32 Small Business Ideas In Singapore (2020 Guide)

This is a guide for people who needs a business idea in Singapore.

In fact, there are so many ideas we have organised the ideas into its own categories.

a) Online Businesses

b) Service Businesses

Overview

What is a business?

A business is a commercial activity where profits and losses are made.

Setting up one usually involves a sum of money which is also known as capital. This is used for expenses for things like salaries, web hosting, domain name registration, etc.

What is the end goal of any business?

Ideally, a business owner would want their business to be profitable and eventually selling it for a lump sum of money. However, not all businesses end up that way. For example, there are business owners that incurred large debts due to the nature of their business.

What business idea is the best?

Every business idea can be great but it depends on the person’s resources. A resource would be amount of capital, ability to secure loans based on your assets & ability to raise funds. Basically, you need money to make money. Really? How?

You need money to

  • rent an office space
  • pay employees’ salaries
  • buy over your competitors
  • buy Google Ads for traffic

Online Business

1 ) Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a model where one sells products without holding inventory. When a customer orders a product, the business owner would place that order with a supplier and earn the margin difference. This can be done on your own website using Woocommerce/Shopify or creating accounts on shopping platforms such as Carousel, Shopee or Qoo10. Dropshipping can be profitable based on certain factors such as:

  • quality of good is good
  • integrity of the supplier
  • speed of delivery
  • customer feedback
  • platform restrictions

Action

  • Dropshipping Singapore Guide

2 ) Advertisements

One of the oldest online business models in the world is placing ads on your website.

There are different ways on how you can earn from this model.

2a) Monthly charges

You may charge a business a monthly fee to place their ads on your website. However, you need to give them a good reason to pay you. One good reason is your website have tons of relevant traffic.

2b) Pay Per Click

A popular program is Google Adsense where Google pays you when a user clicks on an adsense ad placed on your website. How much you get depends on the type of niche you are in. For example, if you have a popular medical blog. The cost per click could be around $12.00. If you have 1000 clicks that is $12 x 1000 = $12000.  However, Google takes a cut from this so it is around 68% of that $12k which is $8160.

2c) Charge per impression

This is a method where you can charge the advertiser by impressions. An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on your website. To pull this off, you will need to have Google Analytics installed on your website. Also, you need to filter the impressions by the page your advertiser has placed their ads on. If you charge $1 per 1000 impressions and you have 1 million impressions for this month, you will earn around $1000.

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3) Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)

A popular business model in Singapore is to sell products through Amazon’s program called Fulfilment By Amazon. It is a simple process where you buy your goods and send to Amazon’s warehouses. Once a customer buys a product from your Amazon product listing, you don’t have to do a single thing. Amazon will receive a notification and processes the fulfilment and delivery to the customer. This is an attractive business and it seems hands-off after you have sent your products. However, you will need to have capital to purchase goods. The success of your FBA business could be determined by these factors

  • cost of goods
  • competition
  • quality of goods
  • supplier integrity
  • shipment timings
  • keyword costs for Amazon’s pay per click ads

Actions

  • Amazon FBA course singapore

4) Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an online business model where you can earn money when someone takes an action on your affiliate link. There are different types of affiliate marketing:

4a) CPA (Cost Per Acqusition)

CPA is a variant of affiliate marketing. An action occurs when a website user fills up a short form without any purchases. This is considered as a Lead. There are CPA programs where every lead you send, you will earn a certain amount. For example, a dating program may pay $5 per lead you send to them. The way to get leads is through different traffic methods such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Mobile Ad networks like Airpush and more.

4b) CPS

CPS is the short form for Cost Per Sale. Every time a customer buys a product through your affiliate link, you will get a commission from the sale. For example, Amazon has a program called Amazon affiliates where you can sign up as a member and promote products listed on Amazon. You just need to advertise them on your website or on allowed platforms. This program, however, have changed recently where commission rates have decreased from 8% to 3% for home furnishing category. So, do your research on which program you choose and you should be aware that you are subject to the platforms’ business decisions.

4c) PPC Pay Per Call

Pay per click is a business model where you send phone leads to a business. Every phone lead you send you get paid a certain amount. This is workable with a call tracking system like avanser, hoiio or nexmo. For example, if you create a Google Ad for a plastic surgeon, you will need to place a tracking code that will convert to a generic number. This number will redirect calls to the plastic surgeon. The call tracking system is able to track how many calls are there and also, they provide a recording service. You are also able to see how many leads were sent via Google Ads dashboard.

Actions:

  • Affiliate Marketing Singapore
  • CPA Marketing Singapore
  • Amazon Affiliate Singapore
  • Google Ads
  • Call Tracking Singapore

5) Local business marketing

This is a fairly straightforward business model where you send leads or sales to a local business in Singapore. For example, you can establish a contract with an air conditioner company to pay you $50 per lead. All you need to do is to drive many leads to your website or social media platform like a Facebook page or Instagram page. The ways to drive many leads would be

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media Marketing

A difficulty for some for this business is to establish a relationship with a supplier. The risk of this is the supplier may delay payment since you do not have any control over the leads. One way is to build an escrow website where you collect the payment upfront and distribute the balance payment minus your commission.

 

Actions:

  • Build an Escrow website
  • SEO Course Singapore
  • Facebook Ads Course Singapore

6) Directory

A simple business model is to build a directory website and earn money through paid listings. This is similar to the advertisement business model with a twist. To create this business, you will need to

  • create a website
  • import local business listings
  • offer premium business listings on popular pages of your website
  • charge a fee for businesses to claim their listings

To pull this off, you will need to have a website with significant traffic.

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7) Online Courses

If you have a certain talent or skill, you can create online courses to showcase your knowledge to audiences that would pay for your content.

For example, if you are a talented graphic designer, you can build a graphic design course on how to use Adobe Illustrator to create beautiful graphics.

For this business model, you will need to create a curriculum for your course and create a video for each step. Popular websites to post your course would be Udemy, Pluralsight, Coursera and more.

A great way to start this is to offer free videos on YouTube first to build an audience then you will advertise your paid courses. This way you are able to judge whether people would pay for your course and most likely, they will comment on your free videos by saying “will you be creating a udemy course?”.

 

Actions:

  • Udemy singapore
  • Online marketing course singapore

8) eBooks

If you are on YouTube, you may see advertisements where a person would advertise an eBook publishing course on Amazon. That program is called Amazon kindle where you will create an ebook and upload to Amazon’s Kindle marketplace.

The benefits of amazon kindle is

  • one click purchases
  • popularity

To create an ebook, you will need the following

  • Good copywriting skills
  • Proof reading skills

If you don’t have them, you may outsource these to a third party service.

An ebook business can be very profitable as your cost of creating an ebook is cheap relative to other business models. And after you have published you do not need to resupply unless your audiences requests for updates to your book. That is an indication that your book is popular too.

Actions:

  • Learn how to create an eBook
  • Copywriting course singapore

9) Video Sharing Platforms

YouTube is a great place to create an online business. To succeed in this business, you will need to produce great content and attract views. There are a few angles to earn money on YouTube

  • Create a product review and get your visitors to use your affiliate links
  • Create a video tutorial to build an audience to remarket
  • Create viral videos to get views and earn money from YouTube

Another great place to advertise is TikTok. Tiktok allows you to put a link in your profile. This means you may be able to put your affiliate link and earn. Tiktok is a strong competitor to YouTube and should be worth a consideration for a new business channel.

Actions: 

  • YouTube video editing course Singapoore

10) Messaging Platforms

Messaging platforms is a great online channel for starting a business. One can setup a group and promote their company products to interested participants. Popular messaging platforms includes

  • WhatsApp
  • WeChat
  • Telegram
  • Line

Actions:

  • WhatsApp Marketing Course
  • WeChat Marketing Course
  • Telegram Marketing Course
  • Line Marketing Course

11) Live Streaming

If you are good at sales and presentation, you may consider setting up a business on live streaming platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube or Tiktok. This is a great way to review products live streamed as it is more genuine compared to a pre-recorded video. To succeed in this business, you will need to provide honest feedback in your stream and promote quality products to build trust with your audience. You can also get to answer your audiences’ queries live.

Actions:

  • Live stream marketing Singapore
  • Videography course Singapore

12) Social Media Pages

Building a website can be difficult and costly for many. Why not create a Facebook Page to promote your products? You can create a Facebook Page for free. Ways to create traffic to your page are:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Share it with your friends
  • Optimise for Facebook’s Search Engine
  • Google Ads

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13) App Business

Creating an App business can be costly but powerful. Imagine you can create an app that goes viral worldwide and receive a lump sum sale or earn passively. That’s what happened to Flappy birds where a solo developer earned $50000 in a single day. Different types of apps includes:

  • iOS App
  • Android App
  • Progressive Web App (PWA)
  • Desktop Apps

Actions:

 

14) Software as a service

Software is another big business in the world and can be a great source of recurring income. For example, a company providing SEO tools like Ahrefs charges around $99 for their base plan. If you have a million users, that is 99 million in sales. Of course, there is cost involved in their business, imagine they have to store petabytes worth of data. That would involve many servers and synchronisation to their customers’ accounts.

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15) Content Marketing

A content marketing business is one where you get to promote a business by create great content using their products and services. Some content marketing types are:

  • SEO content writing
  • Infographics creation
  • Promotion video

Actions:

  • Copywriting course Singapore
  • Infographics marketing singapore
  • Learn how to create a video

16) Ecommerce (Hold stock)

Since the start of the internet, ecommerce is one of the oldest online business models. You just need a website that can connect to a payment gateway to start an ecommerce business. There are many platform options to choose from:

  • Woocommerce
  • Shopify
  • Bigcommerce

Actions:

  • Hire a Woocommerce developer in Singapore
  • Hire a Shopify developer in Singapore
  • Learn how to build a bigcommerce website

17) Domain Name Trading

A domain name trader is one who buys a domain name at a cheap price and resells it to an interested party for a profit margin. This is one of the oldest business models and has been very profitable for some businesses. For example, voice.com was sold for 39 million in 2019. There are still opportunities to be made in this market. Reason is because there are people who do not renew their domain names and that causes popular domain names to be available in the market.

Actions: 

  • Buy a domain name in Singapore

18) Extensions

Creating extensions for popular platforms can be a profitable business. When you create one, you can charge a one time fee or monthly fees to your customers. Popular platforms includes

  • WordPress
  • Google Chrome Web Store
  • Shopify Apps

Some markets are saturated and some are not. You just need to look and see what apps are available.

Actions

19) Hosting business

A web hosting business is one that provides web hosting services like SSL, Database and maintenance for websites. A web hosting business can either be costly or cheap. There are two ways to go about this:

  • rent physical servers in Singapore
  • become a reseller for Singapore hosting companies

Actions:

20) Bitcoin trading

Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency in the world in recent times. To be a bitcoin trader, you need to buy them at a low price and resell them at a higher price. To start this business you will need to have the following:

  • Multiple bitcoin wallets
  • Capital to purchase bitcoins at a low price
  • Learn what is KYC (Know Your Customer)

Actions: 

 

Service Business

1 ) Freelance Web Designer in Singapore

Do you have skills to build a website in WordPress? Or do you know HTML, CSS & JavaScript? Building a website for business owners can be a profitable business. To succeed in this business, you need to be good at listening to your client’s requests if not you will end up redoing the website until you give up on this business. If you have friends or you know of any web designers, you can outsource the job to them and earn a commission too.

Action

2) Graphic Designer

If you are good with Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, Figma or XD, you can create graphics for many businesses. Some businesses like restaurants needs delicious looking menu designs to attract customers. Also, every business would need a logo design for their name cards. Businesses are also looking for designers that can create beautiful catalogs to showcase their designs.

Action

  • Sign up to be one
  • Build your own website
  • Learn how to be a graphic designer

3) Interior Designer

A freelance interior designer provides consultation, design and creation of ideas of your new home of office. To be one you need to have these skills
  • Eye for design
  • Good at interior designing softwares 3d
  • Common sense such as safety design
Actions:
  • Learn 3d modelling course on Udemy
  • Learn Photoshop illustrator

4) Digital Marketing

If you are good with digital marketing, you can offer your services as a digital marketing consultant in Singapore. There are many different types of digital marketing:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media
  • Paid Ads

Actions:

5) Copywriter

A freelance writer is one who writes content for businesses such new publishing sites, online blogs. You will need
  • Persuasive copywriting skills
  • Good grammar n spelling
  • Research ability for facts
Action

6) Finance

If you are good at creating money from stocks or any financial tools, you can become a financial blogger in Singapore. You can create a blog and write about finances like which stock is good to buy or advising when to exit the market. Ways to earn from this is through

  • Affiliate links for trading programs
  • Google adsense

Actions:

7) Music

If you are musically inclined and are good with teaching others, you can consider to be a freelance music teacher in Singapore. What you need to have is your instrument and patience for teaching students that could be kids or adults. There are some ways to promote yourself is by

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Paid Ads
  • Social Media

Actions:

8) Photographer

A freelance photographer helps to capture photos for commercial purposes. There are many variants such as
  • Food
  • Event
  • Wedding
  • Corporate headshot
  • Company opening
Actions
  • Choose a great camera in Singapore
  • Photography course Singapore
  • Part time photographer assistant
  • Build a portfolio website

9) Freelance accountant in Singapore

If you have the knacks for calculating profits and losses of a business, you might offer your services as a freelance accountant. A freelance accountant is one who maintains multiple clients’ financial bookkeeping. Usually, small and smes who need minimal accounting will hire one to only clear basic reportong matters.
You will need to have
  • Good calculating skills
  • Some qualifications as an accountant such as CPA, degree or masters
  • Confidentiality
Actions:
  • NTU accounting degree
  • CPA course

10) Painter

A freelance painter is one who provides painting services. If you notice your neighbors houses need a fresh coat of paint, you can offer to help out. Painting services can be risky when there is height involved. So it is wiser to offer room painting services to be on the safe end.
You will need
  • Painting skills
  • Paint
  • Namecsrd to pass to your neighbors

11) Freelance Art Teacher in Singapore

A freelance art teacher is one who teaches art painting for a living. Some of the classes include
  • Kids painting
  • Chinese painting
  • Abstract art painting
Actions
  • Showcase your art on a website

12) Freelance Yoga Teacher in Singapore

A freelance yoga teacher is one who conducts yoga classes on 1 to 1 lessons or group lessons in a temp location like a condo function room. You will need
  • Years of experience
  • Certificate from school
  • Ability to stretch your body
Actions
  • Where to learn yoga

13) Grass Cutting

Did you know there are 63k landed properties in Singapore? If you have a passion for botany and landscaping, this could be an opportunity for you. Just offer a service to any of the landed property owners for grass cutting services. Be warned, this could have rough conditions where temperatures are hot in Singapore. So, offer your services in the day or early in the evening where it is more cooling. Also, you can manage a team of grass cutters and help them market their services in Singapore.

Actions:

  • Grass Cutting Services Singapore