As with the other posts in my site, this post seek to provide perspectives on starting a small business in Singapore. The subject matter of this post is particularly interesting even to myself as my friend’s entry into the shoring and scaffolding industry, albeit as an employee, provides me a mega business reference where entrepreneurship is concerned.
His bosses, three Polytechnic graduates, had come together and invested in these heavy duty triangular frames since the 80’s – 90’s.
Possible then, but not today.
If three Polytechnic graduate buddies tried applying for a loan with the same business plan, even of the same smaller scale, and off the backs of their combined paychecks today, it might not happen.
I then suggested to my buddy the possibility of bringing the knowledge and expertise, and perhaps the physical capital outright to a developing part of South East Asia. After all, some parts of South East Asia, today, are at the same development stage of Singapore in the 70’s – 80’s if not earlier.
Maybe he could start off with a stockpile of bamboo scaffolding and be the go-to guy for building small houses in the suburbs of cities. He shrugged it off: maybe. He, let alone I, has too little knowledge surrounding the global construction industry.
As much as it is complex, it is sensitive. On one hand, mega construction projects require government backing and fights head on with international mega corporations. On the other hand, Singapore doesn’t have real suburbs in which we can immerse ourselves, to have an understanding of, and subsequently hypothesize about working with the local governments and the villagers in suburbs of these countries.
Perhaps the experience of a customer of mine is a better example of succeeding overseas in an industry where it is impossible in Singapore. He has successfully set up a chain of restaurants in Myanmar for ten years now as of this post. This is the long story short:
No way could he have made it in Singapore because of the high land cost, the high labour cost, and quite simply the near monopolistic nature of the industry in tiny Singapore.
And this was 10 years back. Try toying with the idea of it in today’s context.
It is easier overseas, despite the immense difficulties such as language and legal hurdles, simply because the middle class is still expanding. In other words, the demand has not yet been satisfied, unlike saturated markets in Singapore where the middle class’ growth has stagnated. With their expanding disposable income, they too want to hop onto the consumerist and lifestyle bandwagon.
You might like to read more about the stark differences in starting a business in a developed country and developing country in my post:
Don’t vie for crumbs in saturated Singapore
As plainly as it can be, in a developing or growing economy, demand across all goods and services far outstrips supply. In other words, a business owner can enter any industry of his choice vis. passion, and then “succeed”, and still be unable to satisfy the demand that is lapping up all that is being […]
Other friends’ metal works businesses
Buddy built his biz by hauling tons of metal by himself
It’s all hard work. Not glorified “entrepreneurship”.
Reliable HDB renovation contractor
precision . leather
Custom brass maker’s mark
Broadway Leather Co.