7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Registering a Business in Singapore

Last Updated: 

June 6, 2024

Starting your own business in Singapore can be both rewarding and challenging at once. While there’s something supremely fulfilling in becoming the boss of your own company, it also comes with the responsibilities of ensuring your business has the proper documentation needed for it to start operations. 

The steps on how to register business in Singapore are manageable so long as you have the right documents needed, though missteps can still occur if you’re not too careful. In this short guide, we’ll fill you in on some of the common mistakes you should avoid when registering your business in the city-state.

Key Takeaways on Registering a Business in Singapore

  1. Comprehensive business plans are essential: Lack of solid planning can lead to the need for frequent changes, delaying the registration process.
  2. Importance of company name registration: Carefully consider your business name to avoid legal disputes and ensure it complies with ACRA guidelines.
  3. Appoint key personnel early: Having a local director and other officers in place streamlines business operations and compliance.
  4. Complete legal requirements: Ensure you have all necessary documents and fees ready, specific to your chosen business structure.
  5. Conduct thorough market research: Understanding your target market and industry hurdles is crucial for informed decision-making and sustainable business growth.
  6. Secure a local registered address: A local address is required for registration and legal purposes, so don’t overlook this requirement.
  7. Fulfil post-registration responsibilities: Regularly file taxes, annual returns, and update ACRA about any changes to ensure legal compliance and accurate records.
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1. Not Having a Comprehensive Business Plans

If you’re working on getting your business registered, the assumption is that you’ve put in the planning and preparation needed to get it off the ground. Hence, if you don’t have any solid plans at all for the business, you might find that registering it right away isn’t the best move. That’s because you may end up having to change the details of the business if you’re not yet decided after all.

You must also have an idea of what structure you want to register your business as. Choosing among sole proprietorship, partnership, and private limited can dictate various benefits and limitations alike for your business. Not having researched this beforehand to know which structure you should choose can be a hindrance to getting your business off the ground.

2. Overlooking the Importance of Company Name Registration

Your company name will not only be how your future customers will know you, but it will also be the basis of legal documents regarding your business. Hence, don’t treat it as a last-minute requirement and instead carefully consider what name you’ll register for your business. 

Another concern is that you should be searching beforehand if the business name you want may be have been already claimed by someone else. To register under such a business name would be infringing on existing trademarks and may lead to a legal dispute, something which you certainly don’t want your business to be involved with. Moreover, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has particular guidelines that you should go over to ensure your chosen business name is acceptable.

3. Failing to Appoint Key Personnel

Having a local director is a key requirement when you register a company in Singapore. Choosing can be especially tricky if you intend to manage the business with several other individuals, but make sure everyone is in agreement when choosing one. 

Likewise, appointing other officers early on instead of putting it off can help the business operate more smoothly from the get-go. For example, appointing a company secretary is crucial because they keep track of the business’s compliance with regulations as well as manage various administrative tasks.

4. Not Completing  Legal Requirements

When you make up your mind to register your business, make sure you’ve got all the necessary legal documents ready. Keep in mind that these may vary depending on the business structure you’ll set for your company, so double-check that you’ve got the right paperwork with you. Take note of the required fees as well. You can conveniently find a list of the required documents for business registration right on the GoBusiness Singapore website.

5. Starting Off with Barely Any Market Research

Market research enables you to have a more complete understanding of what you want your business to be. Knowing your target market, their needs and demands, and the hurdles that businesses in the same industry have are all invaluable in deciding key aspects of your business. Do all this before you register a business so you know exactly how you’ll want to run your company moving forward and not just lose steam midway.

6. Lack of a Local Registered Address

Among the requirements when registering a business is a local address, so make sure your prospective company has one. Don’t put this off for later or assume a P.O. Box will do since your business address will be vital for legal purposes. Moreover, you’d certainly want a definite address to direct customers to if it’s necessary for the business you’ll be conducting, so it’s better to have it settled right off the bat.

7. Forgetting to Accomplish Post-Registration Responsibilities

Registering your business doesn’t end with your application’s approval. You need to ensure that your business continues to follow regulations so that there won’t be legal repercussions down the line. This includes filing taxes, annual returns, and the like. In addition, any update in your business, such as a change in director or even a change its address, should be communicated properly with the ACRA to make sure all your records with them are current and accurate.

Set your new business in Singapore on the right track by having it properly registered today. While the process is usually smooth sailing so long as you have the right documents and requirements on hand, there are still some pitfalls you surely want to avoid, so be sure to keep the ones listed in this article in mind.

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