Can you succeed in Singapore through virtual business?BY JOHNNY MCGINLEY
Singapore is one part of Asia where there are arguably significant incentives for new start-up entrepreneurs to base a business. This is because Singapore tax levels and business regulation make it attractive to new businesses and entrepreneurs setting up the country.
A report released in March by Cushman & Wakefield property consultants found that Asia is in the midst of a boom in business office rents. As office rents increase business overhead costs also increase in line with that.
Among the findings in the report were that rents for prime business office space in Beijing rose 75% last year and that this was the highest increase of any city in the world in 2011.
Other Asian cities including Singapore also experienced similar inflation in business office rents with Hong Kong continuing to be the number one city globally for the most expensive city for office space in terms of total occupancy.
A key question for start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners today is how they can set up a truly globally competitive and flexible business in an ever increasing difficult global economic climate.
New challenges in the global economy arguably mean a need for new thinking.
How can small Singapore based businesses and start-up entrepreneurs in the business services sector of Singapore become more competitive on a global scale? Is there a business model that offers fresh hope to today’s start-up entrepreneur and small business owner?
I believe there is. The virtual business model. Virtual businesses can often avoid the heavy overheads of employing staff by using freelancers on an “as required” basis.
They also do not incur the same overheads as traditional service sector businesses such as rising office accommodation costs. With advances in cloud based computing, faster broadband access, mobile broadband and mobile internet device growth a business can often in the early days they can be run from virtually anywhere.
Avoiding these overhead costs can make them powerfully competitive on price compared to traditional service sector business; in particular one type of business I am thinking about is consultancy based businesses.
Consultations with clients can be done virtually across the internet thereby saving travel and accommodation costs. Training of employees can also be done by interactive video training across the internet.
The virtual business mode arguably offers a lot of promise and opportunities to consultancy businesses based in Singapore looking to compete globally. A truly virtual consultancy business also has a low setup cost.
The increasing global availability of cloud computing services and high definition group video conferencing software is I believe fuelling the trend both towards the virtual business and virtual consulting models.
Virtual businesses are also arguably well placed to compete on a global scale because they are leaner in terms of their structure and overheads when compared to traditional businesses with physical premises and the costs that come with that.
In the current global economic environment the price of B2B services is increasingly becoming a key consideration and that low cost structure can translate into both a strong and unique competitive advantage.
Sometimes I think a change in our culture and thinking about starting a business is needed. Businesses in Asia including Singapore are already in a strong position to compete globally, but that doesn’t mean we can become complacent.
As technology advances, the scope for greater innovative and creative thinking in applying technological advances to business and business models increases directly in line with that. Realising and exploiting that to the full, at the same pace of technological change, is perhaps is the real secret to true global competitive advantage!
Johnny McGinley is a talented journalist based in the UK, Digital Media Advisor and Social Media Awards judge. He can be contacted at email@example.com.