2020 was a year riddled with both unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances that saw us braving through a pandemic, two circuit breakers and an economic slowdown. Fortunately with a gradual and steady adjustment to the New Normal, the arrival of vaccines and our resilience as one united people, businesses can now look forward eagerly to economic recovery and growth.
At Validus, we have supported SMEs across various countries in the region, and are proud to have been able to empower SMEs so they are able to pivot and retool their businesses during challenging times.
Here, we share our 5 key takeaways businesses can take heed to usher in an Ox-picious Year of the Ox.
1-Readiness to pivot
Starting off with the biggest takeaway – for businesses to survive and thrive, readiness to pivot is an undeniably important trait. We have seen how business owners have innovated to adapt services and products that are needed in the fight against Covid-19.
From a garment business to one that produces much needed PPEs and protective gear for medical personnel – one such example is our Indonesian arm Batumbu who has helped an SME to pivot at the height of the pandemic. They are able to meet the immediate demands by simply tapping on their expertise and it also gives them an opportunity to contribute back to society at the same time.
2-Adversity inspires creativity and innovation
The phrase ‘never rest on your laurels‘ has never rang truer than ever. With the number of tremendous changes at rapid pace, businesses had to adapt fast to better serve their customers and community. This meant abandoning their tried-and-true formula and innovating like they have never before. Jewellery businesses that typically rely on traditional sale strategies find themselves going LIVE online on social media platforms to reach out to customers. Movement restrictions gave online shopping a sharp increase and many brick-and-mortar businesses have ramped up their websites. The added help from the government’s schemes and grants also allowed eateries that previously largely depended on footfall to digitalise their services and the rise of cloud kitchens this year.
3-Scaling up means collaboration
The pandemic has proven that working in silos is not the best strategy for growth, much less scaling up. Strategic partnerships and collaboration allows businesses to increase both their relevance and market share; improving business outcomes and benefiting everyone in the long term.
We saw the rise of large corporations teaming up with fintech companies in the US. Most recently, one of Singapore’s largest electricity producers, supplying the country’s energy needs through its multi-utilities platform, YTL PowerSeraya has partnered with us to enhance access to working capital and liquidity for more than 500 local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This enables YTL PowerSeraya to support its suppliers and strengthen its supply chain, by leveraging our fintech solution that provides financing solutions and a ready source of credit geared to the needs of SMEs.
4-Your company’s future lies in your staff
While building a sustainable business is important, employers should not forget that their staff also plays a key role in sustaining the company’s future. Companies can tap into the available government grants and resources to reskill and upskill their team.
The wellbeing of employees are also crucial because it translates into the level of work productivity. As we continue alternating between work-from-home and the workplace on a weekly basis, some managers have found cost-effective and creative ways to keep their team connected with one another outside of work and through periodic check-ins.
One thing for sure; this episode has certainly accelerated the need for businesses to embrace and leverage technology and automation more than ever. For a 10 year old homegrown commercial cleaning services outfit A-Force Maintenance Pte. Ltd., it means improving productivity and service quality, as well as reducing wastage.
With automation, staff are no longer bogged down with highly repetitive tasks and janitorial teams are able to perform time-consuming routine tasks in a more quicker and efficient fashion, leading to improved client satisfaction.
The Way Forward in 2021
If 2020 has been a year of lessons and recovery, let this year be one filled with opportunities for growth and renewal. With smart financing options made affordable and possible under 48 hours, opportunities are at your fingertips. Whether you’re looking to expand or pivot your business, hear from these business owners how they have maximised the benefits of a smart business loan to their company’s advantage.
The time is now to strengthen your business capabilities and charge ahead to the New Year, New Set of abundant possibilities!