A Step-by-step Guide to Launching an Online Business in 2021 and Beyond

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The online business world started to gain traction a few years back, but the growth was slow. The pandemic pushed brick and mortar stores into a corner which led to a sped-up development of the digital model.

Entrepreneurship fascinates most individuals, but there are several complexities involved in getting an online business up and running. The myriad of decisions ranging from the core business activities to the ancillary ones makes it a tough nut to crack unless you have a guide to follow.

The barrage of questions can often push people into a world of uncertainty where they start losing their grip gradually. However, if you are serious about getting an online business running, this step-by-step guide can prove valuable for you. So let’s get going.

online business
Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

What is an online or e-commerce business?

E-commerce or online business is a form of digital endeavor that covers commercial transactions and activities taking place online. It includes B2C, B2B, C2C, and other business models. While it is difficult to categorize the kinds of businesses you can carry on via the digital model, dropshipping, private or white labeling, and wholesale is the most common preferences.

Why should you start an online business in Singapore?               

Singapore is inarguably one of the best places on the face of the earth to carry your business endeavors. The year 2021 is expected to see revenues in the e-commerce space in Singapore crossing USD 3,188 million

Furthermore, the landscape is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% to reach a projected market value of USD 4,666 million by 2025, with a user base in excess of 4.1 million. User penetration is expected to increase to 67.2% by 2025 compared to 55.9% in 2021, with an ARPU (average revenue per user) of USD 966.6.  

The pandemic has had a significant effect on the business landscape globally, and Singapore was no different. So the Singapore government has been proactive in ensuring businesses get back to normal ASAP. 

They are addressing digital business challenges actively by introducing new policies and establishing robust infrastructure. As a result, it is on its way to becoming Southeast Asia’s ecommerce hub in the coming years.

Also read our article on “How to incorporate a company in Singapore?

Steps to starting your online business

Starting an online business in Singapore or anywhere in the world requires a lot of determination and results from solid decision-making with precise execution. It is imperative to know where to start and how to move forward in your endeavor.

So, we have assembled a blueprint that would give you an idea of how to shape your online business –

Choosing the products to sell

  • Finding the right products to sell

The first step is to find the basis of your online business. What is the product you think you can sell? The answer to it is one of the most challenging aspects of developing a new online business. 

For starters, we would suggest you start with only a handful of products. Even if you want to scale across product categories in the long run, it is imperative for you to have limited things to focus on when you begin. 

Click here to generate ideas for your online business with Oberlo.  

  • Evaluating the feasibility of the product

Now that you have product/s in mind that you want to start with, the next step is to evaluate if there is enough audience to buy them from you. To ascertain that, you can conduct social media surveys or use test markets to understand the feasibility. In addition, you can conduct social listening and competitive analysis to understand the existing demand. Another crucial aspect to remember is you cannot get everything perfect from the onset, and you will learn as you move forward.

Selecting a viable business model

  • Understanding the competition

Now that you have understood the feasibility of your idea, the next step is to conduct thorough research on your competition. Understanding your competitors would give you an insight into their strengths and possible weaknesses. 

In addition, it would allow you to shape your online business better and capitalize on the drawbacks to gain more customers.

  • Having a documented business plan

Once the research work is complete, the next step is to jot down your findings. Developing a business plan enables you to use it as a framework to gather all your ideas and thoughts and find ways to execute them. 

In addition, it allows you to determine tasks based on their priority and use them to scale effortlessly.

Setting up the business

  • Selecting a name

While naming has little to nothing to do with how your business shapes up, it is vital for your audience. For example, when we say Amazon, everyone knows that it is an e-commerce platform. 

If you say Apple, people know it is a technology giant. Similarly, naming conventions allow people to communicate with a brand in a better manner. 

We suggest you conduct a market analysis and come up with a unique name that is different from your competition, is easy to recollect, and is short and catchy. Whatever name you think suits best must be approved by ACRA.

  • Developing a logo

Now that you have a name for your online business, the next step is to find a logo. 

While most people fail to comprehend the aura of a simple logo and start by creating a sophisticated one, it is imperative to understand that it is a way to communicate with your audience and must be done in a clutter-free manner for maximum traction.

 Look at Amazon’s logo, and you can find inspiration for developing yours too.

  • Getting it registered

The next step for developing your online business is to register it as a legal entity in Singapore. 

Before you do so, it is vital for you to understand that getting a business registration underway involves a myriad of costs, and you need to have it sorted. You can use the funds you have or take loans to meet the upcoming expenses. 

Registering your business would ensure that your entity’s liability rests solely on it, and your personal finances won’t have a significant impact because of it.

  • Building your online presence

Now that you have your basics sorted, the next step is to begin developing your online presence.

It involves understanding SEO (search engine optimization) to enable you to optimize your online resources and supercharge your reach. In addition, it would also allow you to find more traffic and potential clients organically.

The next step is to build your store. 

With a clear and crisp understanding of SEO, you can now use it to create a site that people would love to visit and order items from. 

It involves getting many elements right together, such as a cheerful color palette for the pages and the website overall, optimized website structure, high-converting product pages with insane product descriptions, and captivating photography.

  • Choosing your sales channels

An online business doesn’t necessarily have to restrict itself to online sales channels only. For example, a brand like Xiaomi, which started as an online-only model in many countries, has a significant offline presence in most of them today. Your products and goals will influence the choice of the sales channel.

sales channels
Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash
  • Selecting an accounting partner for managing your financial records

Bookkeeping is an integral part of every business. So it is imperative for you to either hire an accounting team or outsource it to a capable third party for efficiently handling your business’ records. 

It would allow you to track, in real-time, all of your incomes and expenses and also save taxes. In addition, it would help you generate actionable insights to propel your business’ growth further.  

Preparing for launch

Now you have the basics sorted, it is where the actual game starts. The next step is to prepare for the launch of your online business. 

It involves defining what success means to you, determining your KPIs to track, understanding your potential customers, and how you want to market your brand. Developing a checklist is a great way to prepare your online business for launch.

Post-launch activities

  • Undertake cross-channel marketing to find potential customers

Even before your store is online, it is imperative for you to start marketing it. But once it does, you can now conjure innovative ways to reach out to customers, inform them of your existence and invite them into your sales funnel. 

In addition, you can use a plethora of channels available to develop a marketing strategy that works across each of them and help you generate a robust customer base over time.

  • Using analytics to garner actionable insights

Once you have a practical marketing framework in place, you can also use it to generate analytics that would help you improve your conversions and garner actionable insights to optimize the overall process.

Wrap up

With Singapore being one of the best places to start your online business, it is imperative for you to stop procrastinating and undertake the development process today. 

The ecommerce business is slated to gain spectacular growth, and with more people switching to online buying, the key is to start early and gain an early mover advantage.

For more information, reach out to us at Intime Accounting.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. While we endeavour to provide information that is as up-to-date as possible, Intime Accounting makes no warranties or representations of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the content on the blog for any purpose. Readers are encouraged to obtain formal, independent advice before making any decisions.

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