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3 minute read

How Small Businesses Are Getting Creative to Survive the Circuit Breaker

By becoming flexible, nimble and thinking out-of-the-box, these Singaporean companies are staying afloat during the Covid-19-led shutdown.

Like many other local businesses, your company might be feeling the impact of the tough but necessary Circuit Breaker measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily shut down, while others who are allowed to remain open also feel the pinch.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some small companies are taking it in their stride and finding creative ways to survive. With face-to-face customer interactions no longer possible, they have had to take another look at their business models to stay afloat.

Here are some of the creative ways in which they have adapted that could serve as inspiration during this tough business climate.

Offer something new

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If you’ve been working on a new product, now might be the right time to launch it. By expanding their product portfolio, some small businesses have been able to better engage with their customers and create new revenue streams despite the current restrictions. 

With her retail outlets 2am:dessertbar and 2am:lab shuttered, Singapore’s dessert queen Janice Wong needed to continue delivering personalised service to her customers. She solved the problem by quickly rolling out a new product: Bake at Home. The range of cake and cookie premixes allows her customers to create their favourite desserts at home, while enabling Ms Wong to maintain her customer relations and keep selling.

The same goes for Ms. Yasmine Khater, founder and corporate coach at Sales Story Method which trains senior management and sales teams to make better business pitches. Facing cancellations and postponements of her workshops at home and abroad, she expedited the development and launch of The 30-Day Fearless Challenge. The online self-improvement game is the first in a series of learning tools that she hopes to localise for different markets and help her business get through the rough times.

Go into customers’ homes

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If your customers can’t come to your business, why not take your business to their homes? By leveraging on existing digital platforms and going the extra mile, you might be able to recreate experiences that your customers love about your business.

F&B operators such as 28 Hong Kong Street are among those who are leading the charge in creating new customer experiences in innovative ways. The popular cocktail establishment has created a digital bar experience that delivers drinks, finger food, Zoom live-streaming chat rooms, and curated playlists for customers and their friends to virtually hang out from home.

Meanwhile, Haus Athletics is taking their specially-designed workout classes to members’ homes via Zoom.. The fitness studio has tweaked its workouts so members can exercise at home with minimum equipment.

Hit by travel restrictions and lockdowns, the international speaker on change management  Benjamin Loh of Flare Communications – now engages his audience via webinars and sees about 10,000 to 20,000 people attending his talks. The only thing he’s probably missing is the live applause! 

Give meaningful incentives

Offering discounts, vouchers, and special promotions might seem to be an obvious strategy when business is slow. But incentivizing your customers in a meaningful way could make up for not being able to provide the same level of service during the shutdown. 

The education sector has been among those who have been quick to react by making up for certain services. Education groups such as Hua Language Centre have offered free online lessons to help its students keep up, while the Mentalmatics abacus and mental arithmetic centre has created over 50 online video clips for its pupils to keep practicing at home.

To stand out from the competition and attract new business, TradeGecko, a B2B e-commerce platform for small wholesalers, opened its virtual doors to help companies move operations online and work remotely. It’s offering a series of complimentary services such as data-based trend reports; a handy guide to government support and subsidies for wholesale businesses; and video content like ‘7 steps to manage through Covid-19’ to value-add to its existing and prospective customers.

Find the right strategy

The challenges might be plenty at the moment. But so are new opportunities. Like some of the companies mentioned above, you too could identify creative strategies and quickly implement them to help your business through these difficult times. 

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