Path to Singapore Entrepreneur Visa runs through a good business plan

This article discusses the importance of business plan in the Entrepass application process and the key points that need to be addressed beyond ambiguity.

The Ministry of Manpower mandates that a business plan must accompany the application for Singapore Entrepass – a special type of employment pass for foreign entrepreneurs to stay in Singapore and directly manage their Singapore startup. The business plan is a crucial document, which determines the outcome of the Entrepass application. It is akin to the fabled password “Open Sesame” which will open the gateway to a world of opportunities in Singapore, therefore getting it right to present a clear picture of the proposed venture is very significant. This article discusses the importance of business plan in the Entrepass application process and the key points that need to be addressed beyond ambiguity.

The process of drafting a business plan itself is a helpful exercise for many novice entrepreneurs. The exercise gets them through a methodical process of research, planning, organizing and setting check lists and performance measures. A promising idea may often become commercially nonviable due to inadequate research and planning. The process of documenting the idea as a business plan requires a thorough research on the market potential, commercial feasibility of the idea, capital outlay, sales & revenue forecast, personnel planning etc. The methodical thought process which goes into the exercise prepares the entrepreneur for the practical implementation of idea and to objectively scrutinize the viability and resource requirement for the commercialization of the idea.

The idea is the most fundamental point of interest to the authorities reviewing the business plan. An idea proposed in the business plan must not be a run of the mill concept. The idea while being conceptually outstanding must be commercially viable and economically productive. SPRING Singapore – the innovative enterprises development agency of Singapore and a reviewing authority – welcomes ideas that are based on revolutionary technology, that taps on or leads to technological convergence or that may lead to the evolution or adaptation and proliferation of new technologies. For instance companies engaged in mobile applications development, automation solutions and unique wireless and IT solutions are well received.

The plan must demonstrate an evolving need or an unmet demand for the product or service that is to be marketed by the proposed venture. The market must be substantial, sustainable and have strong growth potential. Singapore being a small market, the venture should not be limited by the size of the local market instead exhibit a regional appeal for its products and services. If the market is highly fragmented between many competing enterprises then the proposed venture must demonstrate capabilities that provide it an edge over the competition and add value to the target market. If the proposed venture is a pioneer in the market then the plan should display the management’s competence and financial strength for successful implementation and commercialization of the idea.

The business plan must also subtly explain the economic spin offs generated by the proposed venture. Jobs creation, knowledge transfer opportunities, talent creation through training, value addition to the enterprise ecosystem, synergies created for potential new ventures etc are some of the aspects that need to be highlighted in the business plan. For instance a digital content company apart from creating jobs for artists, writers, illustrators etc will also enhance the industry ecosystem by attracting more new enterprises such as a distributors, production houses and financiers creating more jobs and vibrancy to attract more revenue.

The most important part of the business plan is the financial planning. The capital outlay should be adequate to support the scale of the proposed venture and must reflect ample contingency provisions. The revenue forecast should be achievable and optimum while all potential operational expenses should be well thought out and provided for in the plan. If the capital involves borrowed funds then its implications on the business must be clearly detailed in the financial plan.

The competence of the management which will run the operations of the proposed venture should be comprehensively explained in the business plan. The management’s experience in running a similar venture, managerial expertise, resourcefulness, industrial network etc must be thoroughly represented in the business plan. Even the most promising ideas fail due to inept management.

The business plan thus prepared is very effective in conveying the earnest interest and implementation capabilities of the entrepreneur. It also substantiates the entrepreneur’s decision to register a Singapore company. More importantly, beyond the application phase and its successful outcome, it often helps as an implementation guide, clearly defines the organizational philosophy and its objectives and as a performance measure.