How To Make Your Start-up Dreams Come True
Start-ups make up a big chunk of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and play a major role in our economy. Together, they contribute 38% of Malaysia’s GDP and account for 60% of total employment in the country.
If you are already running a small side business or thinking of making that leap to setting up your own start-up business, where should you start?
Making the decision to begin the start-up journey is an important step but what comes next is the challenging part – making it happen and more importantly, having enough money to actually run a business.
Here are three steps to make your start-up dreams come true.
1. Have a business plan
It goes without saying that you should have a plan to make money, but it’s easier said than done. Home businesses may be able to get away with word-of-mouth advertising and basic social media promotion, but your own homegrown product may need more effort to get noticed.
For example, Twitter – one of the most popular social media platforms in the world – struggled for years to become profitable and only managed to stop losing money in 2018. However, it slipped into the red again in 2020.
The start-up route is filled with ups and downs so it’s important to have a solid business plan before you begin.
Forbes recommends these points for creating your business plan:
- Coming up with a great and unique product or service
- Having a strong plan and vision for the business
- Having sufficient capital and cash flow
- Come up with a great name for your business
- Focus on building a great product
- Perfect your elevator pitch
For those hoping to begin this start-up journey in Malaysia, there are various government-linked agencies that can provide support like MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre), MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), SMEinfo and for bumiputeras, there is also MARA’s Entrepreneur Development Division.
2. Get funding
No business can survive without money, and you’ll need quite a bit of it to start any business. There are a number of ways of getting funding, including putting up your own savings in order to afford the start-up costs. This is because you need to get the company off the ground in order to prove your business plan.
This stage is usually referred to as the pre-seed stage for a start-up where money invested often comes from personal connections. Once you prove that you and your start-up have what it takes, the next step is to look for investors to provide funding for the seed stage and if you do well, to look for more investments in Series A, Series B and beyond to go big.
The Malaysian government is keen on encouraging the SME and start-up ecosystem and provides many funding opportunities for these industries. Budding entrepreneurs can now turn to government agencies like TEKUN, PUNB, TERAS, and Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.
Many start-ups fail to survive the early stages of the journey due to the lack of access to funding.
3. Register your business
It’s not just important to register your business, but also to decide what kind of business to register. A sole proprietorship will have different liabilities from a private limited (sendirian berhad); and each type of business comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) defines a company and a business differently (even if people use the terms interchangeably). Setting up a company provides limited liability for the owners and shareholders, but you need to follow more regulatory requirements. However, setting up a business has fewer requirements, but the owners assume more direct personal liability.
Regardless of your choice, you will have to register with the SSM in order to properly establish your business. Fortunately, SSM has set up convenient online options for those looking to get started with the registration process. Sole proprietorships and partnerships can register their business at the ezbiz online portal, while limited liability companies can incorporate through the MyCOID portal.
Even if you get funding from investors, dealing with your business finances from day-to-day expenses to managing your overall working capital requires experience and if you do not have the necessary business background yet, it can be a challenging task.
Get help from AFFIN Start-Up Banking
Running a start-up isn’t as easy as it sounds. While you might be able to do it part-time, or do everything yourself in the beginning, there is a point when you will need help to grow the business.
Affin Bank Berhad/Affin Islamic Bank Berhad has always been a strong supporter of SMEs in Malaysia, with a special fondness for the start-ups segment. Daring to grow with its customers, Affin Bank Berhad/Affin Islamic Bank Berhad aims to nurture and strengthen the SMEs ecosystem from the beginning of their journey as start-ups, to growth and expansion into matured SMEs.
Affin Bank Berhad/Affin Islamic Bank Berhad can help address the following start-up needs:
- Banking facilities for daily transactions
- Business protection to manage business risk
- Financial assistance through working capital
- Digital solutions as well as networking opportunities for advice and support
Working capital assistance comes in the form of two financial solutions. SMEmerge/SMEmerge-i Start-Up Financing helps new start-ups get off the ground and overcome the challenges that threaten a new business.
On the other hand, Unsecured Business Financing provides the funding that mature start-ups need to expand their operations towards becoming sustainable and long-term businesses.
|SMEmerge/SMEmerge-i Start-Up Financing||Unsecured Business Financing|
|Business Operating||6 to 36 months||Minimum 3 years|
|Loan/Financing Amount||Up to RM300,000||Up to RM1 million|
|Tenure||Up to 7 years||Up to 7 years|
Affin Bank Berhad/Affin Islamic Bank Berhad is committed to providing continuous assistance and encouragement to start-ups with unique propositions tailored for every stage of their business.
Affin Bank Berhad/Affin Islamic Bank Berhad Start-Up Exclusives also offers a step-by-step guide from start-ups to SMEs:
- Assist start-ups from its legal birth of their business
- Develop start-ups into matured SMEs throughout their business life cycle
- Nurture the start-ups to mature into the SME ecosystem
- Equip start-ups with relevant tools and needs to ease their business journey
Start-ups can also join the SME Colony, a one-stop reference platform for entrepreneurs. This is Affin Bank Berhad/ Affin Islamic Bank Berhad’s award-winning mobile app to help start-ups in improving business understanding; enhancing financial well-being; and expanding commercial networking.
If you are thinking of taking your business idea to the next level, it’s time to take it seriously by getting the funding you need to get the ball rolling.