Updated: Jan 25
Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are facing mounting challenges in this rapidly changing business environment. 99% of all businesses in Singapore are made up of SMEs, many of which are facing survival challenges during their first year of operations.
The excitement of starting your own business and waking up every day to do what you love is an amazing time of your life. However, along with the pride and joy of having your own business comes the often difficult (and daunting) task of managing aspects of your business that you are not an expert in. Working with SMEs in Singapore for the last 15 years and by surveying our clients at Acc Pro (Singapore), I want to share top 4 challenges faced by SMEs in Singapore.
1. Cash flow Uncertainties: According to a survey conducted by SPRING Singapore, delays in receiving payments from customers is the top financing challenge faced by a quarter of SMEs in Singapore. Delays in collecting money from customers doubled up with suppliers pressing for payments pose a major headache to many business owners. Leveraging accounting softwares’ that provide easy to access cash flow statements is a great way to stay close to your cash flow.
2. Limited Resources: As small business owners, resources are limited to get through all the things that one has to do. Cash flow and capital constraints often lead to weak technical knowledge and expertise in the company and delays decision to invest in business expansion and IT automation tools. Seeking out the advice of mentors or others with experience and know-how will help overcome this constrain to a great extend because there will always be parts of the business you shouldn’t handle yourself.
3. Finding and Retaining Customers: No matter how small or large your business, the only way to survive is by delighting your customers. A strong ‘word of mouth’ is the best (and Free) way to make your business more discoverable. Leveraging digital platforms such as Google and Facebook is a targeted, cost effective way to find customers as you can self-serve which provides flexibility, doesn’t require budget commitments and you can track performance on a real-time basis.
4. Motivating and retaining Employees: Much like delighting customers, you are in for a rude shock if you end up employing the wrong people. Finding good people is a tedious and time-consuming task while you are working to keep the business afloat but it pays off in the long run. Having alignment to the goals, setting up core values and operating principles will help your staff motivated to go over and beyond your expectation.
Victor Goh is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and the Co-Founder of AccPro Singapore Group, a leading Accounting, HR and consultancy group providing Cloud Accounting, IT and operations consultancy for SMEs in Singapore.