There’s a lot that goes into starting a business – including various aspects that you’ll likely have very little expertise in. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Here are six common matters to look at when setting up a business in Singapore, and some corporate service providers, legal firms, insurance providers and tech-support companies who can help you start a company the right way.
#1 Cyber risk and data protection insurance when starting a company
When starting a company, it’s important to look into cyber insurance. As more businesses and operations move online, cyber breaches are occurring at an increasing pace; so much so that the cybercrime industry is poised to be the world’s third largest economy by 2021! Making matters worse, COVID-19’s work-from-home mobilisation has increased vulnerabilities, as employees operate outside secured networks.
Common cyber attacks include phishing scams, malicious malware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). SMEs remain favourite targets of hackers, too; that’s because, unlike MNCs, they don’t have strong IT security in place. Cyber breaches cause massive losses, such as ransomware, damage to IT infrastructure, civil fines, business interruption, and bad PR. All of which can otherwise be mitigated by cyber insurance. Some cyber policies even provide cover against human errors and internal acts, and provide cyber incident crisis response teams. An insurance broker like Pacific Prime can advise a suitable plan when you’re starting a business.
The Pacific Prime team leverage their market position and years of experience to offer tailor-made solutions to fit your company’s needs. They can conduct a risk analysis of your business by studying the typical risks unique to your industry. This includes competitive intelligence through benchmarking the safeguards taken by other companies, as well as analysing various types of coverage offered by different insurers. The company’s advisors will keep you updated on changing trends and the emergence of new risks and market requirements. Plus, they can manage your business claims and also offer year-round administration of your policy.
#2 Developing an employee benefits package
When starting a company, it’s key to consider just how fundamental your employees are to the long-term growth and success of your business. As the saying goes, “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business.” Not only can employees benefit from a well-developed benefits insurance plan, but they’ll also appreciate that the company prioritises their needs and happiness. This can build loyalty, which, in turn, increases productivity. What’s more, employee benefits packages are crucial when it comes to hiring and keeping top talents. In such a competitive environment, it’s more important than ever for companies to enhance their benefits packages.
The team of brokers at Expat Insurance Singapore can help you find the plan that best matches your needs when setting up a company. Of course, group medical insurance should be a top priority when staffing your company. If an employee is covered with medical insurance, they are more likely to return to work more quickly. While Singaporeans have subsidised medical bills, expats don’t. So, if you’re hiring expats when setting up a company in Singapore, securing comprehensive medical coverage should be considered.
There are other things to consider as part of a well-designed employee benefits plan when setting up a company. Dental insurance, paid annual leave, and paid maternity and paternity leave are all benefits that could draw in and retain professionals. Financial wellness benefits are another. This may include access to financial planning resources though an employee assistance programme, for example, or paid time off in the event that an employee gets sick. Extras like expense reimbursements (for instance, a team lunch) certainly can’t hurt either!
Additionally, employees are now gravitating toward benefits focused on mental health and overall wellness. From gym reimbursements, in-office fitness classes, and standing desk and ergonomic chair options to paid “mental health days”, complementary nutritious snacks and work-from-home flexibility, there’s a lot that can be done to keep employees healthy and happy.
#3 Tech support when setting up a business
Putting together online business essentials such as your website, business email and cloud storage can be time-consuming and complicated if you don’t have the right skill set. So, when starting a company, it’s a good idea to turn to experts like Tekkie Help. They can provide all sorts of IT support to small and medium-sized businesses, plus varying support plans customised to your needs. You can choose to have dedicated ongoing management or ad hoc support when required. Then, a dedicated specialist will follow you through the process.
The Tekkie Help team is highly experienced and can assist with everything from technical support (such as software troubleshooting and repairs) and advice on how to use certain technology, to improving your operations, and setting you up with the necessary infrastructure and systems to run your business.
Starting from scratch? They’re also able to source computers and other equipment at good prices. With Tekkie Help managing everything, you won’t need to juggle contacting and communicating with different vendors. Instead, you can focus on starting and running your new business.
#4 Branding your company
When starting a company, branding is vital to creating a strong connection with your targeted customers. Your brand is a genuine representation of who you are, explains family lawyer Sarah-Mae Thomas. She knows first-hand just how crucial branding can be for an entrepreneur or new business. In addition to running her own boutique law firm, she’s an avid podcaster who runs Singapore’s first legal podcast to be hosted by a lawyer; these two pursuits took a whole lot of marketing herself, what she has to offer and how she stands out from competitors.
Her advice? When starting a business, focus your time and resources on marketing platforms that work exceptionally well for you. “Be the ultimate influencer of your business by unlocking its potential and endless possibilities. But, don’t oversell yourself – and stay grounded,” she says. “As you start something, you will soon realise that one thing will lead to the next. Don’t bite off too much at once. Just try to do a few things, or even one thing, well. Then, you can level up.”
Additionally, Sarah-Mae suggests “reverse mentoring”. This means reaching out to more junior business professionals to share skills and start building your “tribe.”
#5 Hiring employees and applying for work passes
First, you’ll have to incorporate your business in Singapore (more on that later!). Once you’ve done that and have the requisite licences, you can then apply for a Work Pass – a visa that allows foreigners to work in Singapore. This is where a company like White Glove proves invaluable. They are a full-service employment agency that can process any type of work pass offered by the MOM. This includes Employment Passes (EPs), Dependent Passes (DPs), S-Passes, Work Permits, Long Term Visit Passes (LTVPs), Entrepreneur Passes (EntrePass) and, in some cases, a TechPass if you’ve got a tech start-up. Whether you’re looking to hire workers from Malaysia on work permits, or executives and engineers to work in Singapore from overseas on EPs, White Glove can help make the process as smooth as possible.
For a start-up company looking to establish a location in Singapore, White Glove can handle the entire application process with the MOM. Working with a team that understands small businesses and MOM requirements can help set your application apart from the rest. Of course, while it’s always up to the MOM as to whether your application will be approved, White Glove can advise you on all the requirements and present the best possible application on your behalf. Doing so can ensure that the MOM understands your hiring needs clearly and can make a well-informed decision on your manpower.
#6 Business incorporation for setting up a company
Legal firms such as Consilium Law Corporation are able to guide you through the process of getting your company incorporated in Singapore. You will first need to provide them with some details. This includes the proposed name of your company, the particulars of the directors and shareholders, whether you need assistance setting up the company’s bank account, who your employees will be, your registered office address, type of constitution and paid-up capital.
The firm will also review supporting documents and advise whether you require any licenses and approvals from government agencies to carry out your business activities. If required, they can recommend providers for sourcing a local nominee director, and for accounts, payroll, tax and corporate secretarial services. Consilium Law Corporation will carry out the company incorporation on your behalf and keep you updated throughout the process. They’ll also be on hand to answer any other legal questions you may have. If necessary, they can also help you apply for CorpPass and Employment Pass online accounts, work visas for foreign employees and draft employment contracts. All of this is very time-consuming when you’re starting a businesss.
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