5 tips to reduce the cost of doing business in Singapore

Singapore offers a variety of grants and incentives to entrepreneurs from all sectors to encourage entrepreneurship and boost the local economy, INVOLVED PHOTO

SINGAPORE’s robust economy and business-friendly environment have long made it a haven for local and international entrepreneurs.

Statistics show that around 14,857 new companies were registered in the country in the first quarter of 2019 alone.

According to a report by policy consulting and research firm Startup Genome, Singapore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been estimated at over $25 billion by 2021. That figure was about five times the global median at the time.

However, even with highly supportive government policies and a healthy business community on their side, entrepreneurs in Singapore often still struggle to cope with the rising cost of living and doing business in the country.

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As office rent, labor costs, and other related expenses become more expensive, business owners must find more creative ways to grow their initial capital.

For example, many startups stay afloat by implementing strict cost-cutting plans to maximize their budget.

Luckily, there are many simple yet effective ways to reduce the cost of doing business in Singapore.

If you’re currently running a startup in Singapore or thinking about starting a business in the country, you’ll want to read five helpful money-saving tips.

Take advantage of available incentives

To encourage entrepreneurship and boost the local economy, the Singapore government offers a variety of grants and incentives to entrepreneurs across all industries.

Prominent examples of such incentives include tax exemptions, risk absorption policies for startups, and subsidies for labor costs and other essential business expenses.

Simply looking up which of Singapore’s many startup SME grants are the most beneficial will surely lead you to a wealth of helpful options.

Once you’ve thoroughly researched what’s on offer, you can figure out which of these systems best fits your business’ needs and how you can use it to keep your overhead costs down.

Find cost-effective ways to meet business needs

Every business needs to purchase certain goods and services to support its operations. When you’re just starting out, it’s in your best interest to proactively look for the most cost-effective ways to get what you need.

For example, you should consider buying second hand equipment and office furniture.

Hand instead of factory new to save cost. If you look in the right places, you’re sure to find quality items that still work just as well as their brand new counterparts.

For the same reason, many startups use free, open-source software instead of branded software, while they still can’t afford to shell out the latter’s expensive licenses.

Software developers today strive to ensure that their open source programs can compete with commercial software on a par, so you probably won’t have a problem finding viable free applications that will meet any business need.

You can always replace these programs with branded software later as your business needs change and your operating budget grows.

Let employees work from home

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of remote or hybrid working environments, and experts predict this trend will continue.

More and more business owners are realizing that by allowing their employees to work from home, companies can also make significant gains in terms of overall productivity and efficiency.

The inclusion of remote work schemes also gives companies the opportunity to hire employees

Talent from outside of their local jurisdiction, giving them access to a larger pool of qualified employees than they would normally have.

Importantly, moving to a mostly or fully remote working model allows your company to reduce big expenses like renting office space and paying utilities.

Modern technology makes it possible to manage the majority of a company’s operations using digital software solutions. Digital apps also make it possible to collaborate and conduct business correspondence online, be it via computers or mobile devices. As a result, the need to meet in person to work effectively is now significantly reduced for businesses across many industries.

Use co-working space

If you’re in an industry that requires your employees to meet in person, or if for some reason you just can’t maintain a fully digital office, consider renting a coworking space.

Coworking spaces provide you and your employees with much-needed office space without the high overhead of renting an entire office, an expense that is often out of the question for most startups.

Well-organized and conveniently located co-working spaces can now be found all over Singapore, and many of these places also offer a variety of services and facilities for businesses to take advantage of.

In addition to shared workspaces, a good coworking space can also offer private office suites, meeting rooms, and even venues for larger business functions.

Outsource foreign functions

Outsourcing non-core tasks to freelancers and other outside professionals instead of hiring dedicated employees is another effective way for SMBs to cut costs.

Singapore has a diverse and well-populated service sector where you can find everything from accounting services to graphic design services to technical support at competitive prices. Enlisting these services not only saves you money, but allows you and your employees to focus on optimizing core business functions.

Although the cost of doing business in Singapore can be high for small businesses, there are many practical ways to keep it manageable. It is always in the best interests of business owners to be conscious of their spending and to use their available resources and opportunities conscientiously.

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