Phase 3 of reopening – What’s Next?


By Alan Wong

16 Apr 2021

As the Singapore economy gradually reopens into phase 3, every business will have different level of expectation, depending on their business sentiments and the extent of the business impact by the pandemic. Some would expect to see things returning to normalcy while others anticipate the new normal.

Would businesses expect to see emerging changes to the way they deal with their customers, manage cashflow and work with colleagues? Perhaps it would be prudent for us to take a pause and look at these important 3 “Cs” and their implications post Circuit Breaker.

Customers – undoubtedly this is an important factor as that is the reason for the business to exist. Has customer’s buying behaviour changed throughout the pandemic? Has the channel of distribution changed? How about the demand for product or services provided by the business and are they still relevant? Hence it is worthwhile for businesses to take a pulse check to see whether their way of working with the customers or their current state of products and services are still relevant.

Investing in new skills and technologies could sound like a big project and costly but that will ensure sustainability and market relevance. Furthermore there are government grants to tap on for digitalisation and productivity enhancement, as well as market readiness assistance for those venturing overseas.

Cashflow - How about the payment behaviour? The lengthening payment term from the customers could be due to genuine financial distress or administrative delays caused by the pandemic. Partnering with a reliable funder that ensures uninterrupted cashflow is as important as having booming sales.

As the saying goes – “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king”. Be bold to explore alternative financing and the key is to secure a funding that goes with your business requirement and growth.

Working capital needs and credit facility mismatch often causes cashflow strain in businesses. There are many financial products out there that gives revolving funding which do not require tangible collateral such as Factoring and Invoice Discounting. This funding option tailors to the business payment term and business growth.

Colleagues – there is a growing importance on how businesses manage their staff, especially in the working from home environment. Are there sufficient empowerment given to the staff to make decisions (who often works alone now)? Trust is paramount and it takes courage to start somewhere. Micro managing can be counter-productive and exhausting to both managers and staff.

Are there ample training and development given to equip staff for the new working environment? Employees’ efficiency on their job translates to happier customers and eventually more profits! In the absence of personal interactions, frequent communications are crucial to ensure employee engagement.

Frequent dialogues and communication sessions alleviate the fear of uncertainties and provide an effective channel for employee feedback.


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