Growing your SME beyond Covid-19 | Tips from our Experts (Part 2)
The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to impact the global economy with no signs of abating. Even in Singapore, SMEs continue to be hit by the lack of tourists, gathering restrictions and slower economic activity.
In the second part of this series, we speak to Marc Leong, Head of SME Banking at Maybank Singapore, on some of the biggest problems experienced by Singapore SMEs during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic here – particularly during the circuit breaker – and solutions that SME owners can consider.
More importantly, it is even more essential for SMEs to keep looking and moving forward. Leong provides some practical tips to help SME owners grow their businesses beyond Covid-19.
How to grow your SME beyond Covid-19: Advice from Marc Leong, Head of SME Banking, Maybank Singapore
Biggest problems faced by SMEs during Covid-19 pandemic
Liquidity crunch and cash flow issues continue to dominate. SMEs face their own unique delays in accounts receivables, disruptions in the supply chain and deterioration in orders or consumption during the circuit breaker and global economic slump. For example, the food, services and retail segments faced a drop in customer footfall as well as sluggish demand, whereas the construction sector faced labour-resource gaps, and the aviation and tourism sectors continue to experience longer term business threats.
The four rounds of the national budget were most helpful to alleviate some of SME’s pains. Banks including Maybank played our part to inject the much-needed liquidity into the ecosystem through government-assisted loans, such as Temporary Bridging Loans and Enhanced Working Capital Loans. Banks also came together to administer repayment moratoriums via Special Financial Relief Programmed (SFRP) and the Extended Support Scheme (ESS) as well as Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) programme.
Maybank continues to invest in our technology capabilities and improve user experience as we understand the increased demand and importance for digital payments, revenue collections, e-documentations, digital accounting, etc. in view of movement restrictions and an increasing volume of online transactions.
One of our unique propositions is to enable SMEs to incorporate a Malaysian business entity and open a Malaysian ringgit bank account at the comfort of our Singapore office, without the need to physically travel to Malaysia.
Tips to grow your SME beyond Covid-19
SMEs must review both their business model and operational processes.
New business model pivots may be needed to sustain and thrive in post-pandemic era.
We have seen event organisers and MICE industry players pivot to roll out virtual products and services very quickly, to capture new customer base and reinvent the concept of conventions and meetings. We also celebrate the food & beverage owners as well as retailers that collaborate with non-traditional partners and push their products online, thriving in the e-commerce and home delivery space.
Many SMEs continue to embrace SME Start Digital programme and partake in various government grants to modernise, digitalise and automate their daily operations.
Maybank has had the privilege to work with many of these inspiring entrepreneurs, helping them reinvent and evolve their business to ensure long-term sustainability and prosperity.
How Maybank can help SMEs
Maybank has been in Singapore for 60 years as a trusted banking partner to many SMEs and corporations. Our relationship journey starts at the first handshake or conversation with a prospective customer.
Our team of bankers is able to offer holistic financial products and service solutions to SMEs because of our deep understanding of the business communities we serve and our universal banking heritage. We continue to grow from strength to strength as we develop our expertise in areas like trade finance, foreign exchange services, keyman insurance, money market products whilst improving our offerings of loans, deposit products and internet banking capabilities.
SME customers continue to grow in sophistication, so must we.