- An online panel discussion on how businesses should respond to the COVID-19 crisis
- Covers the strategies top management of SMEs in APAC have for the season
- Panelists included Mr. Tommy Chieng (Co-Founder & COO, SEA Gamer Mall), Ms. Yadia Colindres (Co-Founder & COO, Fox-Tech Co.), Mr. Ivan Li (Co-Founder & CEO, Red Building Capital), Mr. Chien Lee (Founder & CEO, SparkAmplify), Mr. Vilon Ho (Commercial Director, APAC, Zanroo)
- The event was moderated by our BlackStorm Consulting Co-Founder, Ms. Jeslin Bay
March 17, 2020: Along with the raging global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the markets have been severely rocked with stock markets crashing and forex markets hitting record levels. Small businesses have been hit heavily with decreased spending, cancelled events and an investment drought, leaving many business owners scrambling for solutions.
BlackStorm Consulting took this opportunity to hold a discussion to provide insights on how businesses can handle the situation, gathering a group of highly qualified and experienced personnel of SME businesses in the APAC region.
When is it Time to Change?
Looking at the real impact on businesses, Chien, CEO of SparkAmplify, talked about the need for businesses to engage in organisational change, relooking at current operations and adjusting them to fit the market. With organisational change being a constant requirement for businesses to stay ahead of the game, Chien sees this as an opportunity to focus more resources into innovation and accelerate beneficial changes.
Vilon, APAC Commercial Director at Zanroo, highlighted the need for businesses to analyse the impact of Covid-19 specific to their industry in order to determine necessary actions. Understanding the specifics of the situation will prevent businesses from over-reacting, spending unnecessary cash, or under-reacting, being swept away by the impact of the viruses.
For businesses that are impacted heavily, Ivan, CEO of Red Building Capital, urged businesses to change their models immediately, incorporating social distancing into distribution channels through personal deliveries, online sales and services. Yadia, COO of Fox-Tech Co., supported this idea especially for traditional businesses, suggesting creation of new standard operating procedures (SOP) to handle the current situation in a structured manner.
Handling Cash and Resources
Many of the panellists agreed that laying off employees will not be the solution to the crisis. Tommy, CEO of SEA Gamer Mall, called employees the drivers of revenue generation, stating their importance for the survival and growth of businesses even in this trying period.
Yadia also warned businesses of the potential of a lack in manpower as quarantine numbers increase and lockdowns prevent foreign employees from continuing their jobs. New HR policies and measures must be created to adapt to allow consistent productivity in work from home conditions.
Instead, Ivan reminded that in the face of these opportunities (low investment prices and changing needs), business owners must remain prudent and cautious. Expanding rapidly or spending too much on operational shifts that do not realise profits may result in dire situations. Remembering that cash is king will be an important principle in making decisions during this challenging period.
Tommy also addressed key solutions to deal with the impact of forex markets, such as having longer term contracts with payment gateways for commercial rates. Charging foreign customers in foreign currencies can also help to alleviate forex pressures.
Reaching Out to Customers
Tommy highlighted the importance of reminding customers of your presence. Use creative online resources such as marketing, thank you cards and small actions to differentiate yourself even in this crisis. This is a good time to relook at customer service and improve it to increase customer retention.
Chien also emphasised the changes to consumer lifestyles due to this virus outbreak. These changes are opportunities to be seized to meet the new demands of the market through the offerings. Businesses must adapt not just to survive, but to be productive and relevant at all times.
Being Adaptable and Productive
Jeslin concluded the discussions with an analogy on how businesses must be like cockroaches, adaptable and productive. This crisis will separate the strong leaders from the weak, and the adaptable businesses from the rigid businesses. It was an insightful event that challenged business owners to not just hang tight during this period but to ride the wave and improve themselves through the challenges that arise.
Many top companies were born in the darkness – out of the financial crisis – sometimes we call them cockroaches who can survive in harsh environment, being rigid and flexible enough to crawl into tiny gaps. These companies may stay unsighted and have multiplied without many notice. What are the measures you can put in place to best weather a downturn? Are you doing it the right way? How can you survive against a financial crisis? How can you leverage on opportunities in the midst of chaos?
Book a free 30-min consultation to review your business situation and find out how we can help you.
Watch the full playlist of the panel discussion here: https://bit.ly/3bY8iSp
About SEA Gamer Mall
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Malaysia, SEA Gamer Mall Sdn Bhd is an established Malaysian digital goods and services e-commerce platform company for global gamers, game developers and publishers. We developed a digital goods e-commerce platform (https://www.seagm.com) and a digital goods marketplace platform (https://www.kaleoz.com) from the ground up to serve to our customers from all around the world.
With four offices worldwide in Malaysia, China, Thailand, and Indonesia, SEA Gamer Mall is the gamer‘s choice for online game digital goods.
FOX-TECH Pte. Ltd. (http://www.fox-tech.co/) enables farming, logistics, cold chain, and manufacturing owners to monitor, track, and improve their operation by our data analytics IoT Platform. FOX- TECH combines secure, low power consumption, efficient data structure, and high sensor accuracy devices with its cutting-edge platform to simplify IoT for everyone. FOX-TECH is empowering business owners to have the required temperature and humidity changes alerts when it’s needed, while also providing a global coverage for monitoring.
About Red Building Capital
Established in 2018, Red Building Capital (http://www.rbcap.io) is a blockchain investment firm based in Taiwan. Focusing on blockchain and crypto investments, Red Building Capital is experienced in finance and emerging technologies, bridging the gap between the centralised and decentralised world. Our strategic investment philosophy is to invest in companies that are truly disruptive and can add value to the blockchain revolution, whether it is in the form of equity or token.
SparkAmplify (https://www.sparkamplify.com/) is a SaaS company based in Pasadena, California and Taipei, specializing in media outreach and influencer engagement. The platform provides users targeted media and journalist profile as well as intelligent recommendations. Founded in 2016, the team consists of a group of passionate data scientists, engineers, designers and marketers looking to reshape digital marketing via machine learning and influencer social network analysis. SparkAmplify was selected as the Top 100 Echelon Asia Summit Startups in 2019.
Zanroo (https://enterprise.zanroo.com/) was incorporated in 2013. Our products and services are built around the proprietary technology we began developing in 2008. Starting from a core offer of keyword and trend analysis, we have evolved our business into a complete web-based social intelligence solution, integrating social listening, monitoring, engagement and customer service.
About BlackStorm Consulting
BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia) is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.
Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.