Singapore business environment is on the upswing. Based on the latest Business Optimism Index, released by Singapore’s Commercial Credit Bureau, business confidence in the city-state has improved for the second successive quarter, despite downside risks. This is coupled with an increased consumer confidence, following a decline in the past two years.
Given this positive business sentiment, it is timely to see how you can grow your business in Singapore. Here are five tips to do so.
Understand market trends
To grow your business, you need to first know the market trends in your industry, the potential threats and opportunities and how your business can fill in the gaps in the market with your products or services. This will be very useful especially for proper business planning, rather than diving head on without knowing the Singapore market’s unique specificities and customers’ needs.
One of the online resources, which you can turn to, is the Future Ready Singapore platform. It offers an avenue for business executives to be kept updated on the latest news and industry insights in Asia. Another useful online resource is the website of the Singapore Economic Development Board, the trade agency arm of the Singapore government. You will find a wealth of information on the basics of doing business in Singapore, but also, more importantly, industry news through EDB’s publications.
Have reliable business partners
On a practical level, one way of growing your business is to extend your network by working with business partners, such as distributors, franchisees or representatives for your products or services. Doing so can help you acquire new market share.
In Singapore, business owners should regularly visit their representatives, in order to maintain close ties. It is also worth noting that there are business matching opportunities which can open doors to new businesses. One of government bodies encouraging business matching is the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) which posts companies who are keen to collaborate with partners already based in Singapore. You can click here to see in details of the companies available for business matching.
Leverage on business associations
Aside from business matching, SBF offers other services to businesses. Representing more than 18,000 companies, local and foreign business chambers, as well as national and industry associations, SBF holds events, trainings and business missions to overseas market.
In terms of more specific groups within SBF, companies can turn to the Global Business Groups based on geographies which allow the Singapore and foreign counterparts to exchange business-related information, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) committee which allows SMEs to engage with policymakers, and finally, the Young Business Leaders Alliance which brings together young leaders for peer-sharing and meet up through informative events.
Companies can also turn to the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC), which represents more than 20 sectors and 40 nationalities, for networking opportunities as well as knowledge exchange through its 13 business committees. The Lion City has many other chambers of commerce and business associations. Be sure to join one which best resonates with your industry.
While going digital might be daunting for businesses, it is still highly recommended in today’s digital world. This is especially more so in the highly digitalized Singapore with its residents being hyper connected.
For a business, embracing digital can reap benefits. One way is that selling products or services online can help improve efficiency, productivity and help reduce costs. Using digital platforms can also help in raising the business’ brand awareness and contribute to lead generation which wouldn’t be possible, if the business stayed offline. By engaging with prospective and current customers online, the business owner can better communicate and understand them, thus contributing to customer retention.
Before going digital, the business owner should work out the online strategy and costs so as to maximise the returns of setting up online platforms.
Tap new markets
Back to the offline realm, there are also business opportunities to use Singapore as a gateway to other neighbouring markets. Typically, companies, which have already operated in Singapore for a while, will thereafter seek to expand to the ASEAN region – home to 2.8 million inhabitants.
In fact, McKinsey noted that if ASEAN were to be a single country, it would already be the seventh-largest economy in the world – a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion in 2013. According to IHS, ASEAN is projected to be ranked as the fourth-largest economy by 2050. There is also the One Belt, One Road initiative which opens up new markets for Singapore businesses.
In order to maximise the opportunities from these markets, it is necessary to plan, understand and devise tailored marketing strategies for these demographic segments.
It is an exciting time to grow your business in Singapore. AM Corporate Services is here to accompany you in every step of your business needs as your one-stop business solution provider. Contact us today for a meeting.