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The Entrepreneur’s Essential Guide to Navigating COVID-19

How to keep going and make the best out of this unprecedented time.

To say that this is a challenging period for entrepreneurs would be an understatement, but remember you’re not alone in this.

Stay positive to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In this unprecedented time, business entrepreneurs are one of the demographics greatly affected economically. Here’s how your business can navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take care of yourself first and foremost

Going through tough times is part and parcel of life. In light of the current situation, your first instinct might be to panic. However, stress and severe anxiety can lead to a complete meltdown, which impedes any crisis management measures for your business.

Take good care of yourself during this trying period and stay calm. With a healthy mindset, you'll then have the clarity to come up with innovative ideas and contingency plans to move forward. In today's dynamic and rapidly changing situation, take a step back to balance your thoughts when fazed by difficult decisions. Seek opinions of those you trust, and evaluate things from different perspectives before making any drastic measures. If you're in need of emotional support, don't be afraid to ask. Always bear in mind that we are all in this together.

Tap into resources such as government fundings and financial schemes from banks

With the pandemic likely to leave long-lasting economic consequences, the government will be giving businesses additional support with the rollout of the Resilience Budget:

Measure Businesses
Automatic deferment of income tax payments for 3 months Companies and self-employed persons
Property Tax Rebate For 2020,
  • Qualifying commercial properties (e.g. hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants) will pay no Property Tax
  • Businesses in other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties will be granted a Property Tax Rebate of 30%
Rental waivers
  • Stallholders in hawker centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators: 3 months
  • Eligible tenants under government agencies: 2 months
  • All other non-residential tenants: 0.5 month

If you’re still facing cash flow challenges, we are here to bridge support and to cushion the impact posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Reach out to us now at lifepreneur@rhbgroup.com and quote “Lifepreneur COVID-19 Assistance” in your subject headline.

Scheme Loan Information
Enhanced SME Working Capital The loan quantum has been further increased to help finance daily operational cash flow needs. ​
  • Up to S$1,000,000 maximum loan quantum per eligible company
  • ​Maximum Repayment Period – 5 years
Temporary Bridging Loan A new Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) to provide additional cash flow support for all companies and sectors, previously only open to tourism sector. ​
  • Up to S$5,000,000 maximum loan quantum per eligible company
  • ​Maximum Repayment Period – 5 years
Express Bankers Guarantee
  • Maximum Tenor – 5 years
  • ​Amount – Minimum S$10,000 per guarantee,
Maximum $5,000,000 per guarantee
Loan Insurance Scheme / Trade Loan
  • Up to S$10,000,000 maximum loan quantum per eligible company
  • ​Maximum Repayment Period – 1 year
Terms & Conditions apply.

Cost management

The biggest cost incurred by a business would typically be the staff and office rental. Consider freezing headcount and possibly downsizing the team for the time being, or work on a project basis with freelancers. Review and renegotiate terms of contracts with suppliers and rental to see how you can work things out. You could also contemplate downsizing your office, or make use of a co-working space for more affordable and flexible payment options.

As the pandemic spreads, your business will inevitably face pressure to cut cost, but it's imperative to avoid a knee-jerk response. The way you manage the risks corresponding with cost initiatives will determine how well you sustain your performance during this crisis and how the business will emerge and thrive as it passes. Avoid the 5 common financial mistakes that entrepreneurs tend to make, such as merging personal and business finances, being dazzled by top-line figures, underestimating small expenses, overlooking accounting records and relying on others to watch your finances.

Team management

Reduce panic and keep employee morale up during this trying period. Learn to be flexible by relaxing policies and adjusting guidelines. Be empathetic and understanding as your employees navigate everyday's unexpected changes. Have ample trust when your staff say they're sick and allow them to take a day off or work from home for the day.

If it's possible to offer remote work, encourage video calls for meetings and brainstorming sessions to keep communication channels open. Be on the lookout for resources and courses that match your business needs and budget. Instead of adding headcount, motivate your staff to learn additional skills for efficiency and productivity. With affordable online courses, your employees can make use of this time to expand their skill sets at the comfort of their home while self-isolating.

Seek out new business opportunities

Take this chance to re-evaluate how your business is doing and consider the following points: Is your business model feasible? Can it cope with the changes of this pandemic? Can you digitise your offerings? Can you find new ways to connect with your customer base and make use of technology to balance any loss of earnings?

Stay informed of what’s happening and seek commercially viable opportunities.

As the effects of the novel coronavirus are being felt across the world, entrepreneurs have to find a new normal to operate in line with the government's imposed health and safety regulations. Instead of panicking and blaming circumstances, make use of this crisis to grow as a person as you handle the needs of your business. Pivot and adjust when necessary to survive.

These are turbulent times, but keep your faith and ride out the storm. Navigate your way with this arsenal of information:
RHB Business Banking Solutions
Ministry of Manpower Advisories on COVID-19
Budget 2020 Overview for Enterprises
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

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