How to Start an Online Business in Malaysia | 2023 Startup Pack


how to start an online business

Thinking of starting your own online business in Malaysia? It’s about exploring popular online business ideas and turning your unique idea into reality. In fact, launching an online venture involves more than just creating a website and adding product photos. Success demands passion, expertise, and marketing know-how.

The exciting news is that in this 2023 Startup Pack, we will reveal a step-by-step guide on how to start an online business in Malaysia. Moreover, we will examine if an online business founded in Malaysia is required for the Daftar SSM process.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

In today’s digital age, the internet has opened doors for small business owners, offering them a fair shot at success. Starting an online business is simpler and cheaper than setting up a physical store. But don’t be fooled—just getting started isn’t enough. Like any business venture, your online business needs a strong foundation and the persistence to build it from the ground up.

Step 1: Is your new business idea practical?

While starting an online business might appear cost-effective, it’s important to note that expenses still play a role. Similar to a brick-and-mortar venture, the initial step for your digital enterprise is to gauge its practicality.

Even the best business idea can flounder if there’s no demand for your product or service. Even if you’ve pinpointed a solution to a widespread issue, your efforts could go to waste if most individuals aren’t interested enough to invest their time or money in solving that problem.

To address the viability of your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your product or service overcome a problem or pain point faced by lots of people?
  • Is your product or service a cost-efficient remedy for this issue?
  • Are people ready to spend money to resolve the problem?


Step 2: Create a business plan

With a confirmed, workable idea, the next important step is crafting a thorough business strategy. Even if securing initial funding isn’t on your agenda, a well-structured plan is a valuable tool. It enables you to foresee potential obstacles and strategize for future expansion and profitability. The groundwork laid in the first phase sets the stage for your business plan. 

A well-executed plan goes beyond the basics. It aids in deeper market analysis, precise goal definition, and constructing a marketing trajectory.


Step 3: Choose a business name and domain name

Selecting a fitting name for your business is important in the startup journey. Given the online nature of your business, the chosen domain name must be available for registration.

Should your preferred name be unavailable as a domain name or social media account, exploring alternate versions of the name is recommended. It’s worth noting that many domain extensions beyond “.com” are accessible. The popular ones include .net, .co and even .ai. 


Step 4: Legal concerns

When it comes to starting an online business in Malaysia, one of the most frequent questions considered by business owners is do online businesses founded in Malaysia need to be registered? 

Do online businesses need to be registered in Malaysia? 

Yes, in Malaysia, online businesses are generally required to be registered, especially if they meet certain criteria. The specific registration requirements can vary depending on the nature of the business, the products or services offered, and the revenue generated. Here are some key points to consider:

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership: If your online business is operated by an individual or a group of individuals in a partnership arrangement, and the annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold (as defined by the Companies Commission of Malaysia, or SSM), you are required to register the business as a sole proprietorship or partnership.

Company Registration: If you plan to operate your online business as a separate legal entity (a company), you will need to register it with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) under the Companies Act 2016. This involves registering a business name, preparing necessary documents, and fulfilling various legal requirements.

Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your online business, you might need specific licenses or permits. For example, if you are selling certain types of products (e.g., food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals), you may need to obtain relevant licenses from the appropriate regulatory authorities.


Step 5: Build your website 

It does not matter if you are targeting the Malaysian or overseas market; your startup business needs a professionally built website. A professional website is essential for a new online business as it establishes credibility, attracts potential customers, and provides a platform to showcase products or services 24/7. It enhances brand image, supports marketing efforts, and enables seamless interaction, fostering growth and success in the digital marketplace.

In this regard, it’s recommended to follow the Exabytes SME 360 Digitalization Journey (DREAM, CREATE, GROW, MANAGE). Since you have already started with a domain name, it’s time to CREATE your business logo, business email, web hosting, website/eCommerce store, SSL, website backup, and more.


Step 6: Make Your Online Business Trusted!

Building trust is a cornerstone of success for online businesses. Gaining and retaining customer trust through a strong brand reputation is a key factor. This positive perception has lasting benefits over time.

In Malaysia, the online business sector is booming, fueled by technological advancements and improved delivery systems. The government, along with various ministries and agencies, is actively promoting online business growth through a range of programs.

One significant effort is the SSM BizTrust program. This initiative aims to enhance the credibility of Malaysian online businesses. It offers a certification, granted by SSM, that signifies a business aligns with trustworthy principles. These criteria include proper business registration, cybersecurity, and safeguarding information.

By participating in this program, online businesses not only tap into the local market but also gain a foothold in the global arena, ensuring long-term growth potential.


BizTrust Seal

The BizTrust Seal of assurance is a symbolic representation of an online trader’s compliance to the principles and criteria of the SSM BizTrust. This seal, when provided, is displayed on the online trader’s website and linked to SSM’s report and other relevant information.


Step 7: Develop and implement your pre launch marketing strategies

As you move through the earlier stages, promoting your online business becomes an important task. Your ongoing work in each phase should align well with your marketing efforts. The foundation you’ve established in your business plan will provide the necessary insights to create effective strategies tailored to your potential customers.

No matter which approach you choose, it’s essential to focus on effective execution. Building anticipation among your target audience as your launch approaches can be achieved by skillfully using social media and various advertising methods.

For example, business owners can make use of the professional services offered by Exabytes, such as managed SEO, managed Facebook and managed Google ads. This sets the stage for a successful launch.


Step 8: Launch your new business; GROW and MANAGE

While you won’t physically be “cutting a ribbon” like in a physical store opening, the symbolic equivalent comes when you launch your website and proudly declare to the world that your online business is up and running. Next, it is time to GROW and MANAGE. 

Make full use of Exabytes SME 360 Digitalization Journey and enjoy growth and good business management using Exabytes services such as email marketing, Microsoft 365, EasyWork HR, managed eCommerce, managed webinars, managed SEO, managed FB, managed chatbot, and more.  


How to Start an Online Business and Achieve Success

As we wrap up the 2023 Startup Pack for launching an online business in Malaysia, remember that transforming your online business ideas into a thriving reality requires dedication and continuous learning.

We hope this article equips you with the right knowledge to embark on your e-commerce adventure. So, unleash your creativity, fuel your passion, and make good use of the professional services provided by Exabytes to kickstart and increase your chance of success!   

Elevate your enterprise with cutting-edge eCommerce solutions. Unlock limitless growth potential and seamless customer experiences.

Transform your business today

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