Earlier this year, Singapore’s GDP showed signs of recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic, expecting to grow by 4-6% in 2021 after contracting 5.4% in 2020. However, after the introduction of the second Phase2 lockdown that lasted till 13th June 2021, the expected GDP growth is now looking unpromising. How can Singapore SMEs bounce back strongly post-lifting of restrictions?
Five Key Challenges
The five key challenges that SMEs are facing now are:
- Lack of operational cash flow. Almost 50% of SMEs surveyed have just less than a month of cash reserves.
- Decrease in customer demand.
- Unable to operate due to government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions.
- Limited opportunities in generating sales.
- Issues that entail changing business models and strategies and providing new products or services.
Below are some suggestions to help SMEs overcome these challenges.
Cash is King
Governments around the world have taken the initiative by offering financial support to many SMEs to minimise business closures and termination of employment. This includes grants and loans. Ensure you are well-informed of all the available government support.
Many SMEs have also turned to Invoice Financing facilities to help them get paid faster, helping businesses get much-needed cash into their hands and giving cash flow a boost.
Alternative Business Paths
Numerous businesses were forced to shut down whilst others saw falls in demand during the pandemic. Your business may consider pivoting its business strategy. This may include:
- New products/services to capture the new demand/markets.
- Adjust sales and marketing strategy in continuing to reach out to both new and existing customers. This could mean offering access to products online, or through a marketplace or making customer services available online.
- Rethink supply chain and logistics strategy. Obtaining inventory may not be as simple or may require longer lead times. Delivering products to your customers may require alternative channels. The business will need to rethink this and adapt to the changes.
Take Advantage of the Bubble
As the pandemic continues, relationships within communities will strengthen. Take advantage of the bubble, whether they are accountants in your local area, local cafes, and shops, or your existing network. Keeping these relationships warm may be helpful to your business in the future.
Communication is Key
In times of uncertainty, changes are taking place constantly. It is vital that you have clear and regular communication with your team to ensure everyone is on board and driving towards the same goal.