You’ve progressively adumbrated a brilliant idea in your quiescent mind. But you’ve mostly spoken lightly about it because while you can foresee the benefice, you’re not sure how much you’re going to need from the get-go.
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Well, guess what? It’s 2018, and the buzzword of the year seems to be disruption.
From the way we travel to the way we work, we’re talking about digital technologies changing life in every way possible. The digital age purports a bright future full of opportunities – and it is an exceptionally apt time for aspiring entrepreneurs to steer the wheels of disruption to their advantage.
Of course, even with the all right tools in all the right places, you’re going to need numbers. I’m talking about the dollars and cents that are going to determine if your idea remains in fleeting thoughts or translated onto paper and real results.
Before we go anywhere, I’d suggest reading up a couple of start-up guides. Check out the five recommended books to read before starting your business put together by online business resource hub Entrepreneur!
Image Source: Entrepreneur.com (Ken Dunn)
These are fees you, unfortunately, cannot avoid if you’re thinking of setting up a business here in Singapore.
As long as your business is intended for long-term profit making, you’re going to need to do is the register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). That would cost you S$315.
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Depending on the nature of you business, you should also consider other costs including permits, licenses or compliance costs, a website and domain name, and registering your intellectual property.
The good news is all these are one-time costs, which means they do not present as recurring bills so it’d give you a good idea of how much you need minimally to start a business.
Once you register your business, it’s official. Any business, regardless of size, is a long-term commitment so before you plunge into the black-and-white, explore these sources for a breakdown of funds you’re going to need:
1. Are you franchising?
If your idea has already been established by a reputable brand, franchising is a great option. An in-depth discussion with the franchisor will likely give you lots of insight about start-up costs but don’t take these numbers as absolute. Your actual budget would definitely vary by a margin taking into account the location of your business, among other factors.
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2. How niche is the market you’re breaking into?
Truth is, many new ventures today improvise existing business models to fill the gaps that current business failed to fill. What was a particularly niche market some 50 years ago could well be saturated today. But that also means you’re able to find entrepreneurs who own businesses similar to the one you’ve got on hand. Chances are, your future competitors wouldn’t want to assist you but you can always research outside of geographical location.
3. Do you require supplies?
Get on the phone and approach several suppliers. It’s okay to be forthcoming and tell them you’re intending to start a business. These suppliers will be equally forthcoming because they want to earn money from you. When you’re on the phone with a supplier, ask about working capital loan, equipment leasing, bulk-buying discounts, credit terms, inventory packages and other options that might lower your upfront costs.
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Don’t ever be in a hurry to settle for the first few suppliers you contact, though. Aim to do some price comparison – that could make significance differences in your start-up costs!
4. Are you going to need a workspace?
If your business is retail-based, you might need a warehouse to store your stocks and possibly a physical storefront for retail operations. Rental leases will always demand at least two month’s payment as soon as you sign the agreement. Depending on how fast your business turns over, it is advisable to set aside at least four months of rental from the get-go.
If you don’t require a storage space or a physical space but a simple workstation, options are aplenty! In order for your business to flourish while working from home, you need to demonstrate the same kind of discipline you would with an office job ie. waking up at 6am, starting work at 8am, and actually working the full eight and a half hours. If you already know you won’t be able to commit that way, consider co-working spaces (JustCo, the Hive, The Working Capitol, etc).
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If you don’t require a regular workstation, you can definitely cut costs by making use of public space (e.g. libraries, cafes)!
5. How big is your team going to be?
No one is a one-man island so you’re probably going to need some extra helping hands. But what kind of helping hands do you need? Realistically speaking, different expertise will command different pay grades. Thankfully, with digital disruption, we’re looking at an age with undefined job roles so while one person is equipped with various skills you’re looking for, you must not forget the basic benefits (annual leave, medical leave, hospitalization, etc) employees are entitled to. Don’t forget their CPF contribution as well!
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Give it some detailed thought. Your budget will shift according to how big your team is expected to be.
With all these numbers here there everywhere, it’s definitely a great idea to fall back on the good ol’ Excel to help you forecast your cash flow for your first 12 months of business.
Do not be disheartened to find that you’re going to end up in deficit. It’s normal to operate at a loss when you first start, which is why this spreadsheet will give you a good idea how much you’ll need in reserve to sustain during this period.