Running a business nowadays is totally different from your parent’s generation. What worked so well in the past simply doesn’t work anymore, and more Singoprean companies are facing problems with overdue debt, manpower mismatch, industry and technology shifts, global competition, and an overall contraction in the economy. Combine all of that with the rapidly changing and uncertain business ecosystem, and it can be quite overwhelming. You feel like you are trying to juggle too many balls (or knives) at once. You are sick of hearing the words “disruption, “uber”, “kodak moment”, and “empathy”, and the last thing you need is to hear anecdotal advice or stories. Fortunately, there is real help out there, and it doesn’t cost much. In fact, it costs nothing at all.
Like an athlete in need of a coach or a celebrity in need of an agent, success can never be achieved alone. Nobody ever built something great – whether it was a thriving business or a family – on their own. Period. The magic button or holy grail we seek is actually not an inanimate object; it is a team of supportive and knowledgeable people who can get things done and help guide you along your path. This is where the SME Centre comes in handy. Their aim is to aid, counsel, maintain and strengthen the interests of SMEs, because they recognise that SMEs are critical to Singapore’s economy and its future in the global marketplace. And even they, as a government-run “consultancy business”, have had to adapt and change to better serve their mission. If you’re a business owner, thinking of starting a business, or your current business is in need of a major overhaul, a good starting place would be the SME Centre to see what they can offer you. Their services are free and confidential.
What the SME Centres Do
There are 12 SME Centres. Many are associated with partner organisations such as Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce. You can visit any SME Centre even if you do not belong to the partner organisation.
Running a business is difficult, and you don’t have to do it alone. The government has people whose mission is to help you establish, run, optimise, or grow your business. There are also free business seminars elsewhere, such as through Centres of Innovation, libraries, and online MOOCs (Coursera is very popular). I’d also recommend reading some business books, which you can borrow from the library or read online through Overdrive. Here are 3 of my favourite business books:
Click for links to the NLB Catalogue:
Business Model Generation
Zero to One
The Hard Thing About Hard Things