You Only Need 3 Steps to Start
Your Online Business
Starting a business was once thought of as only for people who "got guts", the risk-takers, the few entrepreneurial spirits. But, this is no longer the case.
Singapore's e-Commerce Sales Projected to reach S$14 – S$19 Billion* in 2026
Did You Know that Singapore's e-Commerce Sales totaled approximately S$8.5 billion in 2021? While this can be somewhat attributed to the COVID pandemic, which forced many to move their spend to online channels, the reality is that e-Commerce is here to stay, and grow… and grow.
Digitalisation is the Default for Businesses…
With the advent of digitalisation, and the explosion of the e-Commerce landscape with a major propulsion brought on by the pandemic, taking a business online is almost the automatic default. In fact! With the massive increase in costs of rental and staffing, setting up an online business is not so much a choice but a necessity for some in keeping costs and physical operations to being more manageable.
…and Consumer Expectations
Having an online presence for any business is almost an absolute necessity – because it is how the world largely operates now and what consumers have come to expect and take as a given. Online businesses definitely have significant advantages over a physical store business, and in some ways are easier to set up with lower barriers of entry.
Get it Right Before You Start
If you have been evaluating… and pondering… and hesitating over whether you should set up an online business, these 3 simple but effective steps may remove your doubts and set you on the right path and towards your entrepreneurial goal!
Should You Set Up an Online Business?
Start off by being convinced and committed. You want to ensure that you have the right mindset in place – because hesitation will kill off your motivation, confidence and enthusiasm to make it work!

And if you reply "Yes" to even just one of the questions below – read on to find out how you can make your online business a reality, and a potential success.

1. Do you already have a physical store business but do not have any or only limited presence online?

2. Are you thinking of creating a source of income, but have limited time or resources, or you need to have time or work-from-home flexibility?

3. Do you have a business idea or have entrepreneurial aspirations but are not sure what to do and how to start?

And which brings us to the next step – what are the knowledge and skills that are needed to not just set up, but also to run and manage your online business effectively?
Learn, and Keep Learning.
There are many upskilling courses funded by the government to help both individuals and businesses remain competitive in challenging business environments. The courses available serve to broaden a variety of skill sets, and are highly relevant and useful in our society today.

In the recent years, particularly for the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) - the first premier CET (Continual Education and Training) institute in Singapore - has seen more than 200,000 individuals and organisations pass through its doors, many of whom have gone on to thrive in their careers and businesses.

Understanding the critical need of helping mid-career switchers, jobseekers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to learn digital marketing, SIRS offers a comprehensive list of courses, catering to a wide range of needs, levels and ambitions, for both individuals and businesses.

During these exciting times of the mega e-Commerce boom, 3 of the following courses are highly recommended to benefit participants, helping them to leverage and reap the benefits of the digital revolution:

- Thrive in Digital Disruption (Learn, Unlearn and Relearn)
- Fundamentals to Starting an Online Business
- Set Up an Online Business
Have a Vision, and a Plan.
In the words of Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of global e-commerce giant,
"We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details."

The failure to plan, and plan appropriately, is one of the key reasons why some businesses fail. This is no different for online businesses – the massive potential of the e-Commerce market is both an advantage and a disadvantage – the latter because of the high competitiveness between so many existing and new businesses fighting for consumer attention.

As such, every business must leverage all their advantages possible, and starting on the right foot is critical. In order to have a sound plan, you need to start with a vision.

Start by defining your vision: what do you see as the greatest achievement you wish to attain in the longer run?

- Write Your Vision Statement
- Develop Your Short and Long-Term Business Plans, aligned to your Vision
- Define Key Milestones along the way to check against and to help you retain your Focus and your Motivation

Some Last Things to Take Note...
Don't imagine failure before you even start. Save your imagination for better things.
It is easy, and common, to imagine all the worst-case scenarios and forecast failure – and derive comfort from saying, "I expected it to happen." – especially when things go wrong. Don't.

Plan: Dream Big and Focus on Success.
- Your Vision: imagine where you see your online business in 5 to 10 years
- Your Resources: think about the most important things you need to have in place for your business now
- Your Milestones: create your business roadmap
- Your Goals: define your shorter-term objectives by each milestone
- Your Business Plan: develop your strategy to achieve your objectives
- Your Campaigns: detail your ideas to Promote your business

Get Guidance.
Learning from our own mistakes is one of the best ways of learning – but it can also be one of the most expensive ways that can make or break a business in today's unforgiving economic environment.

Find opportunities of leveraging from the experience of others and keeping yourself updated:
- Knowledge and Skills: Learn, and keep learning
- Market Insights: Know your customers and your competitors
- Performance Benchmarking: Monitor against your goals, milestones and vision with the aim of persistent optimisation
If you are still hesitating, the best way to decide whether to make that leap is to attend these subsidised courses which will give you a clear insight and detailed guidance on how you can set up your online business and navigate the digital world to your advantage.
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