What are the challenges and opportunities for Singaporean SMEs in 2023

What are the challenges and opportunities for Singaporean SMEs in 2023
Image: Freepik

We’re fast approaching the famously busy Q4 period, and before you know it, it’ll be the year 2023 already. This means that there is no perfect time than now for businesses to review what worked and what didn’t in 2022.

While businesses around the world may have different answers for that, Singapore SMEs have spoken and given their opinion on this matter: the National Business Survey conducted by the Singapore Business Federation saw an overall optimistic sentiment expressed by more than a thousand businesses in regard to the incoming potential growth in 2023.

Despite the optimism for the year ahead, it’s equally important for all businesses (including ones outside of Singapore and beyond) to remain realistic, which is why we should also acknowledge that there are areas or concerns that have emerged to be challenging for SMEs.

At the same time, these challenges also double as opportunities that can help SMEs in Singapore innovate further and charter a more structured, consistent growth in the face of an ever-evolving economic landscape.

As an SME business owner, you might need a couple of pointers as to where to look for said challenges and opportunities, but fret not, with more than 20 years of presence and expertise in the region, the team at SalesWorks has helped clients navigate the turbulent market armed with deep market insights and tried and tested strategies – and we can most definitely advise you on this.

Hence, in this article, we have consolidated, based on our market analysis, three different scenarios to look out for and explain both the challenge and the opportunity for Singaporean SMEs so they can better prepare themselves for 2023.

(Just to reiterate: even if your business is not based in Singapore, it won’t hurt to read all about the potential challenges and opportunities out there so you’ll be ready for them in the event that they do come your way).

1. Innovation through technology

Innovation through technology
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The challenge: In order to keep up with digitalisation, a technology-driven business meant better efficiency in operations and also a data-driven strategy that would impact all aspects of the business, including its cost per customer acquisition. For SMEs, capital constraints are often at the crux of weak technical expertise in the company and are further bogged down by a delayed decision to invest in automation tools.

The opportunity: In response to this demand and need, the government has introduced the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), which aims to support companies keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes. This grant includes S$600 million PSG for more than 100,000 PSG projects over the next four years to scale up digital and automation solutions for productivity boost, $$200 million set aside for schemes such as Advanced Digital Solutions, Grow Digital and TechSkills Accelerator to build the digital capabilities of businesses and the workforce, and increased capacity with 80 centres that engage in technology and innovation collaboration among SMEs, polytechnics and ITE.

2. Embracing and leveraging the green economy

The challenge: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a major buzzword at the center of any business forward planning. But SMEs have found it challenging to thoroughly and properly adopt this culture due to the nature of how they are set up.

The opportunity: Sustainability should not be viewed as only a challenge and cost of commitment. Companies should think beyond competing in terms of cost, quality and availability, and focus on technology, innovation and sustainability. On the bright side, if your company is heading in that direction, you’ll find that the Singaporean government is in full support of this and has allocated S$180 million through its Enterprise Sustainability Programme that supports SMEs in building capabilities on an ecosystem level to capture new, and green opportunities.

3. Cutting through a saturated market

Cutting through a saturated market
Image: Freepik

The challenge: The fight for airtime, reach and engagement is more intense than ever now with the capability of reaching your audience on the most personal of levels. How do you then rejig your strategy to win?

The opportunity: If the audience is everywhere, then an omnichannel marketing and sales strategy can help an SME cut through the noise – and it can do this without forsaking or compromising the digital approach. Consider employing more unique methodologies such as face-to-face marketing in the age of all things digital. With various parts of the world moving into an endemic state of things post-COVID, the appetite for physical interaction has increased tremendously, and this even applies to the way people engage with businesses.

Overcome any challenges and seize all opportunities with SalesWorks

While you can try to strategise and effectively turn challenges into opportunities, any SME can benefit from getting support from an experienced partner – especially one that can help you navigate the actual go-to-market implementations.

With a footprint across eight markets, our team helps businesses expand through an extensive service portfolio in specialist areas such as face-to-face marketing, professional customer acquisition, training and compliance and more. We’ll take care of the entire process end-to-end, from formulating your unique strategy to administration and reporting of analytics and performance.

Find out more about how we can be the right partner for you and prepare you and your business for what lies ahead in 2023 by contacting us today!