Did you know only 44% of entrepreneurs boast a college degree, and the rest have no formal qualifications?
These businesses range from food outlets and retail shops to technology start-ups. The most important thing is having a good idea that fills a need in the market. As long as you’ve got a plan and the drive to follow through, not having a degree shouldn’t stop you from entrepreneurial success here in Singapore.
While qualifications can help, many self-made entrepreneurs will tell you the essential things are ambition, enthusiasm, perseverance, and the ability to solve problems creatively. We’ve seen all kinds of people start and grow businesses in Singapore without fancy degrees, so don’t let not having qualifications stop you from chasing your goals.
In this brief piece, we’ll share some tips on how to start a business without a degree in Singapore. Sounds exciting? Let’s jump right in, then!
Figure Out Your Niche
A recent study indicated that 35% of new businesses fail because they picked an oversaturated niche with lots of competition. So, spend some time finding a market that really needs what you’re selling.
|Ask yourself||Could I honestly see myself doing this full-time? Would other people pay me for it? Are there any similar businesses already doing this?|
|Research your potential niche markets.||Check online forums, talk to potential customers, and study your local community.|
Once you’ve identified a few possible niche areas, evaluate them based on factors like:
|Market size||Is it large enough for growth potential but not too competitive?|
|Demand||Are enough potential customers waiting for such products or services?|
|Your skills||Do you have the necessary expertise, experience, and network to succeed in this niche?|
Pick the niche that scores the highest on these factors. Having a very specific focus from the beginning will help you develop the right marketing message, products, and strategies to target that market effectively.
Make A Business Plan
Studies show businesses with a predetermined plan have a 16% more chance to succeed than companies without one. So start by creating an overview of your business. This should include the following:
|Your mission statement||What does your business trying to achieve?|
|Your product or service||Define clearly what you’re offering.|
|Your target market||Research your target market size by considering the factors like interests, needs, and demographics.|
|Outline your marketing and sales plans||Will you use social media, websites, paid ads, partnerships, etc.?|
Then detail your operational plans, such as:
|Suppliers||Who will provide your goods, services, or resources?|
|Production processes||How will you make and deliver your product?|
|Key personnel||Will you outsource or hire people to help run things?|
And finally, estimate your financial plans, which may involve evaluating the below expenses:
|Start-up costs||What funds do you need to get started?|
|Operating expenses||What are your ongoing costs like rent, supplies, wages, etc.?|
|Sales projections||How much revenue do you estimate in the first 1-3 years?|
Having all these details written down will ensure you’ve thoroughly planned out the key elements needed for success before launching your business. Making a thoughtful plan is crucial, and you’ll save yourself from lots of troubles and missteps along the way.
Choose A Business Structure
40% of businesses in Singapore were registered as sole proprietorships in 2016. It’s the simplest form of incorporation, but owners are personally responsible. Other options you should consider include:
Partnerships – It is suited for businesses owned and run by more than one person. Profits and losses, as well as liability risks, are divided between partners based on agreement.
Private Limited Companies – This is a separate legal entity that limits owner liability. The owners are shareholders who vote for a board of directors to run the company, and these companies tend to have more formal setups. Private companies are more complex to frame but protect owners’ personal assets.
Each setup has implications for:
|Tax rates||Some structures have lower corporate tax rates.|
|Legal liability||Some provide protection for personal assets if the business fails|
|Ease of formation||Some are easier to set up versus register as a company.|
|Access to funding||Some architectures are viewed more favorably by investors and banks.|
Therefore, evaluate each option based on your goals for growth, liability concerns, and need for external funding. Speak to consultants and legal experts to discuss the best fit.
Remember, you can always start small and change structures as your business grows. So when you’re a new business, being a sole proprietor might make the most sense. But have an exit plan in case you need a different framework in the future.
Find Suppliers And Set Up Operations
Before launching your products or services, it’s vital to find reliable suppliers and establish robust operational processes in order to avoid supply chain issues like late or faulty deliveries, inconsistent quality, and unstable pricing. So start by making a list of all suppliers, vendors, and contractors you’ll need to deliver your business offering, which includes:
· Raw material providers if manufacturing physical goods
· Ingredient suppliers if preparing food products
· Equipment rental companies
· Freelancers or agencies for services outsourced
Research multiple options for each need and compare factors like product quality, pricing, delivery reliability, certifications, and reputation. And once you’ve selected suppliers, establish formal agreements that detail:
· Specifications for products/services required
· Order minimums and maximums
· Expected quality standards and controls
· Pricing, payment terms, and conditions
· Delivery time frames and troubleshooting plans
Make sure you test-run orders to ensure quality before relying on suppliers for full-scale production. Also, create Standard Operating Procedures to document all business processes from ordering to delivery. This ensures consistency and efficiency as you scale up operations over time.
Building robust supply chains and operations in place from the beginning can help you avoid stockouts, failures to fulfill orders, and reputational damage – critical mishaps that threaten most new businesses. Overall, select the right suppliers and map out reliable processes to give your venture the best chance of success.
start a business with right Marketing Strategy
Marketing is crucial for any new business, especially since you’re just starting and nobody knows your business’s name yet. Companies spend billions every year on marketing trying to attract customers and make sales. Turns out, a study by CB Insights showed that a huge 14% of businesses flop due to bad marketing tactics.
- A good marketing strategy helps you determine the right mix of activities and channels to reach your target audience. It starts with identifying who your ideal customers are and what motivates them to buy. Developing customer personas based on market research can help shape your marketing messages to resonate better.
- Next, set clear and measurable marketing objectives focused on goals like increasing brand awareness, generating qualified leads, or acquiring new customers. These objectives will guide your whole marketing plan and help you evaluate its effectiveness over time.
- Then you need to decide on the specific marketing tactics that best match your budget and objectives. Consider options like advertising, public relations, social media, email marketing, SEO, sales promotions, referral programs, etc., and pick the right combination of multiple channels to maximize your results.
For example, you could run Facebook ads to raise awareness, develop a blogging strategy for organic search traffic, and offer referral bonuses to incentivize word-of-mouth promotion. Each platform has strengths and weaknesses, so a balanced mix optimizes your exposure.
However, it’s vital to determine a budget that allows you to test and evaluate different tactics sufficiently. Start small and scale up efforts that show progress toward your objectives, and do not rely too heavily on any single channel from the beginning.
And, when you continually refine your marketing strategy based on performance data, you can gain valuable insights that fuel profitable growth over time. Even with limited resources and experience, a thoughtful, iterative approach can help you gain traction and build customer loyalty.
The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step
More than 48% of Singapore’s GDP comes from small and medium businesses. And as we’ve seen, starting your own venture here without a degree is very possible with the right planning, strategy, and execution.
While the initial stages require effort and persistence, keep in mind that every successful business began as just an idea in someone’s mind.
What matters most is taking that first step; you won’t know if your business idea has legs until you just go for it.
Want to know more on how to start a business without a degree successfully here in Singapore? Make sure to check out this post. Or, if you’re looking for an unconventional idea, find out how you could start a profitable vending machine business in Singapore. Maybe you don’t have enough capital to invest in a new venture; no worries because you can always try a work-from-home hustle like blogging.