So you want to start your own online business in Singapore but you don’t know how? Well, I’m here to help!
Before we jump into the steps needed to start your own online business in Singapore, I want you to think about your why. Why do you want to start an online business? If the reason is that you think your business can give you money, think deeper.
Your ‘why’ can be because you want your business to support your children or your parents, you want to experience the ‘rich’ life, you want a new car, a new Gucci bag. Whatever your reason for starting an online business in Singapore is, it better be a strong one.
Let’s be real. I’m not trying to kill your dreams or demotivate you but starting an online business in Singapore is not easy. In fact, your business will fail at some point. You will face hardships at some point. You will feel like giving up on your business at some point. This is why your ‘WHY’ is important.
Please figure out your ‘WHY’ before reading the rest.
Now if you are still reading this article, it means that you are serious about starting your online business here in Singapore. Good! Here are 8 very, very difficult steps to start your online business in Singapore.
Pretty self-explanatory isn’t it? But there’s so much more to it. Every business sells something, it can be a service or a product. But what kind of services or products should your business sell online?
Let’s start with selling a service. If you have any skills (such as building a website, copywriting, making a logo), anything at all, you can easily monetize and create an online business selling your services. Do ensure that your services are relevant here in Singapore.
Or if you don’t think you possess any skills that are worth setting up a business around, you can easily do drop-servicing. Don’t know what that is? It’s basically out-sourcing the services you sell to a professional and keeping the profits.
If you don’t want your business to be service based, how about starting an online business selling products? You can either sell handmade products or products that are already in the market.
I’m sure you are clueless and lost on what kind of products to sell for your business. Here’s some questions that you can ask yourself that will help you find the perfect winning product for your online business.
Problem solving products are great to start your business with as they are easier to sell. Why? Because they solve a problem. Duhh.
Want an example? If you do some kind of sport or go to the gym, you probably own a massage gun or heard about it before. Well, that is a problem solving product and look at how popular it is.
Compare these 2 products. A normal water bottle vs a portable blender bottle. Which product will you be more interested in? Exactly.
there is no point selling a product if there’s no one buying it. End of Story.
Here is a FREE tool that you can use to find out if the product you are planning to sell for your online business has demand. It’s called google trends.
Your product has to be relevant to the Singapore market. Always keep in mind Singapore. Singapore. Singapore. A thick jacket won’t sell very well here in Singapore, would it?
To put it simply, will your target audience think that the product is of high quality? If your product has a high perceived value, it makes it easier for your customers to pull the trigger and most importantly, you can sell your products for a higher price, giving you a higher profit margin for your business.
Once again, compare the massage gun to a cat comb. Which product has a higher perceived value? I think you know the clear answer.
Well, you are selling this product and starting a business around it. You have to be interested in it. In my opinion, that is how you stay motivated.
If you are still unsure on what to sell, just go to your favorite social media platform and look at the advertisements. If they are spending money on ads, what does that mean? Well it means that they are earning money too. Take their products as an inspiration for your online business.
HEY, DON’T RUSH THIS! I know you are excited to start your online business. However, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP. With the wrong product or service, it will make your life more difficult. Now, once you’ve picked your product or service, let’s move on to step 2.
And by research I don’t just mean find out who’s interested in your products. I mean RESEARCH. Go in depth and find out everything about your target audience. Their demographics (age, income, gender, education, employment etc.), what their interests are, what platforms do they use, their language, what benefits are they looking for and more. Come up with a customer avatar for your online business.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. REMEMBER, THIS IS YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS. REMIND YOURSELF OF YOUR WHY
This is no easy task. It can take you days to complete. That’s why you have to keep reminding yourself of your ‘why’.
Here’s a very brief example of why it is so important to do your research. Let’s use the portable blender as an example.
Someone who loves to make a healthy drink on the go. Means that they are probably too busy to blend it at home. Moms? Office Workers? Students?
Women would be more interested in this product compared to men
Convenience! Show that this is a better alternative than buying smoothies from shops.
Since my target audience ages range from 18-35, most of them would be using social media. Can use influencers or even Instagram pages.
Yoga, Health, Food, Smoothies etc.
Once again, this is just a very brief example. YOUR RESEARCH SHOULD BE WAY MORE IN DEPTH.
Do you still want to start your online business? If you are already thinking “this is a lot of work”, well it’s only the beginning. Like I mentioned, these are very very difficult steps. But hey, think about your ‘why’. Okay let’s move on to step 3.
This is where the fun really begins. Once you’ve found what your business is going to sell, and what kind of audience you want to target for your business, it’s time to figure out how you are going to get them to give you their money.
Product Images, Videos, Product Description, Social Media. These are the few things that you need to create for your online business.
If you are really passionate and excited about your online business, you will enjoy this process. Of course you can outsource this step and hire someone to do it for you. It’s totally up to you.
At the end of the day, it’s your business. However, just a tip, when outsourcing this step, do give detailed steps and information on what you want.
For product images, it is best if u have a combination of your product on a white background and also your product being used. This is so that your target audience can visualize them using it which will be more beneficial for your business. Singaporeans will feel more connected if they see a background that is in Singapore, so try and incorporate that into your lifestyle photos.
For product descriptions, don’t just talk about the features of your business. Nobody cares. Talk about how your business can help them. The benefits of your product. Why do they need it? Remember, your job is to convince them to give you their hard-earned money, and they will only do so if they think the value of your product is more than the cost.
Make your product description readable and skimmable. Here’s the truth, humans now have an attention span less than a goldfish. A GOLDFISH. It is difficult to keep them hooked long enough that they decide to purchase from your business. Make sure your content is skimmable and relevant to Singaporeans. Look at this article for example, all the steps are in larger fonts and they mention exactly what the step is going to be. Implement that for your online business.
Here’s a very good book that you can read to learn about marketing. It’s called Ca$hvertising.
If you are at this step, I’d like to applaud you. Keep going! You are doing amazing.
Now, you need to find the correct platform to launch your business. And since it’s an online business, it has to be online.
Many businesses in Singapore find success selling their products on marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada or even Facebook Marketplace. I’m not saying this is a bad option but it certainly depends on your product and what you want to achieve with your business.
What does that mean? Well, if your product is popular on Shopee and Lazada, go ahead and set up your business on those online platforms. There are limitations to that however. You are limited to what you can do on those online platforms that will prevent your business from thriving.
Now, imagine this. You have your own website. How professional is that? You can fully customize everything about your website. Your business’s story, your beautiful images, your contents. Everything is customized to your liking. That is if you have a good web designer and developer. (That’s me, hahaha). You can find out more about my services and how it will benefit your online business by visiting my web design website.
However, it’s totally up to you. You can even run your business on those online platforms in the beginning to see how it sells and then invest in a website.
f you are selling services, there’s a chance that you might not need a supplier. However, if your online business is based on selling products, you NEED a quality supplier. I can’t emphasize this enough.
YOU NEED A QUALITY SUPPLIER.
Quality suppliers does not only mean that the products are of high quality. It also means that their prices are good. It also means that they reply to you quickly. It also means that they have a good relationship with you. It also means that they are truthful with you.
Finding a quality supplier is not that difficult but it is essential for your online business. They are the ones who provide the products for goodness sakes. Don’t take shortcuts. Talk to them. Build a business relationship with them. Become their friends. And don’t just talk to ONE supplier, talk to TEN of them and find the perfect one that suits your business.
Don’t be afraid to find suppliers from China. I know that there is a stereotype regarding products from China being low quality. Well, that’s false. In fact most of the things you use everyday are made in China.
You can use platforms such as Aliexpress, Alibaba or even CJDropshipping to find suppliers for your online business.
If you are making your own products, you would also need suppliers to supply the necessary materials. Befriend them. Who knows, they might give you a discount.
Here we go. This is the most difficult step. Marketing. What is marketing? To put it simply, you have your products, you have your website or online platform, you have your supplier and you know who you are going to sell to.
Now you need to figure out HOW you are going to sell it to them.
Well there are countless ways on how you can market your online business, both paid or organic. Let’s go through both of them.
First, we will talk about paid methods to market your business. Some examples are advertisements and influencers. Before you throw money into any of these methods, please do some research and UNDERSTAND HOW THEY WORK. If you don’t, you will just be flushing your money down the toilet.
What are paid advertisements? Whenever you scroll through your Instagram story or Facebook or even watch a YouTube video, there are ads, correct? Those are paid ads. How can you launch ads? First you need a Facebook account and then you can visit Facebook business.
However, before you do any of that, please please do your research. I’m begging you to do your research. Like I said, starting your online business requires a lot of time and effort. This is one of the most important skills you need to learn. There are many YouTube videos out there for you to watch. Go and watch them.
Now for influencers. Depending on your business, this can be a very viable option. In a nutshell, what influencer marketing means is that you pay an influencer to promote your business and they will promote it. Sounds easy right? Nope. They are a pain in the a** and they can be quite expensive depending on how big they are and their agency. Here are some tips:
Let’s use the massage gun as an example. Would you reach out to a food influencer or a body-building influencer? Exactly.
Also, ensure that most of your influencer’s audience are from Singapore
We know that you are probably excited to tell them about your business and how you think they are the perfect fit for your business but to be honest, they don’t care.
Instead, just start with ‘BUSINESS RELATED! Hey we are looking for influencers to promote our business. Let us know if you are interested!” Short and sweet.
This normally works more for smaller influencers. Ask them to be an affiliate of your business. This means that you offer them a percentage of the profit you earn from each sale that came from them.
This is a great method if you don’t have any capital to start your online business with.
Most influencers won’t get back to you. That is the harsh reality. They are too busy. Just keep reaching out to a lot of influencers and eventually one will reply to you.
Now let’s move on to organic traffic to market your online business. These are methods that don’t require any money. Some examples would be social media and SEO.
Let’s talk about social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok. Post your contents on all of those social media. Get your online business name out there. Post the product in use. Use hashtags to gain more traffic. There are many ways you can get your online business out there without paying. You just have to know how. That is why I say do your RESEARCH.
A good example of a Singapore business using TikTok to market their product is Transverse. You can look them up and learn from them.
Next, SEO. This is basically Google. If you are reading this article, there is a high chance that you searched up “How to start an online business in Singapore” or something related to it. Getting your business ranked high up on google will guarantee you visitors.
For example, if you are ranked #1 on Google with the keywords “portable blender”, when someone searches up “Portable blender in Singapore”, your website will be at the top of the page. That is another reason you should have your own website for your online business – so that you can rank #1 on Google.
You might be wondering how to rank #1 on Google. Well, do your RESEARCH. Or you can contact me to help you rank on Google.
There are many free and paid methods to market your online business. This is where most people fail. So do your research and find out what is the best.
It’s FINALLY time! You can launch your online business NOW! HOORAY!
How does it feel? Feels good doesn’t it. I hope you made it this far. It’s not the end though. It’s far from the end. In fact, you are only getting started with your online business. There’s so much more like data analysis, learning how to manage your funds, learning how to do a logbook.
Remember, your online business should be like your baby. It takes time to grow but remember to enjoy the process. And if you ever feel like giving up, look how far you’ve come and always remember your ‘WHY’.
Here’s a bonus step 8 just for you.
If your online business started successfully, amazing! However, you can’t stop there. You have to improve it by analyzing your data. Your CTR, your conversion rate, your bounce rate and many other things and optimize them. Don’t know how to? RESEARCH!
If your online business didn’t turn out how you wanted it to, don’t give up. Analyze your data and see where you went wrong and how you can improve. If you need any help, just let me know by dropping us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we would be more than happy to help!
Remember, ALWAYS THINK ABOUT YOUR ‘WHY’.
That is my 8 Steps on ‘How To Start Your Online Business in Singapore’. Trust me, it won’t be easy. You will feel like giving up. However, if it was easy, everybody would be a millionaire by now.
All the Best! And remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Take Care!