GoDaddy is a good site to handle this process. The first step when registering your domain name is ensuring that the name you choose isn’t being used.
Once your domain name is registered, you need to find a web hosting company to place your site on. This gives your website the ability to be found on the internet, which is why you chose an online business in the first place. HostGator offers some good hosting plans and has great customer service support.
Related: Register Your Domain Upon Business Formation
Create Great Content
Now we are getting to the main ingredients that help grow your website. I am sure you have heard that content is king, well that saying is quite true. Great content attracts readers, people who can be converted into customers. Your goal is to make your content quality, relevant and engaging.
Quality: Your content is well written, and detailed. Readers can easily follow your writing style, understanding the thoughts you are trying to portray.
Relevant: Readers are able to relate to your content. It depicts situations they are dealing with, therefore they are inclined to continue reading more content.
Engaging: Your content is more than just words. You add in images, video, and audio to capture people’s attention immediately because you understand people have short attention spans.
Your content is the lead generation process within your sales funnel. It is the initial point of contact that gains people’s attention to your business. Therefore, be sure that the content you provide is amazing. If you are not gifted in the art of writing, hire a freelancer. Content is the lifeline of your online business, so you must ensure that you are displaying superb content.
Here is how your content should work:
- A strong headline that arouses attention
- Describe the reader’s problem
- Provide a step by step solution to the problem
- Make an offer
- Guaranteed results
- Provide additional supporting information
- Provide a call to action
Make Your Site Easy to Use
Your website has to be easy to navigate. If people can’t easily find information, because your website doesn’t flow properly, you can forget about making any sells. People like simplicity. If they can’t figure something out immediately, they move on immediately.
We determined that your content has to be engaging, pulling people into your business. While you want to grab people’s attention, you don’t want to make your site too complex to use. You don’t want to drive away potential customers because your website is doing too much Use the K.I.S.S. formula. Keep it simple stupid! You can enhance your website with great visuals without going overboard.
Invest in Advertising
If the content is the backbone of your online business, advertising is the heart of your online business. When you are trying to immediately sell your products or services, advertising is the form of communication to drive that push.
You would be surprised how many people have online businesses, but they do no online advertising. We are not talking about general Facebook posts and general tweets on Twitter. Advertising is paying to have your sales copy aimed at a particular group of people. Do you see the difference? General posts are seen by your friends and followers. Paid posts are displayed to those who fit your customer demographics.
And no, online advertising is not expensive. You can do Facebook advertising campaigns for as little as $1 per day. Analyze your results, see what works, and increase your campaign budget in order to gain more reach. You must be willing to spend money (invest money), in order to make money. I’d rather spend $10 and make $150 in return than spend nothing and make nothing.
Related: What to Include in a Marketing Plan: A Guide for SMEs
Do a Compliance Check
Upon the incorporation of a local entity, it is essential that every business owner stays compliant with the regulations. This will enable your company to have a good track record for brand equity as well as good corporate governance. Some of the key things that you will need to take note of are ACRA’s annual tax filing requirements, appointing of auditors, obtaining relevant business licenses or permits. You can check out the list of statutory compliance requirements for Singapore companies.
Of course, as a first-time entrepreneur in Singapore, it may be complex and intimidating to navigate Singapore’s regulations. You can easily outsource all your Bookkeeping services and Taxation services to a trusted corporate service provider while being cost-efficient.
How can Rikvin help?
Having an online business can be very lucrative, low cost and high-profit margins, but you have to set it up right. Rikvin has incorporated thousands of companies to date. Our team of incorporation specialists would be more than happy to assist you in setting up your business smoothly. For more details, feel free to contact us.
Rikvin’s content team includes in-house and freelance writers across the globe who contribute informative and trending articles to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in taking their business to the next level in Asia.