Businesses in Singapore have been affected since the COVID-19 landed about a month ago. Previously, we've rounded up 7 key pointers SME owners need to take note of here on the relief and support measure by the government. However, the emphasis should also be on the importance of future-proofing your business.
On February 10, The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) invited Chan Chun Sing to meet with local business leaders for a frank, closed-door discussion on the latest developments impacting our economy and society.
In the 25-minute of the leaked audio recording, Chan Chun Sing delivered "hard truths" and urged business leaders to do their part. Here are valuable pointers from his discussion with business leaders:
If there's an important business lesson from the outbreak of SARS in 2003, it is to take the time to future-proof your business by adapting new business models and new technology.
"That's why the global financial crisis, everybody falls like a rock right? Then we went up 14.5 per cent the next year. Because while we're dealing with the current, we must make sure that we think two steps down the road." - Chan Chun Sing.
Businesses must plan ahead on how they can better position themselves and recover fast after the outbreak. It is an opportunity to improve existing business models and strengthen the business' core competencies.
In line with future-proofing business, firms must continue to upgrade the skills of workers and be smart about utilisation of manpower resources. By sending workers for training, your business will be enhancing your employees' capabilities and productivity.
With the new skillsfuture credit top-up and defraying workers' wages, the government is not only supporting firms to retain their workers but to to continuously train them. For instance, firms can reassign workers for Research & Development (R&D) to identify new business opportunities. These innovative activities undertaken by the business will improve existing business services and products.
"If you don't change your business model and you don't diversify, even if we help you this time, we can't help you the next time." - Chan Chun Sing
According to economic expert, COVID-19 will have likely disrupt travel, trade and supply chains globally - facing supply disruptions.
Charles & Keith Group supply chain was temporarily disrupted as about 90 per cent of its production is based in China. Thankfully, it has sufficient stock and has Malaysia's factories. This shows how important it is to mitigate risks by relying on multiple supply sources across countries to prevent macro impacts.
It is important for firms to maintain cash cushion for unforeseen expenses. With cashflow being the #1 problem that SG firms are currently facing now, firms need to be on top of your game in managing the firm’s cashflow and resources.
Firms must prepare and plan beyond this period and fund their cash cushion. The amount of cash reserves your business should keep will depend on the available credit, payroll need, riskiness of the business, etc. As a best practice, a 3 to 6 months' worth of operating capital will be able to serve business well to get through tough times.
All in all, although the government is providing necessary support measures, firms must learn to be independent and think beyond the COVID-19 period.
Half of the Fortune 500 were started during a bear market or recession and the point is that most people start from disadvantage and do just fine and you will too.
We would like to play our part providing SMEs with easy and hassle-free up to $300k business line of credit to aid with your cash flows.
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