• How to Turn Disruption into Opportunity

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    Effective business ideation

    How to scale your business successfully during a crisis

    The Chinese word for crisis is written with two brush strokes. One stands for danger, the other for opportunity. While the Covid-19 pandemic has been the crisis of a generation, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in October 2020 that it could also be an opportunity for a generation.

    Many of the world’s most successful companies started during the worst economic downturns. According to a Business Insider article, the first Burger King opened during the post-Korean War recession in the 1950s and during the 1957-58 recession, the first Hyatt hotel opened its doors.

    As the dot com bubble burst in the 2000s, Salesforce and Google got their starts. In 2007 to 2009 during the Global Financial Crisis, when the U.S. housing market crashed and many banks collapsed, a new generation of start-ups like Airbnb, Uber and Square were founded.

    This may not seem like a logical time to consider growth opportunities when your business is still struggling to turn things around after last year’s “circuit breaker” and this year’s various restrictions. But for some, this may be the perfect window to capture an opportunity[1]  that otherwise may not exist.

    With that in mind, here are five steps to consider:

    Link to article 10: startup success

    Uncover the growth opportunities

    Maximising corporate growth

    Growth is crucial to ensure long-term business success. Therefore, it is important as an entrepreneur to identify ideas and insights to get there. Start by assessing your market – local and overseas. Is there still growth potential or is the market getting saturated? It’s also worth looking into how and what your competitors are doing. Once you make that assessment, determine if you can develop new products or services.

    Understand your current and future customers

    Understanding your customers

    This is a fast-changing environment. Lockdowns and restrictions have been implemented with just a few days’ notice. As a founder, you’ve had to react quickly to changes but so have your customers – they have had to adapt the way they work, play, live and shop.

    What motivates your customer? How is he or she shopping? And what is influencing how he or she shops? You will need to anticipate and adapt to your customers’ needs and ensure that the product or service you provide is evolving to their needs.

    Develop a resilient team

    Effective teamwork

    Whatever approach you choose, it comes down to having the right team to execute it. Do you have the right people in the right places? Are you enabling them to work effectively, whether it’s from home or in the office? Do you need to hire more people, perhaps on a short-term basis, to help with the immediate needs of the business?

    What has emerged from recent economic downturns is the importance of resilient teams. Harvard Business Review’s experts identified candour, resourcefulness, compassion, and humility as the four characteristics of resilient teams.

    They suggest asking the following questions: Is your team able to have open, honest dialogue and feedback with each other? When faced with challenges or problems, can your team pull together to build creative and effective solutions? Do your team members truly care for each other and share both success and failure? Can your team ask for and accept help from other team members?

    Rethink and reinvent your business model

    Redesigning your business model

    The recent economic crisis highlighted the quick thinking and innovative edge of many companies. Car companies started making ventilators, distilleries and breweries pivoted to producing sanitizers, and fashion brands added masks to their line-ups.

    For many of the region’s start-ups, this is the first major crisis they’ve experienced and if there is one takeaway from it – it’s that they need to be quick to react and reinvent the wheel if necessary.

    But perhaps, this is also an opportunity to rethink your business model and consider diversifying into another revenue stream. Take Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company. Demand for its transport business declined as the lockdowns were imposed across the region but Grab was quick to transition its ride-hailing drivers to its delivery business.

    Start by identifying some new growth plans, rethinking how you’ve been doing things and looking at what you can invest in next.

    Think big to grow big

    Global business expansion

    Here’s an interesting statistic from Enterprise Singapore – in 2020, some 1,600 companies joined hands with the government agency to explore overseas opportunities and grow their market presence.

    Enterprise Singapore cited preschool operator MindChamps’ rapid local and overseas expansion as an example. Starting out as a single preschool centre in 2008, the company today has over 80 centres globally. MindChamps achieved that by partnering institutions with a regional or global presence, venturing into new markets and using a franchise model to create recurring revenue streams and scale quickly.

    This is the bottom-line – do not be afraid to dream of big plans to grow your business. You might still be a small player in Singapore now, but this has not stopped many other companies from growing their business beyond the island’s shores. But just make sure that while dreaming big, you’re not forcing unrealistic expectations on your business.

    If you’d like to find out more about turning disruption into an opportunity, sign up for GEX’s Academy’s “How to Develop Strategies and Scale Your Business 201” – a course developed by Former Member of Parliament Professor Dr. Inderjit Singh,  a serial entrepreneur.

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Senior Director

Raymond has more than 8 years of experience in various industries including real estate and has been involved directly and indirectly with over US$120million of real estate transactions and developments. With his strong business acumen and leadership, Raymond spearheaded the regional and global expansion of GEX by setting up new sales channels all over Asia.

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