Starting a home-based business


Home-based businesses flourished in the wake of Covid-19 with every Tom, Dick, Harry, and even the makcik-next-door starting a side-hustle from the cosy confines of their homes. You, too, might have felt the itch to start your own business but were deterred by how much of an undertaking it is.

This is where we’re jumping in to help. Kickstarting a home-based business is not like running a large-scale multinational corporation; you can begin your journey towards entrepreneurship with just five easy steps. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to do.


1. Choose an idea that fills a market gap


home-based businessVirtual baking classes helped all those that wanted to learn how to cook during lockdown

You can spend days dreaming up the perfect idea for your home business only to be shut down by market saturation. Sometimes, the best ideas come when you have to solve a problem, be it for yourself or for someone that you know.

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you go door to door and ask your neighbours if they have a problem that needs a solution. With the Internet at your fingertips, you can leverage online communities and forums – think Reddit, Hardware Zone, and Facebook groups – where you can quickly gather online sentiments.

There are also tools to help you research popular keywords and trends like Google Trends, Keyworddit, and Questiondb that can tell you what people are searching for.


2. Make sure you are legal with the necessary license


paperwork

As with any business, you need to ensure that you have the proper paperwork and licensing, otherwise, the mata will come knocking at your door. Thankfully, applying for a Home Office Permit from the URA is fairly easy. It also allows you to hire up to two non-resident employees!

Those who live in private residences can register for a Home Office Permit with the URA, while those living in HDB flats have to register for the permit with HDB here.

home cooks

If you’re thinking of selling some of your delicious baked goods from home, here’s a top tip: You do not need HDB’s approval to start a home bakery business. The same applies to other smaller-scale home businesses like hairdressing, sewing, and freelance writing. Read more about the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme.


3. Create a business plan


business plan

Growing up, my dad always told me that if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Crafting a solid business plan is one of the most important steps to starting your own home business, and a well-written plan can also help you secure a loan to jumpstart your business.

Here are a few pertinent points that you need to consider and research when writing up your business plan:

  • Information on your products – what you’re offering and a comparison to your competitors
  • Market analysis – how much market share do you think you’ll take etc.
  • Marketing strategy – how will you promote your products or services
  • Target customer – who your ideal patrons are
  • Financial planning – what is your budget and how you plan to spend it

If you’re not too certain about how to start writing a business plan, there are a couple of online templates available from Score, Xero, and Bplans.


4. Decide on your marketing platforms


how to market your home-based business

Once you’ve got the foundation of your home-based business sorted, it’s time to tell the world! But there are some caveats to the home office license: You can’t display advertisements or posters outside your home, and you also can’t go around distributing brochures and putting flyers into your neighbour’s mailboxes.

This is where the power of social media comes into play. A lot of home-based businesses went viral during Covid-19 thanks to their ingenuity with their marketing from interesting names – we’re looking at you, Eat My CB – to their well-made websites that make it easy to click and order.

SAFRA members can also take advantage of the SAFRA Entrepreneur’s Club (SEC) Business Xchange to reach a wider audience. Each merchant with the SEC is entitled to feature articles on SAFRA’s digital magazine eNSman, dedicated posts on the SEC Facebook page, and credits of up to $1,900 that can be spent on accounting, IT, and other marketing services. Read till the end to find out more about the SEC.


5. Partner with the right delivery service


ninjavan

Don’t worry, no customer will expect you to hand-deliver your products to their front door, unless you’re feeling in a mood for serenading. There are more than a few reliable couriers and delivery services in Singapore you can engage to help move your products from warehouse to doorstep. 

But before you bite the bullet and purchase a bunch of pre-paid envelopes, you should consider the pros and cons of each service and whether or not they cater to your needs.

speedpost delivery service

For example, if you’re a home-based baker who has just packed a batch of cookies fresh out of the oven, you’d probably want to get them to your customers safely. A crumbled cookie can be the difference between a good and bad review, so you’ll want to look for delivery services that can handle fragile items.


How to start a home-based business easily


home-based business

For all the budding micro-entrepreneurs, the best time to start a home-based business was yesterday; the next best time to start is today. Establishing your own business also isn’t as intimidating or time-consuming compared to a traditional enterprise since you’re not tied up with unnecessary red tape.

There is also an abundance of digital tools and schemes that’ll make managing your business a stress-free endeavour like the SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club Business Xchange.

safra entrepreneurs'  business exchange
Image credit: SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club

Membership to the SEC is free for all SAFRA members, and the public can sign up at $40 for two years.

SEC members also get exclusive access to the SEC Business Xchange, a digital advertising platform that provides local brands with a platform to showcase their products and services on SAFRA and SEC’s online platforms for just $480

For example, you can promote your business to almost 110,000 followers on SAFRA’s Facebook page, or you can even arrange for an advertorial article in SAFRA’s digital magazine eNSman that will reach over 35,000 readers! Just think of all those eyeballs.

Other perks include a free listing on the SEC member’s directory, discounted admission to seminars and networking events organised by the SEC, and exclusive invitation to partners’ events.

SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club
The SEC regularly invites companies to share what goes on behind-the-scenes
Image adapted from: SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club

The SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club is also organising a series of behind-the-scenes events over on Facebook Live that’ll take viewers behind closed doors of various local companies like Artisan Green and more. There are two more sessions scheduled for 18th August and 15th September 2021 from 8PM-8.30PM.

P.S. You’ll receive an exclusive SEC gift when you introduce your SAFRA buddy to be an SEC member!

Find out more about the SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club


This post was brought to you by SAFRA Entrepreneurs’ Club.