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Making Your First Sale: What You Need To Know

Making Your First Sale: What You Need To Know

  • 21 July 2020
  • By OCBC Business Banking
  • 2 mins read

In this post, we show you everything you need to know about making that first sale in your business. From marketing to accepting payments from customers, it’s all here along with first-hand insights from successful business owners

So you’ve set up your business and you’re ready to receive customers. But do you know where to get your first sale from and how to collect payment?

If you’re not sure where to get started, we’ve got you covered with this guide. We spoke to successful business owners who shared their insights—from marketing their businesses to setting up payment gateways to accept payments from customers.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

Establishing Your Online Presence

As a brand new business, you need to get the word out so people know what is it you do and what you offer. That’s what marketing is all about.

But where do you get started? With so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming. Well, the best thing to do is pick out one or two marketing channels that make sense for your business.

Donald Chan—founder of digital marketing agency IMPACT! Brand Communications—offered his professional advice, “Start with a website for your business, even if it’s just a simple one. It takes time for the search engines to rank your website for key words, so it pays to get your website out there early.”

Once you’ve got your website up and running, consider setting up a free Google My Business profile. This will increase your visibility in Google Search and Google Maps.

You can reach out to your target audience on social media too.

Set up a Facebook and Instagram page if you’re a consumer brand, and a LinkedIn business page if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) brand. If you can manage, try and post once a day. Just make sure your content is a mix of engaging and promotional content.

"Start with a website for your business, even if it’s just a simple one. It takes time for the search engines to rank your website for key words, so it pays to get your website out there early.

— Mr. Donald Chan / Founder and Managing Director of IMPACT! Brand Communications

Advertising Your Business

With today’s digital savvy consumers spending more time than ever on search and social platforms, it’s no wonder businesses are turning to Google and Facebook advertising to attract potential customers.

Businesses advertising on these platforms can show ads to users based on what they are searching for (Google ads), their demographic and interest profiles (Facebook ads), as well as web pages users have visited (retargeting).

When advertising on these platforms, it’s important to stay on top of how your ads are performing. What’s working and what’s not? Are you spending your advertising dollars right?

And whatever advertising channels you choose, do make sure you follow the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice. Most of the feedback received by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) in 2018 involved misleading ads, so remember to review your ads for anything that might mislead consumers.

You must also comply with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Two key areas to note are: Firstly, you must not collect, use or disclose NRIC numbers or copies of NRIC or other national identification numbers, unless it is required for compliance with regulations.  Also, if you are going to call or send SMSes to prospective customers, you must first check the telephone number to make sure it is not in the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. A small fee is payable for the service.

Accepting Digital Payments

Now that you have built up a pool of potential customers, you are almost ready to welcome your first customer. To do this, you need to set up the payment systems for your business.

For many business owners, NETS and credit card terminals are a necessity because today’s consumers expect these to be available. Dr Terence Tan, founder of The Pain Relief Clinic, shared that, “Setting up NETS and credit card payments is one of those things that retail service businesses like us need from an early stage.”

Diana Chew—co-founder of the 6Oz Espresso Bar chain—shared that while waiting for her credit card terminal to be set up, she had customers walk away as they do not carry cash. It is important to set up digital payment acceptance quickly and PayNow QR is one option that can be set up immediately.

But what if you’re running a B2B business? You can also take advantage of the low cost of using digital payments.  For one, it costs nothing to receive a PayNow payment. It also saves you the hassle of handling cheques and waiting for funds to clear.

"Setting up NETS and credit card payments is one of those things that retail service businesses like us need from an early stage.

— Dr. Terence Tan / Founder of The Pain Relief Clinic Pte. Ltd.

Getting Paid In Different Ways

If you’re running a retail or F&B business, you may not be able to avoid accepting cash. But how do you make sure that the earnings from each day are deposited into your bank account with the minimum of fuss?

If you’re an OCBC customer, you can use a Business Deposit Card. With this card, your daily takings can be deposited into an ATM with no risk of keying in a wrong account number or giving your employees the access to perform transactions or balance enquiries.

Keeping Up With Consumer Paying Habits

Ultimately, businesses have to move with the changing times. Even Dr. Tan, who has a large percentage of senior citizens among his patients, is now considering offering a digital payment mode.

He shared, “There was this one patient who came to our clinic without a wallet. He only had his phone with him. That made me realise that I need to look into something else besides cash, NETS, and credit cards.”


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Donald Chan — Founder and Managing Director
IMPACT! Brand Communications

Donald Chan — Founder and Managing Director
IMPACT! Brand Communications

With close to two decades worth of sales and marketing expertise, Donald has witnessed how the landscape of marketing has evolved over the years. Him and his team at IMPACT! have helped many companies in the Technology, B2B and Healthcare sectors update their strategies and scale their business through content marketing, search, PPC and new technologies.

Dr Terence Tan — Founder
The Pain Relief Clinic Pte. Ltd.

Dr Terence Tan — Founder
The Pain Relief Clinic Pte. Ltd.

Since starting The Pain Relief Clinic over a decade ago, Dr Tan has been introducing non-invasive treatments for joint, muscle and sports conditions. The business has grown to include clinics in both Surabaya and Jakarta as well as distribution activities in Myanmar. He is also actively working with strategic partners to spread these modern treatments internationally in Maldives, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Diana Chew — Co-founder
6oz Espresso Bar

Diana Chew — Co-founder
6oz Espresso Bar

While her university peers were queuing up for caffeine fixes to fuel study sessions, Diana was immersed in the entrepreneurial aspects of setting up a cafe in the CBD. By combining her creative ideas with an unrelenting desire to excel and willingness to be hands-on in every aspect, she has successfully grown her business from one to four outlets in a highly-competitive coffee market and continues to pursue new opportunities as they arise.