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Business in a Time of Crisis – Should Companies Continue to Expand?

  • A webinar was conducted on whether companies should continue to expand in a time of crisis
  • The speakers of the event were Ms Jeslin Bay and Mr Paddy Tan, Co-Founders of BlackStorm Consulting and Mr Craig Howe, Regional Senior Consultant of NAOS International
  • The speakers discussed about the challenges and opportunities that businesses might face if they wish to continue to expand during turbulent times like this
  • BlackStorm Consulting and NAOS International are opening up limited slots of complimentary consultation for businesses who wish to seek more information regarding their business expansion

September 16, 2020: COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many businesses and workers with strict measurements and a temporary ban on travelling. However, this pandemic could also be a golden opportunity to embark on something new to cater to the new market.

It was an honour for BlackStorm Consulting to have Mr Craig Howe from NAOS International, an expert with wealth experience working with various high-growth technology companies across the globe to search for top talents to share with us his experience and insights in hiring talent. Mr Paddy Tan has also shared some insights for businesses and individuals to look at what the coming months might hold for everyone as well as the economy if this virus continues to smolder in the population before an effective treatment is found.

This article will present some highlights covered in the event.

Business Expansion During a Pandemic

This pandemic has created a level playing field for many businesses as there are a lot of ongoing restrictions whereby many people are required to stay at home or work from home to minimise contact and the chances of spreading the virus. Businesses can leverage on the current situation to tap on various opportunities surfaced during this economic downturn.

Understand that the impact for everyone is significant because of this pandemic, but this is not the end for all businesses. Businesses should, in fact, continue to watch for golden opportunities to pivot and expand their businesses. However, businesses need to be prepared before embarking on a new change as not all businesses are willing to adapt to a new change overnight – especially traditional business. Also, businesses need to weigh the sustainability of the new change – will the new change be able to sustain itself once this pandemic is over?

Craig also agreed that there are definitely rooms for growth opportunities. One needs to consider and leverage on the pool of existing connections to help to carry out the execution of the business expansion plan to avoid common pitfalls.

International Manpower Planning

As companies look to expand their businesses into high-growth markets without being able to travel there physically, it is crucial to reach out to your connections to gain local insights to help you with your research. If businesses are not willing to spend on consultation to do the work for them, they can always utilise social medias such as Facebook, LinkedIn or even Instagram to connect with individuals who they think can help them to gain insights on the markets that they are targeting to expand. Also, it is important to identify the objective of hiring someone internationally – will this be a temporary plan for your business expansion, or will it eventually be converted as a full-time employee of the business down the road?

Retaining Top Talents in Turbulent Times

Employee retention is a critical issue as companies compete for talent in a tight economy. However, many companies are struggling financially to retain their top talents and eventually resort to wage cuts and compulsory no-pay leave during turbulent times like this. In this webinar, Craig also highlighted that if companies would like to retain their top talents, he encourages businesses to pay their top performing employees at the market rate or higher to retain talents.

Companies who are unable to pay as high as the suggested market rate can try to offer other benefits such as more leave, better HR policy structure, or other incentives to compensate the amount of salary that your employees deserve.

Current Situation in the Business World

Paddy highlighted that Singapore might be one of the many countries with the lowest death COVID-19 cases, however, the Singapore economy is still not as confident as Dubai or Paris in terms of opening up the economy. On another note, we do see some light at the end of the tunnel as many businesses are slowly pivoting and economy is slowly opening up for business operations.

As businesses would like to retain their talents, some consider spinning off their company or distribute company shares to their employees. We have also seen businesses responding to COVID-19 with empathy by getting to know their employees as they support them through this uncertain period and prepare for the post-pandemic.

It is critically important for businesses to have far-sighted leadership in HR and strategic business planning to brave through this storm together. Instead of focusing on hiring or firing, businesses need to start to dive deeper and come up with innovative solutions to ensure that the business can continue to sustain in the long run.

Marketing and Branding

As this pandemic is compelling businesses to turn towards digital economy, marketing and branding have become easily accessible. Paddy emphasised that companies who are struggling should ask for help as everyone is on the same boat and there is no need to put up a façade and suffer inside.

Businesses who have the resources to help those companies in need can tap on the opportunity to offer them some help. However, this does not just limit to financial aid, it could be your expertise in certain aspect or certain resources that you can provide to help them out. If the company become successful down the road, this is most likely because sometime, somewhere, someone has lent a hand to continue with their journey and they will most likely remember that they are indebted to those who have helped them.


The event was concluded with a Q&A session where many questions were asked regarding the topic. Paddy and Craig have provided some great insights for the participants regarding these questions. Some questions that were being asked are:

  • What are the risks that businesses should take note of if they wish to enter into a new market during this pandemic period?
  • With limited business, other than the expected salary, what do you think business owners can do to keep the interest of a talent to stay with the company?
  • How can one find out the average salary in a volatile market like COVID-19?
  • What is the best resource for businesses who want to dive deeper and understand more about business expansion?

Watch the full video to find out more!


Complimentary Consultations

Also, we will be opening limited slots of complimentary 30-minutes consultation with participating organisations – BlackStorm Consulting and NAOS International.


If you wish to:

  • Find out more about Southeast Asia (SEA) market
  • Seek for growth or expansion solutions
  • Conduct a quick business health check

You can sign up for a consultation by BlackStorm Consulting over here: https://tinyurl.com/y3b69qf2


If you wish to:

  • Seek for advice on recruitment strategy planning and future regional talent needs as a CEO or a Manager
  • Find out about hiring culture in different cities
  • Gain insights on how to prepare for your hiring

You can sign up for a consultation by NAOS International over here: https://tinyurl.com/y2hwzz3e


About NAOS International

NAOS International (https://www.naos-international.com/), modernizing executive search – has streamlined and optimised the standard and old fashion executive search model to make it faster and more affordable while maintaining a high level of accuracy and quality. The way we operate is better adapted to your fast paced business environment.

Founded in 2008 and with offices in Paris, London, Dubai, Singapore & Hong Kong. Our team of over 30 Consultants are experts in their industries and work internationally in collaboration with our clients HQ’s, covering mid to senior to global leadership positions across all regions.

Our mission is to help our clients expand in high growth markets, where recruitment and human resources are complex matters and in permanent evolution.


About BlackStorm Consulting

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia/) is a Singapore-based boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We scale businesses in Southeast Asia. Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.