You’ve finally stepped out of your comfort zone and started your own company. Like so many other small business owners and entrepreneurs, you hope to succeed and grow your company.
You will probably set certain milestones for your fledgling firm, which could mean landing your first major corporate client, developing a wildly popular product, or even transforming the tech landscape with an app. Here are some steps you can take to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
Whether that’s in the form of an online course, diploma programme or even just a series of educational videos on YouTube, don’t turn down the opportunity to research your industry and see what others are doing.
Look beyond Singapore’s shores to learn about the latest developments around the world. You never know when you might chance upon some new innovation that makes all the difference to your operations, or inspires you to come up with your own.
Your business may face new challenges as it expands. For instance, increased online orders may be stretching your company’s existing inventory tracking system to the breaking point. Forming working groups with staff to tackle such issues can help identify solutions.
Networking with other business owners and solutions providers can also help widen your circle of professional contacts. This could lead to lasting partnerships that grow with your business, or lead to new opportunities to help others.
You don’t have to be a non-profit or social enterprise to do this. Giving back to the community is a great way to do some good, both for society and for your business.
For example, local restaurant Eatz19 claims to be one of the first in Singapore to offer a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine. Founder and chef Shakila Sham makes it a point to hire marginalised women. Besides her fellow single mothers, she also has cancer patients, divorcees, orphans and former convicts on staff.
By hiring what other businesses might not consider typical employees, Eatz19 has empowered women and changed their lives, as well as the lives of their dependents. It has also managed to mitigate the perennial lack of manpower that the food and beverage industry in Singapore faces, creating a win-win situation.
TURN TO TECH
Having been around since 1999, Eatz19 is seeing a shift from walk-in customers to online orders. Instead of trying to boost its walk-in business as some traditional eateries might, Eatz19 has embraced digitisation and according to Ms Sham, seen sales increase after signing up to delivery platform, GrabFood.
Making full use of social media platforms, Ms Sham is also investing in marketing efforts via Facebook and Instagram, and this has paid off as more customers engage online with Eatz19.
Both government and private resources are available to help businesses defray the cost of going digital. Besides the Infocomm and Media Development Authority’s Start Digital Pack, which offers digital solutions in areas like accounting, marketing and cybersecurity, SMEs can also consider microloans, which are small loans that help businesses realise their growth potential.
TAKE THE RISK
Local streetwear brand Flesh Imp has been around for 18 years, but it hasn’t rested on its laurels as one of Singapore’s most established urban fashion labels. It has expanded its presence relentlessly throughout the region via e-commerce platforms, and is currently building its brand in China.
According to Mr Vincent Quek, managing director of Flesh Imp, the company recently faced an interesting challenge: It received an order for S$1.2 million worth of sales, a massive amount by most SMEs’ standards, and one that would surely strain – if not break – its production capacity. Instead of playing it safe and rejecting the order, Mr Quek and fellow managing director Nicholas Cho decided to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand their business.
FINANCE THE FUTURE
To pursue their business goals, both Flesh Imp and Eatz19 decided to seek funding from GrabFinance, which offers flexible, short-term financing options that can be achieved quickly, with minimum fuss.
This is especially important for SMEs, as time is of the essence when it comes to fulfilling large orders or securing business deals. In such a situation, traditional bank loans may take too much time and may often require laborious paperwork.
SMEs can apply for a GrabFinance loan online. Interest rates can be as low as 0.7 per cent per month, and security deposits are not required.
Said Ms Sham: “The loan from GrabFinance is surprisingly very easy and fast. There are not many documents required.”
GrabFinance uses innovative strategies to determine the creditworthiness of companies, like relying on merchant data, as was the case with Eatz19. Once financing is taken care of, entrepreneurs can focus on taking their fledgling businesses to soaring heights.
Visit GrabFinance to find out more about turning big dreams into reality.