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Cedric Jamie Soh

From gold bullions to adult diapers- ecommerce allows me to scale up.

Cedric Jamie Soh

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Director at Seniorcare.com.sg

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From gold bullions to adult diapers- ecommerce allows me to scale up.

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Director at Seniorcare.com.sg

Cedric Jamie Soh

Top Contributor

Director at Seniorcare.com.sg

  • Answers (534)
  • Questions (5)
  • Reviews (5)

Entrepreneurship

Investments

Lifestyle

Savings

I don't believe in those emergency fund stories. You ask 10 startup founders about how much they pay themselves and how much savings they have you will hear stories of poverty and extreme bootstrap. Mark Zuckerberg maxed the credit card limits of cofounder Eduardo Luiz Saverin to start facebook try telling them abt the benefits of keeping 6 months emergency cash and buying adequate insurance. Your question require more details. How much manpower do you need? how much development do you need? How much marketing do you need? I give an example of a business I started years ago. We used abt less than $8000 in the first week. Before 1st month we realised its going to be profitable as an ecommerce store. I borrowed whatever I can, bootstrap by doing collection, delivery on my own car, no deliveryman, storage at where I can find cheap or free storage. Within 1 year, I was close to $100,000 in debt. Tell me again about startup keeping 6 months in emergency cash. Fastforward to today, I am starting another business. It was estimated at first to cost me $10,000 per month. By 4th month I was burning $17,000 a mth, a gross overestimate of what we need. So you really need to sit down and calculate 1. bare minimum what cofounders need to survive. BARE minimum 2. minimum staff needed be it technical guys, marketing guys, operations etc. 3. salary, try to have 1 month in advance for their pay haha sounds easy? :) 4. office rental. good news cosharing office is big now 5. marketing bills- or how to bootstrap. go read how carousell founder go around DIY promoting carousell to everyone It is going to be a tough financial journey but I promise you- its worth it.

Entrepreneurship

Career

The devil is in the details. If you are opening a traditional business, no use going government agencies, very difficult to get funds or loans. Banks are commercial entities that only lend to corporates that have 3 years of records (they can bend the rules if you have a great 1 year or 2 years record) You should probably give more details, funding for someone who wants to open a cafe is very different for someone who wants to do a B2B application, vs someone who wants to manufacture canned food in Singapore etc etc. You get the picture. For new enterprises, the unfortunate thing is, you will barely get anyone to fund you. Ideas are aplenty, so if there are investors who outright fund people who has ideas, they will go broke faster than you can say "I have an idea of Uber for XXXXX" So what do most founders do? Simple- they use their own money, beg borrow steal (btw i meant it as a figure of speech, please don't steal. lol.) , and do what you can with what you have to have a bare minimum working prototype before approaching new investors. Mark Zuckerberg famously borrowed, ahem, his good friend, Eduardo Luiz Saverin's cash and maxed out his credit card to build up a website before he can start getting investors' attention. A lot of businessmen started with what they can, borrowed from their friends and relatives to do a bare minimum MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to showcase before serious investors come with the money. I guess most of us know HP starts from garage, Apple, Amazon, Google all starts from a very bare minimum. Its the same for most of us :D

Entrepreneurship

1. Company finances. Unless you have immediate client, you are bound to be negative income for at least a few months. That would be a big problem unless you have deep pockets. Calculate your finances in days, weeks and months and anticipate problems. 2. A working prototype. Are you sure your idea works with the current technology and available software/hardware 3. Market demand. Are you sure there is a market demand for a price that will turn profit for you? Will you be able to turn market demand into a profitable revenue? 4. Talent + staff- are you able to convince them to work for you? If you can get 1 to 4 right, there you go!

Entrepreneurship

Large companies are more interested in talents than ideas. They are aware that talents are the rare commodities, not ideas. (too many times they will laugh at "great ideas".) For example Google buy Nest not because Nest is a great idea... its because they want the Nest team. (another topic for the day, once the minimum contract ends, Nest team depart Google, lol) Legally wise, forget about IP protection, copyright, trademark at the beginning, unless cash is no object, then go for it. (Lawyer are not cheap). Do a MVP up as fast as you can, the working prototype in the market fast and get recognised fast. When you do it fast, you get it in public's eye as the first one, thats a good branding that will be difficult to shake off.

Entrepreneurship

I wrote in another Entrepreneur question that "emergency fund" is not that real... when you are bootstrapping, you are doing whatever you can week by week. You calculate your inflow and plan your spending the day after you receive the revenue. Not discouraging startups or founders, just saying that the journey is a tough one. Anyone who tells you to put aside emergency funds of 3 months or 6 months haven't really done any bookstrapping or startups before. Not every startup can be like WeWork or Grab (actually even Grab had to bootstrap at the beginning). Of course if you can set up your backers' funds for 3 to 6 months, its a blessing, but if your backers want you to grab market share, or achieve market dominance, they will be asking you "why are you not spending our money aggressive enough". I am not kidding about this. In those situation, your emergency fund would be a liability and probably disappoints the backup venture capitalist (I am looking at you, Mr Son). Details. What type of company are you, and talk to the capitalists on what to manage and what to expect. For my ecommerce business, i bootstrap the day revenue come in, is immediately the day we pay suppliers for new goods. I have to balance the different amount of goods to buy. All the cofounders have to take zero pay for 1 year (or so, i can't remember). We don't have emergency fund for the company, we do what we can, with what we have. (of course we don't have backer. Except uhm Wife Bank Pte Ltd)

Career

Property

Entrepreneurship

Do you have a property of your own? you will probably get leaflets and brochures week after week after week.... If you have property for rent/sales, you will get many approaches by unsolicited agents. Property agents tend to seek property owners or property seekers. There are many many property agents too. Excess of what is ideal for the market, but thats the government and society's problems i guess. 20/80 rules apply. Same as insurance agents, 20% of them probably manage 80% volume of the market. “ Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world ?” What Steve Jobs said to Pepsi executive John Sculley to lure him to Apple. Do something that you like that you can change the world :D

Entrepreneurship

Shopping

Lifestyle

Salary

Income Tax

Revenue is not equal Profit. Profit is revenue minus costs (R - C = P) If you are selling secondhand items where the cost of the goods is actually higher, then in accounting, you are not turning a profit, you are running a loss. (hence no income tax needed) Unless you are running a 2nd hand business where you actively buy goods from others (like 2ndhand computers, secondhand furnitures, secondhand bags etc) and then sell it to others where you are making a profit, then you should document it down. First $20,000 individual income in each financial year is 0% tax rate, so you don't have to pay any tax if your business is generating less than $20,000 profits.

Entrepreneurship

You need to give more details and check what agency will it be under. For example a medical product will be under HSA, while a food product will most probably by under Food Safety Agency. By licensing, do you mean the permit to sell? The permit to store? the permit to export? Or you mean the intellectual ownership and licensing to others? Do you mean just ownership of the industrial design? The patents? trademark? Every different question will have different answer. For example, if you are talking abt trademark and patent, easy answer: google for IP patent lawyer in Singapore. Preferably one that is on your sector. For example IP patent lawyer on engineering design will most likely turn up a lawyer who is engineer trained so he knows how to do a patent on the engineer aspect that is more likely to be granted an IP. If you talking abt artistic design, then that previous lawyer won't be a good match, you have to find another specialist lawyer.

Entrepreneurship

Career

Go do the maths and you can get a close estimate. Go 1688.com or alibaba and look for vending machines (alibaba suppliers does not need to be from China, there are Singapore suppliers too) Check out the price of 1, find out how many you need for your business. 1. Cost of X vending machines 2. Cost of 1 van (rental or outright purchase) to service these vending machines 3. Technical service of the vending machine, estimate cost of 1 staff at least, or outsource to local company. (you do know vending machines break down and get abused often) 4. Goods needed for each machine + 50% surplus in warehouse (you can't just order from supplier AFTER the goods are sold out, you will lose out at lot in profit) 5. Costs per mth of renting a warehouse As far as I am aware, ACE or whatever government will not give you grants for starting such a traditional business. You won't be able to get a bank financing too, because banks look at 3 years track records. Means you do the step 1 to 5, and if you are so confident, then you can borrow personal loan or approach friends and familes for help. How confident? What are the locations you have found? What are the foot traffic? What are the products that makes them USP? Location:- do the owner charge you a rent? Or commission per count. In the first place, is the location friendly to allow a vending machine (most locations do not) Whats the margin per product, how fast can the product sales go? What is the minimum contract to go before you are allowed to abandon location without paying compensation to the owner?

Entrepreneurship

I agree that NDA are overrated. Execution is everything. Most people think that their ideas are really worth a lot and ask for NDAs and etc and then set up too high expectations and investors get very disappointed later ("we seen this X times in the past 2 yrs") More importantly, get a working protocol, get an MVP up and working to meet other cofounders and coinvestors. When the MVP is up and then go for IP to protect it.
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