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Published on January 6, 2022

How to Start Your Own Business in 2022 (Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Start Your Own Business in 2022 (Step-by-Step Guide)

Now might seem like a crazy time to launch a business, but in fact, there’s never been a better time. In the United States, more businesses have been launched this year than ever. Data from the US Census Bureau shows about 1.4 million new startup applications filed with the government through September 30, 2021, compared with 1.14 million during the same period in 2020.[1] It might strike you as counterintuitive, given the economic uncertainty, but the truth is, new problems demand new solutions, and the ongoing pandemic has introduced no shortage of problems.

So, are you sitting on the next big idea? If so, you might be wondering: how can I start my own business? Here is a step-by-step guide to launching your startup in 2022.

1. Start With a Problem

When it comes to launching your business, forget everything you ever heard about “chasing” your passion and instead, chase a problem. What does that mean?

Solve an actual problem that you’re facing in the world. Venture capitalist Paul Graham (and early investor in Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, and more) put it best when he said that the best startups have three common features:[2]

  • they’re something the founders themselves want;
  • that they, themselves, can build;
  • and that few others realize are worth doing.

Take Uber, for example. The inspiration for the app came when founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp found themselves stuck in Paris on a snowy evening and unable to find a taxi.[3] Or Basecamp: founder Jason Fried had his “ah-ha!” moment when his web design firm was looking for a project management tool to improve their organization.[4]

So, think about it: what is a problem that you want to solve today? Then, figure out how to build a solution.

2. Research the Market

Before you begin fine-tuning your concept, you’ll need to research the landscape and understand the current marketplace. As Startups.com founder Wil Schroter has written,[5]

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“Every minute you invest in researching online saves you 10 minutes of building your startup blindly, only to find out that customers are flocking to a different solution to the problem you’re solving.”

And don’t worry, “market research” sounds more complicated than it is.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, recommends:[6]

“[making] a list of all the products or businesses you can find that are similar to the product you want to create or the business you want to start. For each of those companies, write down what you do and don’t like about them, pro/con style. Once you do that, write down all of the ways that your idea is different.”

Know what’s out there and how your business will propose to offer a different and much-needed solution.

3. Consider Starting as a Side Hustle

Before launching my company, Jotform, I worked full-time for a large media company. There, I noticed something missing in the world: easy-to-create online forms. So, I started working on the solution as a side hustle, continuing to build skills and experience at my day job without giving up my paycheck.

Eventually, the amount of revenue I earned from my side gig was higher than my monthly salary. That’s when I left the company and branched out on my own, confident I could continue to pay the bills.

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We read the Crunchbase headlines about VCs and funding rounds, but the quieter—and I’d argue, safer and less stressful—route of bootstrapping may be a better option for prospective founders. And as long as your idea is solid, your business can grow just as big. Just ask Sara Blakely who launched her company with her own cash and never took any outside investments.

Starting small and growing organically can also ensure that your product is addressing the problem you set out to solve—before you infuse the company with your and your investor’s money.

4. Don’t Play the Waiting Game

Entrepreneurs tend to be perfectionists. With so much on the line, you want your product to be perfect before releasing it to the world. But the truth is, the only way to know if people will like and use your product is to get it out in the world.

As Rich Allen, author of The Ultimate Business Tune-Up: A Simple Yet Powerful Business Model That Will Transform the Lives of Small Business Owners, writes:[7]

“It is always better to start your journey with a largely unfinished or unpolished product or service and allow its early adopters to help you make improvements. This likely means that you will not have your pricing firmly set, your offering complete, or your services automated. That’s fine.”

Don’t play the waiting game. If you do, a competitor might swoop in and offer the same (or better) solution to your problem.

5. Focus on the Customer—Not the Competition

One of the biggest mistakes I see in new business owners is focusing so much on the competition that they short shrift to the most important stakeholder: the customer. When you’re starting out, it’s essential to listen closely to customer feedback, ideas, and even complaints. Criticism helps us to locate our pain points and figure out how to innovate and improve.

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Rich Allen writes,[8]

“​​This first customer experience is invaluable to the direction, focus, and success of your newly formed business.”

Ask early customers what they like, what they would change, and any other insight about their experience. And don’t forget to look at the data. Anytime you’re releasing something new or updated, release it to a small group first and measure their reactions. That way, you can figure out whether you need to make additional changes before moving forward with the full release.

6. Share, Share, and Share

If a tree falls and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you’re working on an awesome new product and no one learns about it, does your product even exist?

Answer: it does exist (and it does make a sound), but it may as well not if no one knows about it.

There are so many easy ways to share what you’re working on. Tweet about it, blog about it, create a YouTube video about it, or write about it in a Substack newsletter. As it turns out, people often prefer getting to know your company through these largely free platforms.

For example, according to DemandMetric, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements. [9] Through informal channels like blogging, potential users can get to know your product and your founder’s journey, which cultivates a more personal connection with the brand.

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So, shout it from the rooftops, and pay attention to all engagements.

7. Get Ready to Delegate

One final tip for launching your business: learn to delegate, and fast. The most successful entrepreneurs know that hiring talented people to whom you can delegate decision-making will free you up to focus on bigger picture items like growing your business.

Take Disney, as reported by Harvard Business Review:[10]

“Disney CEO Bob Iger has enabled the company to remain an innovative powerhouse by opening the process for creative decision-making to other leaders. As the company acquired widely recognized brands – from Lucasfilm to Marvel and Fox – he provided those leadership teams with autonomy so that they could thrive within the Disney ecosystem.”

Growth requires learning to stop micromanaging and trusting your leadership team to implement your vision.

Final Thoughts

Launching a new business may be nerve-wracking, but it’s also profoundly exciting. The seven tips I gave on how to start your own business have helped me to run and expand my business over the past 16 years, and hopefully, you’ll find them helpful, too.

More Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Aytekin Tank

Founder and CEO of JotForm, sharing entrepreneurship and productivity tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

12 Reasons Why You Should Consider Working in Singapore

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12 Reasons Why You Should Consider Working in Singapore

Nine out of 10 foreign workers are satisfied with working in Singapore, a recent governmental survey reports. Being ranked best for numerous criteria from best intellectual property protection laws to the easiest country to do business in, Singapore also receives a bunch of accolades for the overall quality of life, top education standards and efficient medical system, ranking the nation as the healthiest in the world. So, what exactly makes the City of Lions such an impeccable place to start your career or relocate your business? Here are just 12 reasons why you should consider doing it!

1. Singapore ranks second as the most globalized economy in the world

The Global Competitiveness Report 2014 – 2015 named Singapore as the world’s second prospering economy. By defining “competitiveness” as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country, the report claims to be the most authoritative assessment of the country’s prosperity and well-being. What does that mean for you and me? High wages, low unemployment rate, excellent work conditions and nourishing business development and investment climate.

2. Salaries are extremely lucrative

As the economy is booming, Singapore companies are hungry to acquire overseas specialists, offering top salaries and lucrative benefit packages to attract highly-skilled workers and talents. With a median salary of 3.500$ per month, software engineers can earn up to 72.000$ annually, whereas general practitioners usually receive around 80.000$ per year, according to PayScale. Elementary school teachers earn around 34.000$ per year and working as a waitress part time will bring you around 1100$ per month.

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3. Progressive personal tax system

Calculating and paying taxes in Singapore is extremely easy and usually takes around 30 seconds to submit your online tax return. If you already obtained a residence permit, your personal taxes in Singapore range from 0% if you earn less than S$ 22.000 per year to 20% for incomes above S$ 320,000. Non-residents are expected to pay a flat rate of 15% from all income gained in Singapore. In addition, all of your earnings gained overseas and brought to the country are not subjected to any taxes.

4. Getting a work/residence permit is really easy…

With a population of only five million, and dropping fertility rates, Singapore is highly interested in acquiring new residence and labor force to boost the country’s economy to soaring heights. If you already have a job offer secured, applying for a work permit would take only a few clicks on the governmental website and you will know the outcome within just one day. No lines, no paper bureaucracy and no huge list of supportive documents or blankly stated requirements. Their entire procedure is even simpler if you are a business owner wishing to relocate your business to Singapore, or a start-up entrepreneur wishing to develop your company within the island. You are likely to receive your work permit for a longer term, plus the renewal process is fast and simple. Residence permits are usually issued along with your work permit for the same period of time.

5. …And the same with permanent residence status

If you have lived and worked in Singapore for over a year and enjoyed your experience, you can start considering applying for a permanent resident card. Again, the whole process can be done online without much hassle or paperwork involved. Among the factors of a successful outcome, expats name young age (below 50), educational background (degrees obtained in Singaporean universities will earn you extra points), the industry you work in (again extra points to those who are involved in scientific research and working with innovative technologies), and your ability to speak one of the four languages. The processing time does take up to six months.

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6. The adaptation process goes easy

As English in the main working language you won’t experience the dreaded language barrier. The local society is an absolute melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian and British cultures with 42% of population being foreigners. There is a huge amount of expat communities and meet-ups, restaurants serving awesome foods from all over the world, and imported goods you are used to buying back at home. As expats say, “Singaporeans are generally very comfortable with diversity and have been very welcoming to foreigners” with rare case of racism or religion discrimination occurring. There are numerous international and English schools available, along with pre-school daycare centers, so your kids won’t experience much troubles either when changing environments.

7. Top notch higher education

If at any stage you feel like lacking relevant educational background or certain skills to get a promotion, you should consider getting a degree in one of the six Singapore universities. National University of Singapore currently ranks number one in Asia and 22nd in the world offering degrees in Arts, Law, Medicine, Computer Sciences, Public Policy and nearly any other profession in demand. Tuition fees for undergraduate programs range from S$ 28.600 to S$ 129,200 for medical degrees. However, all students (foreign or resident) can apply for governmental grants and tuition aid, cutting down the costs by 50%, as currently around 20% of government spendings go into education. If you are aiming at a top executive position, getting an MBA in Singapore will cost you S$ 58,000 full-time or part-time.

8. It takes three days to open a business

Being ranked #1 for the ease of doing businesses by World Bank consequently for seven (!!!) years, starting your business in Singapore is easy and fast indeed. The whole process is done online and your registration will be deemed completed within a few hours after you pay a registration fee of the S$65. Afterwards, you can either refer for further assistance to ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) offering you a huge selection of agencies and providers to handle all your business needs – from business start-up services to preparing all the documents for your annual returns.

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9. Singapore is rated #1 as the best labor force in the world

As your business grows and you feel it is time to expand, hiring new professional team won’t be much of a struggle. With expats and work migrants flooding the market, local labors are known for their effectiveness, strong work ethics and superb educational profiles. Filling in top executives and managerial positing will not be a problem either as the share of high-skilled professionals with relevant background rose from 27% in 2003 to 31% in 2013. Moreover, 25% of residents reported to have worked for the same company for 10 years, which means less personnel changes and headhunting.

10. Low crime rates and zero corruption

Currently ranked the 5th least corrupted country in the world, Singapore surpassed a long chain of reforms and law enforcement practices on the road to a bribe-free society. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has kept an eye on matters since 1952 and tries all cases according to strict Singapore laws with long-term jail sentences and huge fines up to S$ 100,000. Same goes towards any sort of crimes–even minor offenses are treated with extreme severity. Think: three months of jail and three hard cane strokes for painting graffiti on a war memorial. When living and working in Singapore you don’t need to worry about your belongings getting stolen, nor your life threatened. Besides, you don’t need to have any sort of “special connections” to do business and get through all the legal and bureaucratic procedures.

11. You can become a millionaire in less than 10 years

According to a recent report issued by Boston Consulting Group, over one half of wealthy Singaporeans accumulated the majority of their wealth in less than 10 years. That’s the quickest growing rate in the world. Now, Singapore boasts one of the highest millionaires’ density in the world with 8.8% of the population having assets over one million US dollars. The phenomenon exists due to the ease of doing businesses in Singapore, advantageous location with easy access to nearby booming markets of India, Indonesia and Malaysia and quick implementation of progressive new technologies.

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12. Absolute political stability

Obviously, your business and you as an employee do not exist in a vacuum and are highly dependent on governmental policies and law-making. The Singaporean government is known for conducting open and fair policy towards constantly introducing new laws, tax relieves, and regulations to enhance the countries’ business environment even more. With the People Action’s Party forming the majority in Parliament since 1965, Singapore has a very stable and orderly government indeed.

Featured photo credit: Larry Teo via unsplash.com

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