How to Start a Business in Singapore: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to start a business in singapore

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Ever dreamt of starting your own business in a country renowned for its stable political environment, strategic location, and booming economy?

Singapore, ranked as one of the easiest places to do business, might just be the ideal place to transform your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

If you’re wondering how to start a business in Singapore, you’ll find that the process is straightforward and well-supported by the government.


  • Prepare carefully and develop a detailed strategy for success.

  • Assess readiness, understand legal obligations, and research market & customer needs.

  • Consider business structure options & secure office location before registering company and opening bank account.

Preparing for Business in Singapore

Starting a business in Singapore involves a lot more than just a brilliant business idea and capital.

It demands a thorough understanding of your readiness and a comprehensive strategy for your Singapore business.

Ever wondered why some businesses in Singapore soar while others stumble? The secret lies in meticulous preparation.

Assessing your readiness

Before you dive into the world of entrepreneurship, it’s essential to assess your readiness.

After all, launching a business isn’t for the faint-hearted.

It’s a journey filled with risks, challenges, and uncertainties. Are you driven by the ambition to realize a business concept?

Do you possess a strong enthusiasm for entrepreneurship?

If yes, you might just be ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in Singapore.

However, if your motivation stems from dissatisfaction with your current job or a desire to increase earnings, you might want to reconsider.

Operating a small business isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

It requires perseverance, patience, and a great deal of hard work.

Market research and strategy development

Once you’ve assessed your readiness, the next step is to conduct market research and develop a solid strategy.

This is where you dissect your business idea and examine its viability.

You can start by examining industry reports, scrutinizing competitors, and employing techniques such as surveys, interviews, and customer observation.

After all, understanding your market is the key to developing a strategy that strikes a chord with your target audience.

A business plan is another crucial element in your preparation phase.

This document is your roadmap to success.

It outlines your business goals, strategies for achieving them, potential challenges, and ways to overcome them.

Think of it as a blueprint that guides your company’s growth.

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Choosing the right business structure is like choosing the foundation for your house.

It’s a decision that affects your legal obligations, taxes, and even your business’s image.

In Singapore, you have three options to choose from: sole proprietorship, partnership, or private limited company.

But how do you know which one is the right fit for you?

Let’s dive into each of these structures and see what they entail, their pros, cons, and requirements.

This will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business model and goals.

Sole Proprietorship

Imagine being the captain of your ship, with no one else to share the responsibility.

That’s what being a sole proprietor is like.

In this structure, you are the sole owner and manager of the business.

It’s straightforward to establish and manage, and it’s comparatively low-cost. Sounds like a dream, right?

However, every coin has two sides.

As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for all liabilities and obligations of the business.

This means that if your business incurs debts, your personal assets could be at risk.

Furthermore, to establish a sole proprietorship in Singapore, you must be at least 18 years old and a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, in addition to possessing a valid Singapore address.


If you’re not keen on going solo and prefer sharing the responsibilities of running a business, a partnership might be the right choice.

Partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals.

Each individual enjoys economic benefit and has the responsibility of managing different areas of the business.

Think of it as a team sport where each player brings unique skills and resources to the table.

However, in a partnership, there is no legal differentiation between individuals and businesses.

This means that each partner is personally liable for the partnership’s debts.

Moreover, any partner can terminate the partnership at any point.

So, it’s crucial to choose your partners wisely and have a clear agreement in place.

Private Limited Company

If you’re looking for a business structure that offers limited liability, tax advantages, and a more professional appearance, a private limited company fits the bill.

It’s the most widely used form of business entity in Singapore. Here, the company is a separate legal entity from its owners.

So, your personal assets are safe even if the company incurs debts.

While the advantages of a private limited company are appealing, it does come with its share of requirements.

For instance, it’s necessary that at least one of the company directors be a Singapore resident.

Also, you’ll need to appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation.

Despite the added compliance and administration, many entrepreneurs find the benefits worth the effort.

Registering Your Singapore Company

Now that you’re armed with your business plan and chosen a suitable business structure, it’s time to make your business official by completing the business registration process.

In Singapore, this process is handled by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) via BizFile.

The first step is to reserve a unique business name.

It’s like choosing a name for your child, but in the corporate world.

The name should be distinct from any other business for successful Singapore company registration.

Once your name is approved, you’ll need to specify your business activity using the SSIC code.

Lastly, you’ll need to provide a local registered address.

Remember, PO boxes are not acceptable as a registered business address in Singapore.

Opening a Corporate Bank Account

With your business officially registered, it’s time to open a business bank account, also known as a corporate bank account.

This is crucial for managing your business finances separately from your personal finances.

But with a plethora of financial institutions in Singapore offering different fees and services, how do you choose the right one for your business bank accounts?

Start by comparing the monthly maintenance fee, minimum initial deposit, and minimum balance requirements of various banks.

We also recommend considering online options like Wise Business, which offers local SGD bank details for your business and several other features at no additional cost.

Securing an Office Location

Just as a house needs a solid foundation, your business needs a solid base – an office location.

In Singapore, you have various options to choose from.

You can go for a virtual address, a home office, a rented office space, or a co-working space.

Choosing an office location is more than just finding a place to set up your desk.

It’s about finding a space that suits your business needs, fits your budget, and gives the right impression to your clients.

Commercial property portals such as Commercial Guru,, and FlySpaces can be great resources to start your search.

Hiring and Compliance

Hiring employees is a significant step for any business.

But it’s not just about finding the right people.

It’s also about understanding and complying with local labor laws.

In Singapore, this includes understanding CPF contributions, work injury compensation insurance, and regulations for hiring foreign workers.

Before you start hiring, you’ll need to obtain a Central Provident Fund (CPF) submission number.

Also, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the Employment Act, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.

Remember, compliance is not just about ticking boxes; it’s about promoting a fair and safe working environment.

Navigating Tax Obligations

Running a business isn’t just about making profits; it’s also about meeting your tax obligations, including services tax.

In Singapore, different tax rates and reporting processes apply to different business structures.

For example, the corporate tax rate for a new business in Singapore is approximately 4.25% on the first S$100,000.

Understanding your tax obligations can be complex, especially if you’re new to the business world.

That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about these obligations or seek professional advice.

Remember, staying compliant with your tax obligations is not only a legal requirement, but also a mark of a responsible business.

Government Support and Funding Options

Starting a business requires capital.

While personal savings or loans are common sources of funding, it’s worth exploring government support and funding options provided by government agencies.

In Singapore, the government offers grants, loans, and tax incentives for innovative ideas and industries.

These funding options can give your business a significant financial boost, especially in the early stages.

For instance, grants can help you cover startup costs, while loans can provide the working capital you need to get your business off the ground.

Moreover, tax incentives can lower your tax bill, giving you more money to reinvest in your business.

Starting a Business as a Foreigner

If you’re a foreigner looking to start a business in Singapore, you might be wondering if it’s possible.

The answer is a resounding yes.

You can either appoint a local representative, become a legal resident, or use a nominee director service.

Additionally, you can open a multi-currency account online with Wise Business for local SGD bank details. This can save you the hassle of applying for a bank account as a foreigner.

Overall, starting a business as a foreigner in Singapore might require a few extra steps, but with the right guidance, it’s entirely feasible.


Starting a business in Singapore is an exciting journey filled with opportunities.

From preparing for your business venture, choosing the right business structure, to navigating through registration, taxes, and compliance – each step brings you closer to transforming your dream into reality.

With the wealth of government support and funding options, even foreigners can tap into the potential of Singapore’s thriving business landscape.

If you need help with marketing, check out our SEO services for Singapore businesses.

So, are you ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in Singapore?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to start a business in Singapore?

To open a business in Singapore, you’ll need a local registered address, a corporate secretary, shareholder, and resident director, as well as at least $1 of paid-up capital.

These requirements are necessary to ensure that the business is compliant with Singapore’s laws and regulations.

Additionally, you’ll need to register the business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Once registered, you’ll be able to open a corporate bank account and start operating your business.

How can I start my own business from home in Singapore?

To start a business from home in Singapore, allocate a place in the house as your office, set up furniture, connect devices and ensure good internet connection, and prepare a thorough business plan.

Additionally, determine a suitable home business scheme and understand related provisions and guidelines, select a business structure, choose a business address and reserve a name, and get the necessary licenses and permits.

Examples of permitted activities include food business, hairdressing, private tuition, sewing services, and freelance work as an artist, journalist, photographer or writer.

What business can I start with 20K in Singapore?

With a budget of $20K, starting a business in Singapore can be a great investment.

Popular options include food catering, pet services, tutoring, online retail, and event planning.

Each of these has the potential to generate returns with your limited capital.

How to start a business?

Taking the time to research and plan your business is essential for success.

Consider the type of business you want to start, the products or services you will offer, and the target market you want to reach.

Research the competition and the industry to determine the best way to differentiate your business.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do.

How do I register my company in Singapore?

Registering your company in Singapore can be easily done with ACRA via BizFile.

Be sure to reserve a unique business name and specify your business activity using the SSIC code.

It is important to ensure that the business name is unique and that the SSIC code accurately reflects the business activity.

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Jaden is the CMO and SEO lead at Traffv. With over 10 years of marketing experience, he has worked with renowned MNCs and his work has been featured in outlets like Hubspot and International Business Times.
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