SMEs : Time To ‘Act’, Not ‘Wait & See’ 

Economy & Business.

SMEs : Time To ‘Act’, Not ‘Wait & See’ 
TBB.

SMEs : Time To ‘Act’, Not ‘Wait & See’ 

Written by - Thai Business Box Team. 25-2020.

The global pandemic has hit SMEs hard and most businesses reacted by cutting costs, staff and all unnecessary expenses to survive while adopting a “wait and see” approach.

The Government has also reacted by providing stimulus packages for SMEs to survive.

It is no secret that small and medium enterprises play a major role in spurring economic development. Globally, governments have begun to ask themselves what they can do to stimulate the recovery and growth of SMEs, but there is a lack of understanding on what is required to address the needs and challenges of SMEs.

At this point, when the global pandemic has been a feature in people’s lives and livelihoods for almost a year now, it’s time for SMEs to act and not just react or ‘wait & see’.

Once businesses know what they need to do and what they need to do it, the government can be approached to roll out support mechanisms.

Experts and marketing gurus are in agreement that the pandemic has exposed the need for organizations to invest in new ways of thinking and that the businesses that survive will be those that adapt, innovate or reinvent themselves.

Those not likely to survive are businesses that adopt a ‘wait & see’ approach, hoping for return of ‘previous normalcy’. Many companies are focussing on conserving cash, minimizing risk and concentrating on what used to work , preferring to stay put until there is more clarity.

The one thing that is clear though, is that there will be no return to the world as we knew it and that the first movers will be the businesses that thrive in the new post pandemic world. 

Innovation is the new playing field and every SME must bring their A game to the arena.

The ‘lack of demand’ in the market should not be taken as an excuse not to innovate  but instead be the very reason why SMEs need to innovate with the intention of deriving various new ways to ‘create demand’.

To create demand, SMEs need to relook at their product and marketing strategy.

Would the existing product line work better if it was made available at different price points? Will customers respond better with new products or services that they may be interested in and willing to pay for?

SMEs’ major step towards innovation should be to understand customer’s changing and/or emerging needs and look for trends to truly gain an insight into what would appeal to customers.

Adapting the core business to meet changing needs and finding new opportunities in an uncertain world, along with the commitment to innovate by allocating time and resources towards the same are all part of the process. Continue Reading Below ...

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Another ‘sure thing’ that will define the post pandemic world is a fast moving digital transformation era.

Digital innovation-led transformation therefore cannot be ignored. Companies need to think of their digital transformation as an ongoing process, to be integrated into all areas of their business in order to reach a wider target audience, whether at the national, regional or global level, deliver value to customers and ensure business growth. 

In a time when resources are tight for many SMEs, leaping into innovation may be a bit of a stretch. This is when the government must step up and play a crucial role, first for general recovery and secondly to encourage SMEs to innovate so that they can thrive beyond the pandemic.

To mitigate and alleviate the financial crunch of SMEs , the government has delivered on stimulus packages for their recovery. 

However, the main focus of the government’s SME policy now should be towards making sure that the SMEs who have plans to innovate should have the resources made available to do so.

As an initial push, the government could provide collateral for low interest loans with 1-2 years grace period or award grants to SMEs that present comprehensive business innovation plans across all sectors and industries.

With a concerted effort from both the government and the SMEs segment of the economy towards innovation, Thailand can look forward to an era of innovation that can only bring back creativity and growth to the kingdom.