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Table of Contents
- Introduction to starting a business in Singapore
- Benefits and challenges of starting a business
- Ideas for starting a business in Singapore
- Types of online business to consider
- How to start an online business
Introduction to starting a business in Singapore
Some of you may have heard about The Great Resignation where more employees are resigning from their jobs than a year ago. The primary reason why this is happening is mainly because of the following reasons:.
- Pay was too low
- No work life balance
- No opportunities for advancement
- Toxic work environment
These are just some of the reasons why people are resigning from their jobs.
As a corporate employee for 18 years, I would strongly encourage everyone to consider starting a business.
Benefits and challenges of starting a business
Though this blog post is about starting a business in Singapore, it is applicable to anywhere who is reading this from around the world. Let me share with you what are the benefits and challenges of starting a business.
- Your results are in total correspondence to your efforts
- There is no ceiling to how much you can earn
- The possibility of passing down the business to your kids
- If the business doesn’t work out, you may end up in debts
- Putting all the time in the business with no time for the family
- The moment you stop, your business stops
Therefore, my suggestion for starting a business is always to consider starting an online business.
Simply because of the following benefits.
Benefits of starting an online business
- Low investment amount, you can start an online business with $100
- No geographical boundaries for you to expand your business
- Business on the move and you can still travel while building your business
Let me go through with you what you need to know on how to start an online business.
Ideas for starting a business
Brainstorming for ideas is one of the most challenging part in starting an online business. Most of the time, we are completely clueless on what to do and if there is a demand in the market.
To begin with, you can start to explore what is it that you are passionate about? Is there something that you are extremely passionate about and that you do not mind doing it for free?
If you do not have an idea, you can also find out from Niche Hacks what are the possible niches that you can explore.
Image from Niche Hacks
There are more than 2000 niches for you to choose from and bear in mind that it need not be a perfect idea. You may have to go through several niches before you can find one that works for you.
What is more important is to start first! The mistake that most entrepreneurs make is they are always contemplating and searching for the right business to start. You may never know what would be the right business for you until you get started.
Once you have identified a certain niche that you want to start, the next thing is to figure out what is it people are searching for pertaining to that niche.
There are tools for you to use as well to find out what people are searching for and I would recommend the following 2.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public is an excellent tool for you to do your research on what people are searching for on Google pertaining to your niche. You can potentially discover an untapped gold mine of content for your niche.
Based on the tool, you can develop your content or even a product to cater to your target audience.
Do head on to www.answerthepublic.com to explore on your niches.
Topic Mojo is similar to Answer The Public and on top of identifying what people are searching for on Google, it can display the results from social media what people are searching for.
With both of these tools, you can dive deep into the niche and develop your product, content and marketing strategy.
Dan Kennedy, one of the marketing guru, has said that the riches are in the niches and it’s illustrated in the following example:
Time management program – $19
Time management program for sales – $99
Time management program for door to door sales – $499
Time management program for door to door sales of power tools – $1999
The more you are able to dive deep into your niche, the more your target audience will feel understood.
Do head on to www.topicmojo.com to do your research for content on your niches.
Once you have identified the niche, you will need to do your research if there is a demand for the product or service that you intend to market.
If there isn’t a demand or a hungry market, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, no one will buy.
A marketing professor once asked his students:
“If you were going to open a hotdog stand, and you could only have one advantage over your competitors, which would it be?”
“Location!…Quality!…Low prices!…Best taste!”
The students kept going until eventually they had run out of answers. They looked at each other waiting for the professor to speak and the professor smiled and replied:
“A starving crowd!”
You could have worst product or service but if you have a starving crowd for your product or service, you are going to succeed!
How do you know if there is a demand for your product or service? This is when you need to use a software to track.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free software for you to research your keywords. It is especially useful when you are new so that you do not go head on to a seemingly big market but extremely competitive.
For example, if I intend to start a coaching business, I can check on Google Keyword Planner to see if there are more people searching for business coaching or life coaching. Both are in the similar genre and I can determine what would be easier for me to target. At the same time, if there is no demand for any of my product and service based on the search results, I can move on to other niches.
Log in to your Google account and head to Google Keyword Planner to do your research.
Ranktracker is a paid subscription software similar to Google Keyword Planner.
Besides researching your keywords, it analyses the competition, check and monitor backlinks and track your search engine ranking – all with a single, powerful platform. Rank tracker harnesses world-class data sources to help you get ahead in SEO, whether you’re a small startup or a large agency.
I personally uses Ranktracker to determine what product or service that I want to market revolving around certain keywords.
Go ahead and check out www.ranktracker.com to do your research.
Types of online business
There are primarily 2 types of online business a newbie can consider.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the promotion of other people’s products or services and you earn a certain percentage of commission for every sale.
This is based on revenue sharing between the vendor and yourself and works well especially if you are new to online marketing and you don’t have a product yet to market.
In time to come, when you have your own products and would like to sell more, you too can then start to recruit affiliates and provide a commission for other affiliate marketers to promote your products.
The majority of people that have started an online business, have started in affiliate marketing one way or another.
Let’s talk about the parties involved in affiliate marketing.
Typically, there are 3 – 4 parties involved in the process. It’s often the Merchant, the Affiliate, the Consumer and the Network.
The merchant is sometimes known as the product creator, seller, a brand or the vendor. It can also be a single individual
that has their products, services or courses for sale.
From solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, anyone could be the merchant behind an affiliate marketing program.
They may not be the ones actively promoting the product as their focus is to create a product and leave the marketing to the affiliate marketers.
The affiliate is the individual who promotes the product and can earn anything from a few dollars to thousands and thousands of dollars.
The difference between the two is where the marketing magic happens.
A low-level income affiliate could be promoting a product with just a link.
On the other hand, a high-level income affiliate could do so by running a review blog of the merchant’s products. They could also be running an entire website on the discovery of ‘new and cool’ products related to a certain niche and promote them.
The customer or consumer are the ones that make the affiliate system possible. Without any sales, there would be no revenue generated and hence, no commissions handed out.
Some people consider the network as part of the affiliate marketing equation. More often than not, the network works as an intermediary between the affiliate and the merchant.
An example is ‘Clickbank’, where they focus on digital products or services for the customer.
Though I do not promote products through Clickbank, if you want to learn about affiliate marketing promoting products from Clickbank, you can check out Spark by Clickbank.
E-Commerce With Your Own Store
E-Commerce with dropshipping used to be very popular.
Dropshipping is when an online store doesn’t keep an inventory of the product it sells and the fulfilment is done by a third party ONLY when the product is sold.
The advantage of this is that the merchant is not required to keep a massive amount of stocks or inventory, and only purchases the product as and when a sale is made to fulfil the delivery.
This model definitely has its own benefits and challenges as well.
1. Low Capital
The advantage of dropshipping is that it’s possible to launch an e-commerce store without having to invest huge amounts of money for inventory.
Traditional retailers would normally have to invest a large capital for huge amounts of inventory.
However, with dropshipping, you only purchase a product when the sale is made and paid for by the customer.
As such, since stocking up on inventory is not required, it is definitely possible for one to start a dropshipping business
without boatloads of cash.
2. Ease of Getting Started
When you don’t have to fret about dealing with physical products, running an e-commerce business gets much, much simpler.
Here’s why, you don’t have to worry about:
● Cost of rental of a warehouse
● Packing and shipping your orders
● Keeping track of inventory
● Handling returns and inbound shipments
● Manage inventory level of product
3. Ease Of Scaling
As for traditional businesses, you will have to do twice the work to receive twice the amount of business. Leveraging on the suppliers, most of the work to process the orders will be taken care of by the suppliers.
As such, it allows you to expand with fewer pains and an incremental workload.
The biggest challenge of dropshipping is the long delivery time as well as the product quality. As most of the suppliers are from China, some of the quality may not be as good and there is a long delivery time for the fulfilment. At the same time, you could also be selling a “me-too” product that is commonly sold in the market.
If you want to succeed in this business model, you got to start considering building your own brand name and source for a good quality supplier.
There are quite a number of e-commerce platforms that people are using and the main one is Shopify.
There is another e-commerce platform that you can consider besides Shopify.
It is called Dukaan.
It is an established e-commerce platform in India but not commonly used in the rest of the world. They are expanding their outreach to outside India right now.
I have some licenses from Dukaan and if you would like to try out e-commerce using Dukaan’s platform, drop me a comment below. If I still have some licenses left at the time when you are reading this, I can give it to you to try it out.
E-Commerce With Amazon FBA
Amazon, as we know, is the world’s biggest online retailer.
Amazon has a service called ‘FBA’, which stands for ‘Fulfilled By Amazon’.
If you start your e-commerce business with the Amazon FBA program, you can start to fulfil orders automatically by taking advantage of Amazon’s resources of shipping and delivery of products. At the same time, you can earn more sales from the lucrative Amazon Prime customers.
Similar to dropshipping, the merchant is never required to see or handle the shipping of the product.
The merchant is essentially in charge of sourcing a product, branding and sending it to Amazon. Amazon does all the fulfilment required when a customer orders the product.
1. Effortless Logistics and Shipping
The biggest advantage of fulfilment by Amazon is that you only take care of the shipping from your supplier to Amazon, the rest is done by Amazon (thus the name fulfilled by Amazon).
If you have ever managed fulfilment or delivery of your products, you will know that it can take up a lot of time. When you have higher sales, it will mean that you need to spend more time doing the packing and shipping, and even have to spend money outsourcing to others to do it.
2. Management of returns
Can you imagine if one customer wanted to return your product? Not a problem right? But what if 100s or even 1000s of customers are looking to return your product?
It quickly becomes a major headache and you’ll be scrambling to process the refunds.
With Amazon, everything is automated and all you have to do is to pay $0.50 to dispose of the returned item (Amazon will take care of the refund).
3. Amazon Prime
Part of what made Amazon into such a mighty giant was Amazon Prime.
With Amazon Prime, customers are given the satisfaction of having the item they purchased delivered in 2 days or less. This has made shopping on Amazon even easier and gives you a bigger audience to work with to sell your product.
4. Ready Buyers
Unlike Facebook Advertising, which is based on the theory of disruption-based marketing (having to first capture their attention, then push them through a funnel to make them ‘warm’), people on Amazon are at the last stage of the funnel, and are ready to purchase.
This means that your ads are more likely to convert and results in more sales, should you have a good listing.
The biggest challenge of starting an e-commerce business with Amazon is the competition.
Most likely, someone is already selling the the product you are selling on Amazon.
If a customer search for a product on Amazon, it is in Amazon’s interest to show the customer the products similar to yours.
More often than not, the customer will buy the product that has more sales and reviews as compared to you when you have just started.
How to start an online business
Starting an online business in Singapore or anywhere else in the world is very simple. You just need to do the following 2 steps to start your online business.
- Register a domain
- Decide on a Content Management System
Register A Domain
A domain is the address of your website. There are many domain registrars available and the one I only used is Name Cheap.
The reason why I use Name Cheap is because it includes a domain privacy. A domain privacy is when people search for your domain, they would not know you are the owner of the domain.
I think it is important to keep a low profile when you are starting out on your online business while still keeping your full time job so that your colleagues do not know who is the one behind that website.
You can check www.namecheap.com to see if the domains you want are available. If you are not sure what domain should you get, you can always start with getting your domain with your name like I did.
Content Management System
Whenever we talked about Content Management System or CMS, most of us would associate with hosting our own domain with WordPress. WordPress was one of the oldest CMS available and it’s certainly the best for corporations who are engaging designers to design the website for them.
What you are seeing on this blog is also a domain that is installed with WordPress hosted with a company called Siteground. However, if you want to host your domain or website on WordPress, you will need to invest the following:
- Hosting services costing about $180 for 1 website or $300 for multiple websites annually
- WordPress themes like Divi, Elementor or Oxygen costing between $129 one time to $99 per year
- Plugins to optimise your website
- Email service provider for blasting of emails $19 per month
For someone who is new to starting an online business, all these operating costs seems a bit too much to bear, especially not knowing how long it is going to take for one to see results.
Thankfully, these are all in the past and with the evolving of technology, there are all in one solution that you can leverage on.
The one that I have found recently and am very satisfied with is an all in one system that allows you to do the following:
- Landing page with a blog
- Payment service
- Email service provider
- Hosting of courses
- Affiliate management
When I saw what this all in one solution can do, I am extremely excited as I know that this will be the perfect solution for beginners who wants to know how to start an online business.
What is this all in one solution?
Introducing Systeme.io. The all in one solution that you need for marketing.
I have built a funnel (an online sales process) with this all in one solution and it’s impressive.
I believe that you have found this blog post beneficial and how it can help you learn about starting a business and more importantly, how to start an online business.
Do write in the comments below for any questions you may have and I will be delighted to share with you my experience.
To your online business journey success!