Disrupt @ The Bay
Speakers at The Disrupt @the Bay - Business Survival event shared practical advice on how SMEs can keep risk at bay amid a volatile environment.
From using insurance to protect against the loss of key talent to the importance of safeguarding intellectual property, participants at the latest DBS BusinessClass Disrupt event were treated to a master class in the art of business survival.
The highlight of the exclusive event was an insightful talk by Stephen Chew of Summit Planners about the role of Universal Life Insurance (ULI) in shielding a business against a variety of risks. The experienced consultant advises business owners in the areas of wealth preservation, business succession planning and corporate risk management.
ULI is able to provide a business with funds when it faces a major disruption due to the premature departure of a key person - such as an owner, a shareholder or senior executive. The multi-functional product can also be used a form of bonus to help retain top talent or as a way to diversify an investment portfolio.
"Many SMEs fail to address the impact to the company when an employee leaves you or a key person passes away or is disabled," Mr Chew told the almost 100 BusinessClass members in attendance. "Money can't solve everything, but it can solve a lot of problems."
Attendees were also given an overview of intellectual property by Ms Michelle Tan, Director of IP ValueLab, an wholly owned subsidiary of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). She noted that in today's business world, intangible assets generated the bulk of value for companies and as such needed to be protected adequately.
She also explained under what scenarios different types of protection - whether it is a patent or a trademark - should be used. Like any other asset, IP can be used as collateral to obtain financing, and Ms Tan briefly touched on an IP financing scheme administered by IPOS that is available to local firms.
In uncertain times, it is more important than ever for SMEs to have a brand that can resonate with consumers. However, many SMEs neglect to invest in a proper branding strategy.
Luke Lim, the CEO of branding consultants AS Louken, outlined a road map that SMEs can follow in order to be clear on their brand's identity and direction. He showcased some of the work his firm had done for clients such as Neo Catering, which since it's rebranding almost a decade ago has grown to become one of the biggest players in the industry here.
"Staying status quo in today's environment is very dangerous. Brands that grow faster than others have pivoted around a clear brand direction and clarity," Mr Lim told participants.
Innovation is another key factor in business survival. SMEs looking to innovate their processes or business models can take advantage of several government-backed assistance schemes to help them do this. On hand to detail some of these initiatives was Hayley Wang of SPRING Singapore.
The Capability Development Grant, for instance, can defray up to 70 per cent of the cost of a qualifying project. SMEs who have successfully applied for a CDG with SPRING Singapore can now also apply for the new DBS Business Capabilities Loan to finance their project expenses before the grant is reimbursed.
Rounding off the insightful session was DBS head of working capital advisory, Stanley Tan, who explored the important issue of cash flow management. Following the mantra that cash flow is the life blood of a business, he gave participants some useful tips on how they could help ensure that their business would not be impacted by slow payments or timing issues.
Download a handy business survival guide with more IP management tips from leading experts and useful resources.
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Published Date: 25 May 2015