At the beginning of 2020, the world was forced to contend with the onslaught of the Covid 19 epidemic. This has had many temporary and short term impacts on countries, governments and economies. However, some of its impacts are long-term, perhaps even permanent. Particularly in Singapore, over the course of the pandemic during 2020, F&B sector saw a fall in sales by about 50% out of which the recovery has been very slow. Manufacturing dropped by 23%. There is no doubt that Singapore is in deep recession and this has had some very drastic implications for small to medium business owners, unemployment rates and other economic indicators. All these changes can be broadly painted under 3 different ways Covid has changed the business landscape and its ‘rulebook’. Read on to find out what they are.
3 Ways COVID-19 has Changed Businesses
One of the first repercussions of Covid was people being quarantined and locked down. This meant many businesses were suddenly out of physical foot traffic. The result being, sudden freeze in cash flow revenue and business growth. Many businesses couldn’t survive this ‘tremor’ and shut down within the first two months of the lockdown. The businesses that did better in this regard were the ones who had a significant online presence. This enabled them to keep in touch with their consumer base and interact with them. On top of that, they were able to actively target potential customers and experience growth. This was especially true for commerce based businesses with an online store and social media presence or a presence on a customer management system.
The economic downturn from Covid highlighted financial mismanagement in a lot of businesses. Specifically, the business community has witnessed a shift from an attitude of growth towards profitability. Before the Covid, many small to medium businesses were focussed on growing as much as they can without taking into account how sustainable that growth was. Now the businesses that have managed to survive have realized that maximizing efficiency and revenue generation through a sustainable business size is more profitable and manageable in black swan events like the Covid pandemic. Most importantly, being accountant savvy is more crucial than ever. Having a deep understanding of the business accounts and cash flow means that the company is better equipped to create budgets that minimize wasteful spending.
Work from Home:
When it comes to businesses who were able to stay afloat or thrive, a lot had to do with how they adjusted to their inner workings. This included allowing a big bulk of their employees to work from home. Remote working has become the new surmising trend of the business world, owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. According to a research survey, 27% of workers said that they would be willing to take a 10-20% pay cut to work from home. Added to this is the that 81% said they would be more loyal to the employer if they could work from home. It has helped businesses save cost on office space and supplies as well as other physical space costs. One thing is certain, Work from home is here to stay as a mainstream practise.
Technology is the Answer!
All the changes to the business world described so far are just as applicable to Singapore as they are to the wider world. In other words, it’s a global phenomenon playing out in its own way across various local contexts. The one way all these businesses have been able to economise on these changes and integrate them into one solution is technology. Before the pandemic IT integration into business function was considered an added bonus (especially in small to medium businesses). However, now the role of IT has taken a more important seat. It is through the use of specialized software that businesses in Singapore have thrived before the pandemic and specially after it. Software like CRM (customer relations management), ERP (enterprise resource planning) and Accounting software that specialize in financial competencies. They enable data based decision making that maximize utility and minimize errors.
The benefits are undeniable and these IT systems have helped businesses leap the hurdles of the pandemic. This leap was made by efficiently integrating the various benefits of customer outreach/management, automation and digitalization of business operations.
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