Raymond Chan of Piloto Asia tells us how to get your business incorporated in Singapore with the right partner.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Raymond Chan: My family and I are doing fine, thank you for asking. We’re coming to terms with living with Covid-19, having caught it ourselves not too long ago.
Thankfully, we’ve come out of it unharmed, but still, it was a scary experience.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Piloto Asia.
Raymond Chan: I started in banking with Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank. I was grateful to have the opportunity to live and work around the world in leading commercial centers like London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and the latest, Singapore. From my observation, Singapore has persistently climbed the world’s ranking in being a friendly and cosmopolitan business hub, where over 15,000-20,000 companies are being incorporated in Singapore every year by internationals and locals alike. It gets my partner and I thinking, where else is the best place to start a business?
It becomes then a natural decision to be in corporate services helping fellow entrepreneurs set up businesses and relocate to Singapore, given both our background in banking and myself as an immigrant too. The rest is history.
How does Piloto Asia market its product/services online?
Raymond Chan: The bulk of our marketing activities are carried out through content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). Our marketing manager creates relevant pieces of content for our industry, mostly about doing business in Singapore and setting up various businesses here in the country. With our SEO efforts, we’re ranking on the first page for pertinent keywords in our industry, so we’re drawing in a lot of organic traffic from Google.
Social media marketing is also something that we’ve recently done as well in conjunction with content marketing. Whenever a new post is published on our blog, it goes straight into our social media profiles on Google My Business, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Raymond Chan: From a face-to-face perspective, we’ve had to adjust based on health protocols enforced in Singapore, which is where our office is. To prevent the spread of Covid-19, we’ve had to limit the number of people inside our office. Building regulations for Covid-19 are more stringent, so clients weren’t even allowed to enter the offices.
We’ve resorted to using Zoom and Google Meet as platforms to communicate with our clients, from the initial interview to the onboarding procedures. I’m quite proud to say that our dedicated account management team and sales team are quick to respond to any inquiries via email and WhatsApp, so there’s never any communication breakdown.
When we opened our virtual office, so to speak, we were able to entertain clients from different countries as well who were looking to incorporate their companies in Singapore. And yes, everything is done digitally with them as well.
But all this is not possible without our professional network, which is able to help us with our clients during the incorporation process. Again, everything is done digitally, so much like our clients, we communicate with our network of local professionals via email and WhatsApp.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Raymond Chan: For our content marketing efforts, we use AI optimization software such as MarketMuse. Quality control is done through Grammarly and Quetext (for Plagiarism).
On the SEO side of things, we use Google Analytics for traffic analysis and Ahrefs for keyword and competitor analysis and research.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Raymond Chan: Everyone who can serve our clients with a better heart and more cheaply is! Haha!
Jokes aside, it’s been a constantly evolving landscape. Not very long ago, back in the early 2010s, we’ve had 5-10 dominant mid-sized players, plus a few global names in the space. They mostly rely on client referrals as they’ve been all established for 10 plus years with a well-known global reputation.
In recent years, the number of new corporate service providers introduced is also increasing with the blossoming Singapore. A lot of them have different focuses – Some on pricing, others on technology. It could be a tough selection for consumers, and we have to constantly educate our prospects on what factors they shall be looking at.
We’re thankful we’ve picked the right battle for us – Providing well-rounded service with top-class customer service, done by veteran professionals who came from top firms to join us as they’ve been stifled by bureaucracy. I’m confident our team is providing better compliance advice and customer support relative to competitors at our price tier, thereby offering value to our clients.
We’ve been really aggressive with our online marketing efforts, and we’ve been able to rank for various keywords alongside their pages. Our plan is simple: We aim to educate and inform foreign entrepreneurs about setting up a business in Singapore and the benefits of building a working relationship with Singapore companies.
Your final thoughts?
Raymond Chan: The pandemic is slowing down, but it doesn’t mean that we should be complacent in the way we do business. We always have to think about worst-case scenarios. For Piloto Asia, we’re always going to be improving the way we do business with local and foreign clients, regardless of local and global occurrences.