by Morgan Browne, Founder and CEO of Enterpryze
Small and medium businesses (SMEs) contribute significantly to the lifeblood of the Singaporean economy. In 2020, they make up 70 percent of the employed workforce, 99 percent of total enterprise counts and a healthy 43 percent of the total nominal value added of $428 billion.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that they’re without their set of challenges.
In an uncertain landscape brought on by COVID-19, it’s not uncommon for SMEs to face a dip in sales revenue. If they’ve yet to digitize, diversify their sales and marketing strategies, or hire the right talent to cope with new shifts, it breeds a risky situation for any SME to exist in. This combined with the fact that SMEs have limited reserves in the face of this crisis makes it difficult for growth to happen.
And as Singapore undergoes yet another Circuit Breaker in the middle of 2021, those with plans of market expansion, goals for the fiscal year or other expectations are forced to turn their attention once again to business survival.
Smaller, Flexible Companies Have an Upper Hand
Innovation does not stop in the face of adversity. Companies with a smaller workforce might face their fair share of cash flow challenges – they do have the upper hand with agility and faster digital transformation.
Lockdowns set in place by the Singaporean government have pushed millions of consumers online, as they browse, compare, bookmark, share as well as review products and services on the Internet more than ever before. And while larger, multinational companies built decades ago need to make significant changes to their systems, roll out large-scale projects to educate hundreds of employees to cope with new shifts – SMEs get to do this quicker.
A lean workforce means lower costs to educate existing employees on digital transformation and faster turnaround times when implementing new software or solutions. Further benefits of a quick digital adoption process include the ability to make data-driven business decisions.
Will products launched a year ago still be relevant to Singaporean consumers today based on purchasing behaviour in 2020? How will an SME be able to run a more profitable eCommerce store if lockdowns continue to happen? Thriving SMEs understand that digitisation exists to make decisions not just so they’re relevant today – rather so they’re successful today, tomorrow and every day after that.
Leveraging Grant Support from the Government
The Singaporean government consistently rolls out support in the form of business grants, schemes and various programmes for the everyday SME. These include claimable bonuses, tax relief, wage subsidies and other measures that are meant to help small businesses ride out the wave of COVID-19. Common ones include the Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) for Food Service & Retail businesses that have been impacted by physical distancing and lockdown measures as well as the Start Digital programme for any SME looking for an affordable way to migrate their operations online. Singapore has made these bonuses and programmes available to businesses below a pre-requisite employee workforce size.
Although they can be viewed as support to help SMEs survive the negative impacts of the recent pandemic – programmes like Start Digital presents the perfect opportunity for businesses to continue their streak of innovation through affordable digital strategies that increase their competitiveness in a global market.
We built Enterpryze not just to streamline business transactions – but to empower data-backed confidence in every individual through simple, yet powerful 360 business management.
Similarly, Singaporean SMEs who go beyond the attitude of ‘survival’ and adopt a confident, innovation-first mindset will find that they have access to more opportunities, already available resources and significant solutions that will get them ahead of the curve.
Morgan Browne is the Founder and CEO of Enterpryze. As an avid businessman and technology enthusiast, Morgan Browne is passionate about helping SMEs succeed financially, and empowering them to achieve their full potential. With this in mind, Morgan purchased Milner Browne 10 years ago and developed it from a reseller business into a solutions company using SAP technology as a key platform provider.